Don’t stop looking at yourself if you want to eat healthy. Seriously! (Photo: Getty Images)
Worried about overindulging on rich food during the holidays? Hang a mirror in your dining room at table height. It may stop you from enjoying unhealthy food as much.
In a forthcoming study the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab found that people just might embrace healthy eating if they can see themselves eating unhealthy food. They found that “the presence of a mirror in a consumption setting can reduce the perceived tastiness of unhealthy food, which consequently reduces its consumption.” It’s a strange concept – that physically seeing yourself eat a big slice of cake gives you the reality check you need to make a better decision – but fascinating to think that a simple change of perception can help you develop better habits when it comes to food.
In the study, 185 undergraduate students were given the choice between eating chocolate cake or fruit salad and evaluated while they ate in a room with no mirrors and a room with a mirror. The students in a room with a mirror who chose chocolate cake rated it as being less tasty than those in a room with no mirror, but the same was not found for those who chose fruit salad. No matter what room they were in, the taste of the fruit salad remained the same.
“A glance in the mirror tells people more than just about their physical appearance. It enables them to view themselves objectively and helps them to judge themselves and their behaviors in a same way that they judge others,” said lead researcher Ata Jami of the University of Central Florida.
The study will appear in the inaugural issue of Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, alongside a slew of research into consumer behavior research.