Imagine Your Cravings Away!

By , SparkPeople Blogger
How would you like to cut back your calories with the power of imagery?  Simply imagining the food and the sensations can help, according to a New York Times article.

"In one test 51 people were divided into three groups. One group imagined eating 30 M&M’s; another, three M&M’s; the third, none. When a bowl of M&M’s was then presented to the group, those who had imagined eating the most ate the fewest.

"The researchers chalked up the results to habituation: the manner in which the brain gets used to repeated experiences. In the same way that imagining a coral snake wrapping itself around your ankle might make you sweat, imagining eating food might have physiological effects: it may be releasing dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and satiety."    

Research has proven time and time again that imagery and visualization are strong tools for many purposes.  Athletes, seriously ill patients, and those who have other personal goals have used these methods successfully. 

One thing experts usually say is to go deeply into your visualization until you can see, feel, touch, smell, hear, and fully experience the mental experience.  This is what will help make the experience real for you.  It also assists you in recalling an experience and its success.

An example of this visualization would be taking bites of cake from an empty fork and imagining its flavor.  Rolling it around your mouth a few times and really imagining the smell and flavor.  Then swallow.  Aromatherapy may help.  If your weakness is cookies, pie, or chocolate, there are candles with those scents that might help you set up your visualization.

Do you think nothing but the real thing can help?  What about one real bite followed by two pretend bites?  It will at least slow you down and give you chance to experience the food fully.  Use all of your senses.

One of my secrets for avoiding popcorn at theaters is to breathe in deeply when I go in.  I take in all the popcorn smell I can get until I am used to it.  Then it loses its power over me. 

What is some of your favorite imagery or a visualization you use to help you?