Even for those of us with the healthiest of intentions, it’s incredibly hard to resist that bread bowl, chocolate box, or plate of carb-filled hors d’oeuvres when it’s offered directly to you. When the craving hits, seeing that deliciously unhealthy food right under your nose often results in the crumbling of willpower and giving into temptation. Sometimes we just can’t seem to avoid it. However, according to a new study published in the Journal of Marketing Research, the best thing to do in such situations is simply to serve yourself, rather than have someone else cut you a slice of that rich fudgy chocolate cake.
It seemed that when participants are given the choice of whether or not to consume snacks that they perceive as less than healthy, they are more inclined to consume these snacks when less physical effort is required to help themselves to the food. For example, most people are less likely to get up, go to the kitchen, and cook something if they don’t feel the need to. But when something is readily offered and brought to them, they will usually partake. The assumption is that people also feel that they are then free of responsibility when something is offered rather than completely voluntarily selecting the junk food. In other words, you blame your friend, Sarah, for forcing the cheeseburger down your throat or taking you to TGI Fridays.
Interestingly enough, the researchers found that the same situation did not apply for healthy foods. Moral of the story, if you want to skip the calories, serve yourself and resist the readily available temptations.