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Secret Of Sticking To Diet Lies In Details

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CBS/The Early Show
Dieting for the new year? Paying attention to the details of what you eat may help you stick with your diet plan.

"Consumers can enjoy themselves more by focusing on the details during their experiences," reports University of Minnesota marketing expert Joseph Redden, PhD, MBA. "This could help people following a repetitive regimen," such as a diet.

"People usually like experiences less as they repeat them; they satiate," Redden writes. Satiation, he says, "makes it hard to follow a diet."

Sound familiar? Then get specific about what you're eating.

For instance, instead of thinking "yet another salad," think "spinach salad with salmon." Or stop thinking "fruit for dessert again," and start thinking "apple," "banana," or whatever specific fruit you plan to eat.

Redden tested the detail-driven approach using jelly beans in five flavors: cherry, orange, peach, strawberry, and tangerine.

Redden gave 135 people 22 jelly beans, one at a time. As each jelly bean was dispensed, information about that jelly bean was displayed on a computer screen.

Some people saw general information, such as "jelly bean #7." Others saw flavor details, such as "cherry #7."

People got bored eating jelly beans faster if they saw the general information. And they enjoyed the experiment more if they saw the flavor details.

The message: Details cut down on that repetitive feeling and boost enjoyment, which in turn could help you stick with a diet.

The study appears in February's edition of The Journal of Consumer Research.
By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang
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