Self-control does not mean sacrificing pleasure

Happiness is pleasure without the regret

Carrot cake or carrot sticks?

… sometimes it’s a difficult choice.

… sometimes it’s an easy one.

If we are trying to reduce our size and change our shape, choosing the cake may feel like a fialure of self-control.

But not always.

Researchers at City University London have discovered that feeling of having “given in to temptation” doesn’t depend on whether you choose the cake or the vegetable: it depends on if you think you will regret your choice in the future.

If someone, who is weight conscious, ate a slice of carrot cake, they might think they had a “self-control failure” but only because they imagined they would regret that choice later.

But if that same person only ate a small piece of cake, that might not be enough to trigger the future feelings of regret. And therefore they would not see it as a “failure” – they’d just seeing it eating a small piece of nice cake.

Its not lack of self-control if you don't feel bad about it
It’s not lack of self-control if you don’t regret it.

“If a person is comfortable with their weight and does not anticipate to regret in advance their food consumption choices, then we cannot say that person lacks self-control.”

Dr Irene Scopelliti, associate professor of marketing at Cass Business School.

“It is not the consumption of cake that automatically signals a self-control failure, it is whether consumers believe that they may regret their food choice in the future; our research demonstrates that health and pleasure are not necessarily in conflict.”

Dr Irene Scopelliti, associate professor of marketing at Cass Business School.

This plays into the false perception that food is either “good” or “bad, which is an incorrect over-simplification.


Photos: Happiness is a piece of cake by Antonio Quagliata at


Does lack of sleep cause weight gain?

Not enough sleep causes our bodies store fat

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have discovered that just a few days of sleep deprivation can make us feel less full after eating.

After spending a week getting plenty of sleep at home, 15 healthy men in their 20s checked into the sleep lab for the ten-night study. For five of those nights the men spent no more than five hours in bed each night.

The researchers gave participants a standardized high-fat dinner – a bowl of chili mac – after four nights of sleep restriction.

Most participants felt less satisfied after eating the same rich meal while sleep deprived than when they had eaten it well-rested.

A bowl of mac and cheese only feels filling and satisfying if you are well rested

If you are tired and sleep-deprived, you’ll want a second helping

Lack of sleep also changes the way our bodies metabolize the fats from our food

Researchers also found that men who were sleep deprived tended to store the fat from their evening meal. But when the person was well rested, less fat was stored from their food.

The experimenters had a simulated work week – five nights of only 5 hours of sleep. And a whole weekend of 10 hours sleep per night, to catch up on the lost shut-eye.

But even after the weekend rest, the volunteers biological reaction to food did not revert back to what it was before the experiment.

After the first night of good sleep they ate a bowl of chili mac and cheese. Although participants’ metabolic handling of fat from their food was slightly better after one night of recovery sleep, they didn’t recover to the baseline healthy level.

In other news : It’s not what you eat but when you eat, that makes a difference

Read more …

The experiment shows that the effects of lack of sleep continue, even when we have got back into a good sleep pattern. But the researchers did not find how many nights of good sleep, it takes, to get back to a healthy reaction to high fat food.

It might take several, continuous nights, of good sleep for our bodies to return to what they were before the sleep deprivation period.

Or maybe, or bodies never recover from a period of poor sleep. The experiment ended after 10 days, so the researchers don’t have those answers.

But one thing is clear; for those of us who want to reduce the fat on our bodies, we need to get to bed and get some quality shut-eye. Sweet dreams!


Photos: Feet in bed at | Baked mac and cheese by Ronmar Lacamiento at


The secret to happiness? Contagion! Wait! What? Seriously?

Happiness and contagion go together

Happiness: We All Want More

A Google search for “happiness” produces more than a billion results and is one of the more frequently used search terms.

Happiness is the most common promise made by sales people since the development of consumerism. “Buy this product and you will be happier” is the age old promise of almost every sales pitch and advert.

A study by Harvard Medical School, that looked at nearly 5,000 individuals over a period of 20 years, has revealed a surprising source of happiness.

It’s not any product you can buy.

It’s not money.

It’s not sex.

Incredibly, your happiness can be increased by someone you have never spoken to, have never met, and don’t even know exists.

Research shows that one person’s happiness triggers a chain reaction that benefits not only his friends, but his friends’ friends, and his friends’ friends’ friends. That’s three degrees of separation!

And it doesn’t have to be family or relatives – or people emotionally close to you – but physically close, like your next door neighbours.

The researchers found that when an individual becomes happy, a friend living within a mile experiences a 25 percent increased chance of becoming happy. A co-resident spouse experiences an 8 percent increased chance, siblings living within one mile have a 14 percent increased chance, and for next door neighbors, 34 percent chance of becoming happier.

But the real surprise came with indirect relationships. Again, while an individual becoming happy increases his friend’s chances, a friend of that friend experiences a nearly 10 percent chance of increased happiness. Furthermore, a friend of *that* friend has a 5.6 percent increased chance—a three-degree cascade.

So a friend of a friend of a friend could have made you happier, and you don’t even know them.

Happiness can spread, like a contagious infection, through a linked network of people. And the “happiness infection” can spread as far as 3 degrees of separation.

This doesn’t happen by telepathy though. It’s not some mystical “force” or “energy” that spreads the happiness. That would be ridiculous. The spread of happiness obviously depends on some form of communication between the network of friends.

But that doesn’t have to be physical contact.

Phone conversations, Facebook, messaging, online chats etc. can all spread happiness from one person to another.

And then that happiness can spread to the next person.

The effect lasts for up to one year.

These effects are limited by both time and space. The closer a friend lives to you, the stronger the emotional contagion. But as distance increases, the effect dissipates. This explains why next door neighbors have an effect, but not neighbors who live around the block.

Thankfully, sadness does not spread through social networks as effectively as happiness. So an unhappy friend of a friend will not make you unhappy.

But you might be able to cheer them up, eventually, by being happier yourself!


Photo Credits : Happy Friends by Sharefaith on