So! I just read a post reviewing a new study about self-control and how the brains of the study group responded to pictures of food after a 6 hour fast -- and then how that information corresponded to how many chips they ate after the brain imaging was completed. One of the sentences that struck me was this:
"Now the researchers are working on computer programs that will help train our brains to respond to food differently. So, ideally, Snickers bars will look less tempting and it’ll be easier for users to maintain a healthy weight."
You know what kind of training would make a Snickers bar less tempting? The kinds that teaches us to actually TASTE the Snickers bar. I feel fully confident is saying that most of you are eating gas station candy because you THINK you like it but you haven't ACTUALLY TASTED it in years. And you know what? If you did, I bet most of you would think it tasted GROSS most of the time!
Why do I feel confident in saying this? Because I used to LOVE Snickers bars! (and Twix and Peanut M&M's and Butterfingers and....you get the point). And sometimes they are still ok/actually good. For me, the change in tastes started when I started coaching, blogging, and practicing being more mindful so I would have enough to talk about on the subject.
I started to notice that only 1 in 10 (ish -- disclaimer: this was NOT a sound scientific study) Snickers bars was actually fresh enough to taste really good. (Think about this for a minute -- how old does a Snickers bar have to be so it doesn't taste fresh --- yuck! That's a lot of shelf time!!)
The problem was, I "knew" I liked Snickers bars. So all I had to do was tap into autopilot and my brain will fill in the gaps of experience missing from the actual Snickers bar of the day. Once I took that layer of not paying attention away, the eating experience became a lot less pleasurable because I actually noticed the quality of the chocolate (waxy and low-end). I noticed that often the bar tastes more like the wrapper than I would prefer. I noticed that the peanuts tasted stale.
And what I found was that the experience measured so much less pleasurable than I originally assumed, I was able to pass up the bar all together without feeling like I was missing out.
That's not to say I don't ever raid the Halloween stash and grab a Snickers mini. It's just to say that more often that not -- the bar doesn't live up to my expectations and I find I seek them out less and less.