Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Opening Panel Round

Our panelists answer questions about health ... Think Yourself Thin.

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PETER SAGAL, HOST:

We want to remind everyone they can join us most weeks back at the Chase Bank Auditorium in Chicago. For tickets and more information, go to chicagopublicradio.org or you can find a link at our website: waitwait.npr.org.

Right now, panel, it's time for you answer some questions. Now this week, as we've said, they're all about health and fitness. Tom, nutritionists at Carnegie Mellon University have revealed the secret to staying thin. It has nothing to do with going to the gym or eating salads. They say you should just do what?

TOM BODETT: I'm going to go out on a limb here and say eat less.

SAGAL: Well, it's a trick so as to make yourself eat less specifically. It's a method you can use to eat less.

BODETT: Put fewer things in your mouth.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It's like...

BODETT: I need a hint.

SAGAL: It's like you're familiar with the mind's eye, this is the mind's mouth.

BODETT: Oh, imagine it tastes bad.

SAGAL: No.

BODETT: Imagine...

SAGAL: I'll give it to you. It's basically you imagine yourself eating.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

BODETT: But you are eating.

SAGAL: Not yet.

BODETT: Oh.

SAGAL: This is what you do.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right, this is how it works. So imagine, and everybody can do this; imagine a delicious meal, whatever it is. Picture digging into a heaping plate of whatever it is you love. Now stop. Thought, it's what's for dinner.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: According to the journal Science, the act of imagining chewing and swallowing specific foods is enough to satisfy your cravings and thus you'll eat less real food and thus lose weight.

BODETT: Yeah, that's how I work out too.

SAGAL: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: So you just sit there and you go: oh, feeling the burn, feeling the burn.

BODETT: Yeah.

SAGAL: Usually while eating.

BODETT: Right.

SAGAL: Now many are dubious of this sort of "think" method, if you will.

BODETT: I'm one of them.

SAGAL: You are. Because thinking about burritos usually lead to eating burritos.

BODETT: Yeah.

SAGAL: Right, you know. And of course, in severe cases, thinking about burritos can lead to a brain fart.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: But the idea is like there's a mental reason to eat, which is that you want to satisfy your mental cravings for food. But these apparently can be satisfied by simple visualization.

BODETT: But what about your actual physical cravings for food, which are actual and you need food to live?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Well, you're not supposed to just think of food. You're supposed to think of food and then...

BODETT: Well, now you didn't say that. Now, you didn't say that. You made it sound like all we're supposed to think of food and we'll live forever.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODETT: Your words.

SAGAL: It's okay, if you get real hungry though, you can always go back for second thoughts.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!