Most of us are guilty of mindless eating at some point—maybe it's while watching TV, procrastinating, or feeling just plain bored. Next time you're craving a late-night snack, silence your inner cookie monster by saying, "some other time." A new study found that people who try to stop cravings by telling themselves they can enjoy the treat sometime in the future were less likely to actually indulge than those who tried a hard no.The taming of desire: Unspecific postponement reduces desire for and consumption of postponed temptations. Mead NL, Patrick VM. Journal of personality and social psychology, 2016, undefined.;110(1):1939-1315.
Scientists believe this works because you trick your brain into thinking the craving isn't very important. It's like how you keep telling yourself you're going to reorganize your closet next weekend. "I'll get to it some other time" becomes a euphemism for something that's not exactly at the top of your list. And when something is less important, you'll want it less. Science.