If you’re wondering how to reduce appetite and cravings then this method will provide food for thought.
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Remember being told that thinking about something desirable increases cravings and makes you want it more?
It makes sense that thinking about food won’t reduce appetite right?
Actually, psychologists have found the opposite.
Simply imagining eating a food reduces appetite and how much of that food you later eat, according to psychological research.
Dr Carey Morewedge, who led the study, said:
These findings suggest that trying to suppress one’s thoughts of desired foods in order to curb cravings for those foods is a fundamentally flawed strategy.
Our studies found that instead, people who repeatedly imagined the consumption of a morsel of food — such as an M&M or cube of cheese — subsequently consumed less of that food than did people who imagined consuming the food a few times or performed a different but similarly engaging task.
The study found that the key to making this trick work is to imagine actually eating a specific food, and not just thinking about that food, or thinking about eating any food in general.
The study also revealed that the technique works by reducing motivation to eat the imagined food.
The process of imagining eating a food also starts the process of habituation, that is, getting tired of eating the food.
Dr Joachim Vosgerau, a co-author of the study, explained:
Habituation is one of the fundamental processes that determine how much we consume of a food or a product, when to stop consuming it, and when to switch to consuming another food or product.
Our findings show that habituation is not only governed by the sensory inputs of sight, smell, sound and touch, but also by how the consumption experience is mentally represented.
To some extent, merely imagining an experience is a substitute for actual experience. The difference between imagining and experiencing may be smaller than previously assumed.
The study was published in Science (Morewedge et. al., 2010)
Image credit: revbroyles.me