Imagine More, Eat Less

Using Visualization to Loose Weight

Imagine more, eat less - Using visualization to loose weight.

Researchers know that continual exposure to a certain food will decrease a person’s desire to consume that food; what they didn’t know was whether imagining eating would have the same effect. Carey Morewedge, an experimental psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University and colleagues Young Eun Huh and Joachim Vosgerau decided to test the effects of visualization on 51 undergraduate students by asking them to imagine eating M&Ms and cheese cubes. In the first experiment, half of the participants imagined eating 30 M&Ms and inserting three quarters into the slot of a laundry machine, while the other half envisioned eating three M&Ms and inserting 30 quarters. After allowing each participant to eat as many M&Ms as they wanted, the researchers found that those who had envisioned eating more M&Ms ate about three on average, while those that envisioned more quarters, ate about five. The same findings held when they re-ran the test using cheese cubes, which suggests that the effect of visualization is specific to the imagined food.  The researchers think the visualization technique could be a new strategy for weight watchers who have a hard time controlling their appetite, and believe that their findings may lead to more effective weight-loss strategies.

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