John Tierney in The New York Times:
Call it the Imagine Diet. You wouldn’t have to count calories, track food points or memorize rules. If, say, some alleged friend left a box of chocolate truffles in your home this holiday season, you would neither throw them away nor inhale them all. Instead, you would start eating imaginary chocolates.
You would give yourself a few seconds to imagine tasting and chewing one truffle. (If there’s a picture on the box, you could focus on it.) Then you would imagine eating another, and then another and another…until at last you could open the box of real chocolates without making a total pig of yourself. And then you could start on fantasies of other vices you wanted to eliminate. So far, the Imagine Diet exists only in my imagination, as does any evidence of its efficacy. But there is some real evidence for the benefits of imaginary eating from experiments at Carnegie Mellon University reported in the current issue of Science. When people imagined themselves eating M & M’s or pieces of cheese, they became less likely to gorge themselves on the real thing.