If you're trying to lose weight because you think it will improve your appearance, you might think that looking in the mirror would motivate you to keep your diet goals on track. But any stimuli (including photos of other people's bodies) that make you think about your appearance may actually lead you to eat more—regardless of your appetite, according to new research conducted in Netherlands and recently published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
In the two-part study, researchers served 107 people either a high- or low-calorie milkshake. Half the participants drank in front of a face mirror. (The goal was to make them think about their appearances.) Afterward, researchers gave each of the participants a bowl of M&Ms while they watched videos with no mirror in sight. People who'd previously drank the high-calorie milkshakes in front of a mirror ate more M&Ms than people who'd drank low-calorie milkshakes—even though they should have been, at least in theory, more satisfied from the get-go. High-calorie milkshake drinkers who'd drank in front of mirrors also ate more M&Ms than those who'd drank the exact same beverage without a mirror.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.