Anyone who has ever worked toward a weight-loss goal knows how tough it can be to rely on willpower alone, ESPECIALLY around the holidays. So, Diet-to-Go has compiled some of the best and weirdest science-based techniques for keeping you honest. Instead of counting on your co-worker to slap that donut out of your hand, check out these seven tricks for avoiding Halloween treats:
The more time you spend agonizing over making the wrong choice the more you are thinking about and rationalizing that choice. In other words, the more you think about that caramel popcorn ice cream, the more likely you are to say “aw, what the heck, a little won’t hurt!” And let’s be honest, can we ever just have a little? (If you can, check out trick number three). Instead of mulling it over and over again, Mark Heyne, founder of Modern Health Monk, says to reframe the mental dialogue… ”if I have one Hershey Kiss, I know I’m going to eat 20 and then I will hate myself tomorrow.” The trick is to spend less time thinking about the treat itself. Instead, pair the treat with a thought of the future consequence to avoid making that bad choice.
Taking a sniff of fresh fruit before going for the dessert table is all it takes to trick yourself into making a better choice. According to a study published in the journal Appetite, study participants who smelled the scent of fresh pear or melon were more likely to opt for dessert with fruit than a calorie-loaded cheesecake. Since fruit isn’t always readily available to smell, invest in a fruit-based essential oil like lemon, orange or grapefruit or even a melon-scented lotion to keep in your pocket to rub on your hands for dessert emergencies.
The problem with having a treat is that once you indulge you just can’t seem to stop. Sound familiar? It may come as a surprise, but you don’t actually need 10 Snickers bites to be satisfied. According to research conducted by Brian Wansink, director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab, just a small bite or two will do. “Most people can be satisfied with only a quarter of the snack they typically eat with no difference in satisfaction and fullness and without feeling guilty after,” says Wansink. The trick is to portion out a smaller serving, put the rest out of sight, and then distract yourself for 15 minutes after eating. The result? A dramatic cut in junk food calories (on average, 103 calories saved).
No really - literally tapping will give you willpower or will effectively distract you from your craving. Research shows that tapping your forehead or earlobe with your index finger for 30 seconds affects appetite and controls cravings. “Tapping the forehead was most effective, blurring the mental image of the food and neutralizing the craving by up to 10 percent more than the other exercises,” according to a study conducted by Dr. Richard Weil at the Mt. Sinai St. Luke hospital. So, when you feel a craving coming on, start tapping.
Commercials have are great for telling us we are not good enough, we need more stuff, everything can be fixed if you buy this product…. You know the drill. When it comes to food commercials, they routinely sell us joy in the form of juicy, saucy deliciousness. Everyone is smiling and skinny, just what we want to be. Who can blame us for believing that all of our problems and stresses of the moment can be solved with the latest burger or cheesy fry. When food porn shows up on your TV screen, mute it or, better yet, flip the channel for that moment and assess whether or not you are truly hungry. Commercials rarely promote healthy choices so beware and don’t stare. If you know you tend to get sucked in, be sure to have healthy food, cued up and within easy reach so you are more likely to grab that over that Halloween candy you have hanging around.
Of all the colors in the spectrum, blue is an appetite suppressant. Put your food on a blue plate, put a blue light in your refrigerator or use a blue light bulb for your dining area. Why? According to Gary Blumenthal of International Food Strategies, “blue is a naturally unappetizing color simply because blue food rarely occurs in nature. There are no leafy blue vegetables, no blue meats and aside from blueberries, blue just doesn't exist as a natural food color.”
According to Blumenthal, another reason blue is unappetizing is that our primal nature avoids food that is poisonous and, historically, blue, purple and black were "color warning signs" of potentially lethal foods. If those White Chocolate Candy Corn M&Ms don’t kill you, those mysterious blue berries certainly will. In short, put your Halloween treats in a blue bowl and you won’t be as tempted.
If your sweet tooth threatens drain your resolve this Halloween, remember to keep some fruit in your pocket, tap away and shine a blue light on that temptation.
Do you have more good tricks for avoiding the treats? Share them here.
Author: Brandi Redo
Brandi is a Certified Health Coach at Diet-to-Go, based in Lorton, VA. Balance is the number one mission in Brandi’s life. In her spare time she loves to bike, do Zumba and play tennis, but hates gym exercise. She is an amateur gardener and nature walker, who is on the constant look out for interesting insects and small animals. Brandi encourages people to “find the sweetness in life.”