Here’s a bit of good news for those trying to diet before Christmas! According to several studies featured on TIME, the key to controlling your cravings is to actually indulge in them—in moderation, of course.

Case in point: When researchers from Tel Aviv University compared people who ate a pastry a day with those who deprived themselves of their sweet fix, they found that those who indulged themselves lost an average of 15 lbs more. Apparently, treating themselves to something sweet each morning kept their cravings at bay.

In another study, researchers from the University of British Columbia found that banning yourself from certain treats may make your brain concentrate on them even more.

To avoid gaining too much weight over the holidays, registered dietitian Keri Gans suggests eating in moderation. “What I always encourage is that people enjoy the foods that they love and they learn to watch the portion size. I find if they don’t eliminate it, and still include it, when they do it eat it, they can be satisfied with the smaller portion,” she advises.

(Photo by iamtheo via Flickr Creative Commons)

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