Good news: A study set to be published in the Journal of Marketing Research later this year found that one of the simplest ways to stop overeating is just to serve yourself.
In the study, various types of food were placed in sample cups, as well as large bowls with one serving spoon for 800 participants to eat. The researchers found that when participants served themselves, they ate less food or avoided any unhealthy options altogether compared to when other people served them.
On the other hand, when the experiment was conducted with healthy food, people were more inclined to take regular portion sizes.
The study found that instances of eating unhealthy food rise as people become less involved in the process of serving themselves the food.
“If they’re served by someone else, they can outsource responsibility to someone else,” explained Dr. Linda Hagen, one of the study’s authors. “But if they serve themselves, they have to accept responsibility and that makes them feel bad.”
To anyone trying out a healthy New Year’s resolution: this is one foolproof way to focus on taking better portion sizes. So next time you’re at a restaurant and faced with a dessert menu, opt to treat yourself at home instead.