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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

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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