This Article is About
changing your mindset
delayed gratification
battle of the bulge
social psychology
psychologist
period of time
candy
Changing Your Mindset About Forbidden Foods With Promises: Eat Less When You Get To It
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Changing Your Mindset About Forbidden Foods With Promises: Eat Less When You Get to It

Experts once told people who were fighting the battle of the bulge to simply ignore their cravings, but that only made matters worse and often led to binging. Psychologists have also suggested using delayed gratification in hopes of lessening the impact of a craving. That worked in reverse as well, leading people to focus on the time of their treat- and to eat more when they finally allowed themselves to have it. But a new study has shown that a different technique, this one using a non-specified time for the treat works better, not only stopping the feelings of deprivation but minimizing the power of the craving. Instead of saying that you would have the treat after this meal or you have exercised, you say that you will have it " later" without any other details.

The study, completed by a team led by Nicole Mead, a psychologist working at Catolica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics in Portugal, will be presented at a meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

In the study, three groups of volunteers, students from the school, were given one of three assignments before being placed in a room. The first group was allowed to eat all of what was offered to them if they so desired. The second group was told that they had to avoid the offered treat, even if they really wanted it. The third group was told that they could not have any of the treat then but could have as much as they wanted later on. The three groups were brought in to the room and then bowls of candies were brought in as well. After a set period of time, the bowls of candies were removed.

Later, the bowls were brought back in and the students were free to eat or not to eat as they chose. The students from group one ate just over five grams more of the candy beyond what they had eaten when the bowls were first brought in. The second group, those who had been told not to eat any of the candy at all ate almost twice as much as either of the groups. Group three, the group that had been told not to eat any the first time but promised as much as they wanted later actually ate the least amount when the candies were brought back. After the experiment ended, the first two groups were still eating higher amounts of candy- nearly five times in the week following the experiment's end for the deprivation group and nearly four times for those in group one. The students in group one only reported eating candy once in that week.


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