Are you an impulsive eater? When a chocolate chip cookie is calling your name do you resist or give in to the temptation? A recent study suggests that recalling whether or not you ate the cookie might impact future decisions.
Our mind plays some interesting tricks on us. We previously reported about the “imagination diet;” people ate less chocolate after simply imagining themselves eating lots of chocolate. This current study suggests another mind trick. Suppose I am normally an impulsive eater; I often eat because of stress, sadness, etc. I’m standing by the dessert table at a party and I have the option to satisfy my sweet tooth with a bowl of mixed fruit or a piece of chocolate cake. I give in to temptation and choose the chocolate cake.
This study suggests the next time I am faced with a similar decision that if I recall having chosen the chocolate cake in the past, then I will be more likely to choose the fruit the second time around. Maybe I think, “Oh, I don’t want to make the same mistake twice!” However, if I chose the fruit and recall resisting temptation, I would be more likely to choose the chocolate cake the second time. Maybe my mind thinks it’s a way of rewarding myself for having resisted the first time.
We each behave differently around food temptations, but we could probably all benefit from increasing our awareness of how we respond to temptation as well as how we respond when thinking about our past actions. Give it a try and find out how you respond.