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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 June 20, 2019

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

Conclusion

While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

Reference

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