Can mental imagery help weight loss?

December 9th, 2010
Can mental imagery help weight loss?

Researchers have come up with a new way of helping people to weight loss, which involves imagining eating large amounts of a certain food.

Researchers claim that imagining eating lots of food will help people to eat less in reality. Lead researcher, Carey Morewedge, from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, claims that mental imagery helps to stem cravings and reduces an individual’s appetite for a certain food. Morewedge said that thinking about a food and how it smells and tastes often serves to increase our appetite, but imagining eating it decreases the desire to eat it in real life.

The study involved five tests, which required the participants to imagine eating varying amounts of M&Ms after repeatedly putting quarters into a washing machine; after the tests, the participants were invited to eat freely from a bowl full of M&Ms. The results of the test showed that the people who had imagine eating 30 M&Ms ate fewer chocolates after the test than those who had imaged eating no M&Ms or a small number of M&Ms. Various other tests were carried out where the variables were altered slightly; all the results showed that those who imagined eating more, ate less in reality.

Some experts have advised people to be cautious about the results the study, which may encourage people to think that they can somehow miraculously ‘think themselves thin’.

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