Tip For Holiday Eating

Few of us are immune to overeating during the holidays. The food is just so good! Well, if you struggle to control your eating, maybe you should just think about over indulging in your favorite food. Don't believe it? See the research from Carnegie Mellon University in the latest issue of Science.

Here's how it works. You imagine yourself eating the food that normally causes you to overindulge-a favorite dessert or main course. As you imagine eating lots of it, your mind begins a process of habituation-getting conditioned to the food-and therefore losing the desire to continue eating it. According to the article, a similar process occurs when you are exposed to bright lights or bad smells-you just get used to them. The emotion is initially high, but it is lost as the stimulus stays with you over time.

The authors describe the process as a type of motivation, or "mind over stomach." You are satisfying a desire mentally instead of physically. Then, when you are presented with the actual food, you eat less of it.

The process sounds reasonable. The one catch is that it is food specific-you have to imagine yourself eating the specific food on which you normally overindulge (I'm calling all my friends now to ask them what they plan to serve).

Happy mental eating!