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How To Stop Junk Food Cravings And Start Eating Healthy Today

How To Stop Junk Food Cravings And Start Eating Healthy Today

We all know junk food is unhealthy for us but all still we crave it. The obesity epidemic has highlighted the perils of eating high-fat and high-sugared foods with heart disease, high blood pressure and other ailments, such as diabetes, on the rise from the over-consumption of junk food.

So why do we crave foods that are so bad for us? Scientific research has shown that it’s down to two factors – the first is the sensation of the food, including the taste, smell, and often the texture of it in the mouth.[1] Companies will go above and beyond to find the perfect level of crunch, smoothness, and fizziness that will send our brains into junk food heaven and get us buying it again and again.

The second factor is the perfect combination of sugar, fat, and salt. The right blend will get the chemicals in your brain excited and wanting more, hence the addictive quality that junk food possess.

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Ways To Kick Your Junk Food Habit

Whether you eat junk food on a daily basis – soda, sweets, crisps, chocolate, or even just the occasional treat – there are effective ways to stop and re-route yourself to a much healthier diet.

1. The 5 Ingredient Rule

This is a good way to filter out the processed foods from the more wholesome healthy ones. Whatever you eat, make sure it doesn’t have more than five ingredients in it. Check the labels carefully and dismiss anything that has a long list of contents, especially if you’ve never heard of a lot of them!

Consider cooking your own version of a dish so you know exactly what is going into it and avoid high-sugar and high-fatty ingredients.

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2. Get To Know Your Trigger Foods

We all have our trigger foods – the ones that we can’t help but gorge ourselves on. The problem with this is that it can lead us down a slippery slope of wanting more and more. When we know our trigger foods are in the house then we know they’re always there waiting for us to eat. And because of our junk food addiction, it’s even harder to stay away from them because they are conveniently in our reach.

Make sure you identify your cravings and make an effort to not buy those foods to keep them out of the house. If they’re nowhere near you, you can’t eat them!

3. The 3 Colour Rule

Another tactic you can use is the three colour rule. A study showed that three food items on the plate together with three different colours (M&Ms don’t count!) actually makes children desire the food more.[2] The more natural colours you can find in your food, the better it is. So instead of reaching for the chocolate bar, choose mixed nuts or a colourful plate of fruit to get more variety and therefore more nutrients in your diet. This is especially helpful for when you’re snacking since it is where a lot of our calories are mindlessly taken in.

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4. Change Your Routine

It’s very easy to get into a routine of snacking on junk food. We can get used to having that bag of crisps at 11am to tide us over or a chocolate bar at 3pm to keep our energy up. Breaking these little habits are the key to reducing our addictive cravings. When you feel the need to have your usual unhealthy snack, go for a five-minute walk or do something different that will take your mind off visiting the vending machine.

It usually takes around 30 days to establish a new habit so persevere and you’ll soon notice your cravings stop.

5. Strategically Position Healthy Foods

Having more healthy options in direct view will train your brain into picking these over junk. So position the healthier foods in the front and centre of your fridge so when you open it, this is what you see as a first option. Keep a fruit bowl on the counter-tops so they’re easily accessible. Prep some snacks ahead of time, such as hummus and raw carrots, so that you have quick and easy options to reach when you’re needing that pick-me-up.

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It’s important to form habits in order to conquer our junk food cravings and addictions. Making healthy eating more of a lifestyle and creating a mindset where the occasional junk food is a treat rather than a way of life is the key to our health, happiness, and well-being.

Featured photo credit: tookapic via pexels.com

Reference

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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