To Resist Temptation, Put It Off
SAN DIEGO – If a forbidden doughnut isِ tempting youِ toِ break yourِ diet, tellِ yourself you’llِ haveِ a bite laterِ — justِ don’tِ specify when.
That strategy makesِ itِ less likelyِ you’ll goِ on a doughnut-eating spree, according toِ newِ research presented hereِ last week atِ the annual meeting ofِ the Society forِ Personality andِ Social Psychology.
Some students wereِ told toِ eat theِ M&Ms ifِ they wanted, someِ were told toِ avoid eating them, andِ a thirdِ group wasِ told thatِ they couldِ eat theِ M&Ms later, ifِ they felt likeِ it.
It’s a cooling-off strategy, Mead said.
Most likely, postponing a treat untilِ anِ unspecified laterِ time helps getِ people overِ the hump ofِ strong temptation, saidِ Florida State University psychologist Roy Baumeister, whoِ studies willpower butِ was notِ involved inِ Mead’s research.
You needِ the resistance atِ the moment ofِ peak desire, thenِ theِ peak desire moment passes, Baumeister said.
It’s notِ clear whetherِ usingِ theِ postponement strategy wouldِ work asِ a weight-loss method, Mead said, asِ focusing onِ the dieting aspect ofِ postponement might, ironically, keepِ the temptation inِ your mind, whereِ you haveِ to fight it.