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Can Masturbating Help You Lose Weight?

If you’re struggling to keep your New Year’s resolution to slim down, listen up. Here’s why one psychologist thinks pleasuring yourself could help.

How would you react if someone told you masturbating could help you reach your fitness goals? Well, one woman is saying it worked for her—and she actually has the academic chops to back it up.

Meet Ramani Durvasula, PhD, a psychologist and author of the brand new book, You Are WHY You Eat. After getting out of a loveless and sexless marriage, Dr. Durvasula saw an opportunity to re-focus on herself and her health, so she developed a diet and fitness plan that used very specific non-food rewards (including masturbation and orgasm) to keep her on track. The result: An 80-lb. weight loss.

We sat down with her to learn more about her somewhat unorthodox diet and the psychology behind it.

Men’s Fitness: So how did you discover this method?

Dr. Ramani Durvasula: I took one thing I loved, food, and replaced it with another, orgasm. When I got tired of the endless salads and fruits and vegetables, I decided, why not stick in something that is pleasurable and healthy? That was a short list—reading, writing, orgasm. So when I had to replace a pleasurable food, I used masturbation.

MF: What are the psychological principles behind creating a reward system for yourself?

RD: It’s a very simple premise of human behavior that if a behavior is followed by a reward, we tend to repeat it. If the rat goes down the right part of the maze, it gets cheese, so it does it again. I put the cookie down, I masturbate, I have an orgasm—and I associate putting down a cookie with an orgasm. Basically, the reward has to be rewarding.

MF: How does this work logistically? Can I reward myself during the workday?

RD: Well, you can’t just be a one trick pony and have orgasm as your only pleasurable go-to! At times I couldn’t get the job done, I would try my other pleasures, or make a date with myself for later. I’m also a big fan of writing a “pleasure” list that has more than one pleasure on it. Beyond orgasm, mine includes reading, hiking, watching my favorite TV shows or drinking a cup of tea in my backyard.

MF: Lots of people don’t reward themselves for small goals. How can that affect a weight-loss program?

RD: If you don’t reward yourself, your program is guaranteed to backfire. Think of willpower as a resource that can be depleted in lots of ways: by not eating enough, stress, lack of resources, illness. The more of these “depletors” you experience, the less willpower you have—and the more likely you are to eat badly, drink too much, use drugs, shop or do anything else that derives pleasure.  It’s the reason that diets never work! For every person that loses 50 pounds on a 500 calorie a day regimen, I can show you 10 people who will gain all of that and another 25. Most of us eat too much and eat badly, but when we do deprive ourselves of some of that yummy junk, we need to offset it with something. I think a certain amount of pleasure has to fall into every day.

BIO: Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, best-selling author, and entrepreneur. Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest.

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