How to overcome temptation
If a doughnut, which you are not allowed to eat, is tempting you to break your diet, tell yourself you`ll have a bite later – just don`t spell out when, a new study has suggested
That strategy makes it less likely you`ll go on a doughnut-eating spree, according to a new research.
Unlike simply delaying gratification (`I`ll wait until dessert`), promising yourself a temptation at a nebulous later date can actually decrease the amount of your ultimate consumption of that temptation.
`It really keeps the temptation at arm`s length,` said study researcher Nicole Mead, a psychologist at the Catolica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics in Portugal.
In a series of experiments, Mead and her colleagues found that this postponement strategy neither encourages guilt-ridden indulgence in an unhealthy treat nor does it encourage painful abstinence (which all too often leads to later bingeing).
In one experiment, the researchers provided volunteers, who were completing various tasks in the lab, with bowls of M `n` Ms. Some students were told to eat the M `n` Ms if they wanted, some were told to avoid eating them, and a third group was told that they could eat the M `n` Ms later, if they felt like it.
At the end of the experiment, after the students could assume the researchers were no longer interested in them, the psychologists brought back the M `n` M bowls. The students who had snacked on the treats to their satisfaction earlier ate 5.19 grams of the candies (in addition to what they`d eaten already).
Those who were deprived of M `n` Ms earlier went wild, eating 9.81 grams. In comparison, the postponement group ate 5.08 grams, the least of all three groups.
`Participants in the `don`t eat` condition ate practically double the amount of M and Ms` as those in the `wait until later` condition, Mead said.