10/12/2010 10:38 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Fantasising About Food Can Help You Lose Weight

How many times have you tried to stop eating something - something you know is bad for you but find highly irresistible - only to find that the more you try to resist it, the more you crave it? Weight-loss experts have always told us to put those thoughts out of our minds if we want to drop a few pounds. But now that advice has been turned on its head.

imagine eating chocolates to reduce cravings Craving chocolates? Just imagine you're eating them. Photo: MorgueFile, clarita

That's right. US researchers claim that imagining you're eating your favourite foods could actually help reduce your cravings for them. So by visualising yourself tucking into a box of chocs or a great big gooey doughnut you might end up eating less of them, and therefore lose weight. Talk about a fantasy diet.

But the researchers have tested their theory and it appears to work. Writing in the journal Science, the Pittsburgh-based experts asked one group of volunteers to imagine they were eating M&Ms. Another group had to simply imagine they were putting coins into a machine. Afterwards they were all allowed to eat as many M&Ms as they liked.

And who ate the least number of chocs? You guessed it, the group that had to imagine they'd been stuffing themselves with them earlier. With further visualisation sessions the volunteers ate even less of the foods they were imagining themselves eating. Fascinating.

Well we've done some crazy things to lose weight, but perhaps this one might actually work? Apparently you have to imagine yourself eating the exact food you want to reduce your cravings for, or else it doesn't work. For instance, if you want to stop eating chocolate bars don't visualise yourself eating sherry trifle.

Give it a try and let us know if it works for you.

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