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Tis the season when many of us go on a seafood diet: we see food and we eat it. But if you want to avoid packing on the pounds, a new study suggests that you should spend more time thinking about food. Because the more of a thing you imagine eating, the less you’ll actually eat.

Common sense suggests that daydream eating is not the best idea. Once you picture a piece of pecan pie, chances are you’ll go out and get some. But what if you did more than give the pie or cookie or candy a passing thought? What if you mentally ate your fill?

To find out, scientists had people imagine eating M&Ms. Thirty-three of them. One after another. They asked a second group to imagine an activity that was equally repetitive, but less filling: pumping 33 quarters into a clothes dryer. Then they put out a bowl of M&Ms.

Sure enough, people who’d already maxed out on M&Ms in their mind ate fewer than the folks who’d been doing their mental laundry. The results appear in the journal Science. [Carey Morewedge, Young Eun Huh and Joachim Vosgerau,”Thought for Food: Imagined Consumption Reduces Actual Consumption”

So when visions of chicken wings, crabs and shrimp appear in your head, don’t think twice. Just pull up an imaginary fork. And don’t skimp on the hot sauce.