Imagine Eating Chocolate to Lose Weight

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A new study finds that people who imagine eating multiple pieces of candy (or multiple bites of any food) eat less of the real thing when given the chance, Science Magazine reports.

Researchers, according to the article, “found that repeated exposure to a particular food—as in taking bite after bite of it—decreases the desire to consume more,” thus confirming the widely-held belief that if you worked at Cold Stone for a month, you'd no longer crave sweet cream ice cream. But this study is talking about imagined repeated exposure to a particular food, not actual munching.

In one experiment, 51 undergraduate students imagined performing 33 repetitive motions. The first group imagined eating 30 M&Ms and inserting three quarters into a laundry machine. The second group imagined eating three M&Ms and inserting 30 quarters. Then both groups were allowed to eat however many M&Ms they wanted from a big bowl full of the little chocolate morsels. The first group ate three on average while the other group ate five. (And, presumably, never wanted to wash their clothes again.)

So the next time you crave chocolate cake, imagine yourself eating a Cheesecake Factory-sized slice, bite by bite. That way, when you're faced with a beautiful piece of Black Out cake, you won't eat the whole thing. That's the idea anyway.

Read more about the study here.

Photo courtesy of Never Cool in School / Leslie Kalohi on Flickr.

Erin Beresini


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