Go Ahead, Eat a Cookie

Go Ahead, Eat a Cookie

Dreaming of a hazelnut thumbprint cookie? Truth is, you should probably go ahead and indulge. Here's why:

Research shows that trying to stifle a craving just makes it grow bigger -- to the point where you can't resist it. And when you finally cave? You end up gobbling far more than you should.

1 vs. 100
Yep, having 1 cookie now may save you from having 100 cookies later. Especially if you are the type of person who tends to be preoccupied with dieting and thinking about the foods you should or shouldn't be eating. In a study, female college students were asked to sit alone and think about chocolate, avoid thinking about chocolate, or think about whatever they wished. Afterward, they sampled different chocolates -- and a pattern emerged. The diet-focused women who had been asked to avoid thinking about chocolate threw down most of the sweet stuff. (Did you know? A tiny daily serving of chocolate can improve your blood pressure.)

When to Say "Yes"
So here's the key if you want to fit into your pants better after the holidays: Pick your battles. The longer your standoff with that chocolate-peppermint bark, the more dramatic your surrender may be. Allow yourself an occasional, sensibly sized treat. And afterward, don't feel bad, advises RealAge expert Keith Roach, MD. "Okay, you had the cookie. Now, don't beat yourself up about it," says Dr. Roach. "Because if you do, you're more likely to do something you'll really regret. Instead, actively enjoy -- and don't feel guilty about -- eating that cookie. Then, go make your home beautiful for the holidays."

And come the new year, you may not be carrying around nearly as many extra pounds. (Another way to prevent overeating? This little table habit really does the trick.)

Savor the holiday season with these sensible, sensational choices:

Medically reviewed in April 2019.

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