The brain can't tell the difference between a real experience and one that is vividly, fully imagined.
That's right. The brain processes the thoughts identically. Especially in hypnosis, when a person is told they're hearing a sound, the same part of their brain lights up on an fMRI as when they're actually hearing the sound.
In the June 2008 issue of The Journal of Hypnotism, Richarde Harte, FNGH, OB, in his column "The Heart of Hypnosis," writes about how he lost weight by satisfying cravings with hypnosis.
As a pizza aficianado, he had put on some pounds. There was a yummy pizza take-out joint near his office, and after stopping in (too frequently) for a quick and easy lunch, he'd gained a belly more suited to Santa than a hypnotist.
So he began eating a hypno-pizza whenever he got a craving. Dropped himself into a trance, imagined eating a delicious slice of pizza, slowly savoring every bite, amplifying the experience to a high level of satisfaction, and then, when he was done, ate a salad.
He lost weight and didn't deprive himself.
It works with other stuff, too. Smoking, desserts, morning coffee... give it a try! The key is a vivid, fully imagined experience, with lots of sensory details. Take your time. Let me know how it goes.