Make a fist
When youre deciding what to eat or whether you want more, boost your resolve by clenching your fist. Firming your muscles shores up your willpower, helping you overcome temptations, say University of Chicago researchers. They found this out through an experiment in which they passed out pens to a group of health-minded students, and then directed them to hold on to the pen either tightly or loosely while ordering from the campus snack bar. Those who stiffened their grip reported feeling more in control of their decision and were more likely to choose fruit, tea, or yogurt instead of ice cream, croissants, or candy than the students who held on lightly. However, there is a caveat: This only helps at the time of your decision, notes study author Aparna A. Labroo, Ph.D. So make a fist at the buffet, and then move on.
Practice saying later
When faced with a diet-derailing temptation, dont give in or deprive yourself totally. Just tell yourself youre going to wait a little while. Simply postponing the indulgence is the best way to curb your appetite, says researchers from Portugal, who had 100 volunteers watch a movie with a bowl of candy in front of them. Some were told to eat freely, others were instructed not to touch, and a third group was advised they could have the sweets later on. When everyone was given the cue to dig in, the postponers ate the least about half as much as those who were told the treat was a no-no and who also ended up eating the most. Telling yourself you can indulge at an unspecified future time subdues the craving in the moment, says researcher Nichole Mead, Ph.D., while having to just say no brings out your inner rebel.
Cut your treats in half
When people were offered candy cut in half, they ate 60 fewer calories than people eating full-size pieces and reported being just as satisfied, according to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The reason? Their brains registered two pieces as a larger treat than a single one.
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