By Susan Albers, Psy.D., author of Eat.Q.
Here is a quiz for chocolate lovers. Which type of chocolate might help you cope more effectively with cravings—M&Ms or Hershey’s Kisses? If you picked the Kisses, you would be correct. In a recent study, researchers examined how many chocolates people ate when the chocolates were wrapped versus already unwrapped. The simple act of unwrapping each piece reduced the amount people ate by almost 30 percent.
In another part of the study, the researchers had subjects use sugar tongs to pick up the chocolates. Adding just this one step had the same effect.
The overall finding suggested that putting just a small effort into eating something—including chocolate—can significantly reduce the amount you eat. The benefit? This takes very minimal effort. No struggling. I have dubbed the findings in this study the “foil effect” because it is reminiscent of the “pistachio effect,” which works in the same way. When you put effort into getting pistachios out of the shell versus those that are already shelled for you, you eat fewer pistachios. The good news is that you end up just as satisfied.
So, the next time you are trying to decide what kind of chocolate to buy, try individually-wrapped pieces instead of those ready to eat out of a bag or box. If that doesn’t work, try building in an extra step, such as using sugar tongs to pick it up, wrapping the chocolate in foil or double bagging it. As a bonus, eating the chocolate slowly will help you to savor and enjoy it more. Let’s face it. It’s not easy to cope with cravings—particularly chocolate cravings!
This is the kind of technique you will find in my new book, Eat.Q. Smart techniques. It requires only small shifts in the way you relate to food to make a significant difference. You can learn how to boost your EatQ today—or become a more emotionally intelligent eater. In other words, you will be able to cope with cravings, talk yourself out of stress eating, pump up your motivation, and deal with self-sabotaging thoughts.
Download Eat.Q. tips to get started boosting your food smarts today.
For more tools and techniques for unlocking the weight-loss power of emotional intelligence, pick up a copy of Susan Alber’s new book, Eat.Q.
1. It Takes Some Effort. How Minimal Physical Effort Reduces Consumption Volume in the Appetite, 2013 by Thomas A. Brunner