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Shaming Your Way to Weight Loss

One of my colleagues told me that he keeps his treats (currently, chocolate covered popcorn) in another colleague’s office. That makes him less likely to nosh, because he has to walk down the hall to get the treats. I pointed out that he has raised the fixed cost of noshing, which will indeed reduce the number of incidents of noshing; but each time he goes to his colleague’s office, he will eat more. Probably less in total, but more binging. He admitted that this policy of raising costs might not be a good self-control mechanism, except that it is embarrassing to have the other colleague watch him pigging out on the treats. Fear of shame and embarrassment, rather than the fixed cost of walking down the hall, is the bigger deterrent to excess eating.