If you've actively avoided social occasions while on a health kick, you're most definitely not alone.
While we may be able to stay on the straight and narrow for the vast majority of the week, the minute we begin socialising all bets are off.
Whether it comes down to manners or sheer lack of willpower, many of us find it difficult to decline a plate of goodies when pressed upon us by the friend or co-worker hosting us.
But according to new research, the easiest way to curb how much you consume at a party or gathering is by serving yourself, and ensuring you're the only one looking after your food intake.
The findings, which were published in the Journal of Marketing Research, concluded that people ate less unhealthy food when they tasked themselves with filling their own plates.
"We find that when participants are given the choice of whether or not to consume snacks that they perceive as relatively unhealthy, they have a greater inclination to consume these snacks when less (versus more) physical involvement is required to help themselves to the food." study authors Linda Hagen, Aradhna Krishna, and Brent McFerran said.
In other words, if you tell your host that you're good for now and will help yourself in a bit, you'll be less likely to consistently tuck in because, hey, who wants to keep getting up and down from the buffet?
When you accept a plate of unhealthy (but obviously delicious food) you tend to relinquish responsibility, but you don't have to.
“We suggest that this behaviour occurs because being less physically involved in serving one's food allows participants to reject responsibility for unhealthy eating and thus to feel better about themselves following indulgent consumption," the authors added.
Simply put, if you insist that it's your responsibility to keep yourself fed and watered at the next party, you're much less likely to overindulge.
And while that seems to make sense, all we can think about is getting free reign over a buffet…