Beth Sodeburg

You’re probably in the minority if one of your New Year’s resolutions doesn’t involved loosing weight. Some recent research came to our attention that looked like it could be helpful beyond the usual list of dieting suggestions that we see every year.

A new study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, published in Science, shows that when you imagine eating a certain food, it reduces your actual consumption of that food.

If you’re looking to lose weight, it’s okay to think about eating your favorite candy bar. In fact, go ahead and imagine devouring every last bite — all in the name of your diet.

The CMU research team found that simply imagining the consumption of a food decreases ones appetite for it.

“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,” said Carey Morewedge, an assistant professor of social and decision sciences and lead author of this study.

“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. We think these findings will help develop future interventions to reduce cravings for things such as unhealthy food, drugs and cigarettes, and hope they will help us learn how to help people make healthier food choices.”

Specifically, the experiments demonstrated that only imagining the consumption of the food reduced actual consumption of the food. Merely thinking about the food repeatedly or imagining eating a different food did not significantly influence the actual consumption, however.

Their findings show that, 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.

Gives a whole new meaning to, “Think Thin!”

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. .

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