Those of us who are constantly craving snacks, are at war with food; it tastes good, it can make us feel good, and it gives us something to do when we’re bored. There have been many tips and tricks given out there to combat cravings, including locking away any unhealthy foods, finding healthier alternatives, and quitting cold turkey by emptying your shelves of all sugars and carbs. But what if there was a simpler trick you could do to help curb your appetite, all done with the power of thought? Scientists are beginning to research to see if this is possible.
Eric Robinson, a psychologist studying diets, believes that much of our perceived hunger comes from our brains, not our stomachs. “Lots of research has now shown that subtle psychological factors can impact how much you eat – but people still aren’t aware of the influence,” Robinson says. “And that’s important, given the worldwide obesity problem.” Robinson suggests that even thinking of what we last ate can make our current craving disappear.
With our busy modern lives, meals on the go, or in front of the television are commonplace. Because of all the distractions, we are not focusing on what we are eating. This has shown to increase how much we eat since we are not noticing our bodies’ signals that we are full. Robinson is developing an app that will remind the user to recall their previous meals at different times of the day. Through this process, it is hoped that users will refrain from overeating due to their memory telling their bodies they are not actually hungry.
In addition to this memory trick, Robinson suggests that slowly savoring your food can help you feel fuller faster. The idea is that you slow down and become mindful of what you are eating, fully immersing yourself in the sensual experience of food. During an experiment, Robinson had two groups of women eat ham sandwiches. One group listened to classical music and were told to focus on every part of the meal, including smell, taste, and texture. The other group ate normally while listening to a tape of songbirds. As expected, the group that took their time to enjoy their food snacked less afterwards.
So go ahead and dig into that steak, but really enjoy it. Get in touch with your food using all of your senses, and then remember that later in the day when you think you need a few chips. By using memory mind tricks, we may just think ourselves thin.