Your desktop background pic could help curb your 3 p.m. vending machine raid. Placing subtle goal reminders around your home or office can help you fight food cravings, according to new research presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior.
In one study, for example, researchers placed a poster with low-calorie and healthy recipes on the door of a butcher shop. They then put out samples of meatballs, bacon, and other snacks and had the smell of grilled chicken fill the air.
The results: When the poster was on the door, the customers were less likely to eat the samples. Seeing healthy words acts as a reminder of your diet and overall goals, which tames the temptations, says study author Esther Papies, Ph.D., assistant professor at Utrecht University.
But to save you the scrutiny from your coworkers, here are a few ways to curb your cravings without pasting corny posters all over your office. (Want more help building the body you’ve always wanted–all while eating the foods you know and love? Get the healthiest recipes and cooking tips delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for our FREE Guy Gourmet newsletter.)
Set Up a Lunch Reminder
Schedule a recurring Outlook reminder a few minutes before lunch. Have the reminder say “Healthy Lunch Time” or “Low-Calorie Lunch.”
Change Your Background
Change your computer desktop or phone background to say words like Fitness, 11 more pounds, or Strength. Or change it to a picture of a person playing your favorite sport. That way, every time you power up your computer, you’ll build your willpower.
Using the word “don’t” instead of “can’t” makes you feel more empowered and is more effective in dieting, says a recent study by the University of Houston. The word “can’t” makes you feel like you’re depriving yourself from food; “Don’t” builds determination. Your move: Stick a Post-It with the words “I don’t eat brownies” on the fridge the next time your house is hoarding snacks from your party.
Hang a Quote
Put up a motivational quote on your office wall, suggests Men’s Health nutrition advisor, Alan Aragon, M.S. His favorite? “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”–Jim Rohn. (Need more inspiration? Read our 10 Favorite Athlete Quotes.)