Tips to stop craving junk food

Do cookies or take-away call your name when you’re in the other room or when you walk down the wrong aisle in the supermarket?

Read this.
Now we all know this deep down but usually choose to ignore that - Junk Food = Fake Food.

Junk food often tastes good going down, but leaves us feeling heavy, bloated, or worse, left with the ‘food guilt’ we all know one of those feelings, right? It may seem impossible to get over sugary or salty junk food, especially when you have intense cravings for it, but as someone who has a SUPER sweet tooth I barley crave these foods anymore and I promise it’s possible to lose the cravings or lessen them, because one thing I don’t want anyone to do is feel guilty for having ‘naughty’ food now and again because life is all about balance.

Here are some of my top tips to stop junk food cravings:

Out of Sight, Out of Mind
If you are like many of my clients or friends who work in an office or have an office space where people like to bring (usually) sweet treats in or at your home have treats out for display and look pretty. Don’t leave them out in plain sight. And when you’re at the supermarket, just bypass the naughty aisles. Try to stick to the outside aisles, we all know in our local supermarkets where the bad aisles are. They are usually the ones with the brightest packaging which always catch our eyes! Do your best to not bring it home or back to the office! This may seem like a no-brainer and completely obvious, but if you don’t bring junk food into your house, it makes it harder for you to eat it.

Instead, put a fruit bowl on your table / desk, filled with oranges, tangerines, bananas and other delicious things, so you grab them instead of anything else. Try adding in one new fruit each week or every 2 weeks, this way you can learn new foods you may not have even thought of adding into your diet, but you would have tried a new flavour of sweet or crisp – again it is just about making healthier choices and taking the time to sit and enjoy the new flavors.

Manage Your Stress, Boredom, or Loneliness
There have been many a time when we turn to junk food not because we’re hungry, but rather because we’re stressed, bored, or lonely. Sometimes we just turn to it as a distraction (often around 3pm, when our brain is fried from working since 9am, and eating lunch while checking emails). We hit that ‘mid-morning or afternoon ‘slump’. When we turn to food to fill an emotional void, we will never feel full.

The food temporarily gives us a feeling of calmness of comfort, and it will spike out ‘happy’ hormones but then it doesn’t last, or address the root of the problem, which makes stress or other types of emotional eating a seemingly endless hamster wheel. Which will then turn into regret, negativity, and resentment to ourselves.

So, to stop these stress and emotion induced cravings, you must try to manage the root cause. Figure out what is stressing you out and find a way to reduce or alleviate it.

If you eat when you’re bored - write down a list of 6-8 activities you can do instead, such as go for a walk, go for a run, give a friend or family member a call, sing along to some music, clean out your closet, or pick up a new practical hobby. Then, when you feel the boredom eating coming on, choose one of these activities and get busy to take your mind off eating, it may be something as simple as just writing down / coloring in or even baking a healthy alternative to your not so healthy choice. Those are both great mindful alternatives.

If you eat when you’re lonely - write down a list of activities you can do so you feel less lonely: write a “just because” list, invite a friend over for dinner or tea, join a meetup group, join a sports group, or a activity club. Jump on to Google to find what is in your area. This may sound terrifying to some people and very daunting, but remember your comfort zone is a safe space we want to feel uneasy being pushed outside of the comfort zone.

If you eat when you’re stressed at work - find a healthy alternative that will allow you to blow off some steam: go for a walk around the block or to a park instead of to your local coffee shop or canteen for a brownie or chocolate bar, make a  herbal tea and sip it slowly, or close the door and turn on a guided 5-10-minute meditation.

Don’t Deprive Yourself, Make Better Choices
Whenever we hear the words “we can’t have,” we want it so much more. If you feel like you’re depriving yourself, you’re only going to revert back to the same old habits. Try using different terminology e.g. talk to yourself and ask ‘do I really want that’ ‘what will that bring me once I have had it’ ‘how long will this give me happiness / comfort once I have had it?’. Once we have added in this thinking process you will be surprised how much you actually don’t need / want it.

If you have a craving for something sweet, instead of denying yourself completely, turn to fruit, or fruit based desserts, like  vegan moose or home made brownies

If you want something salty, try celery with hummus or olive tapenade, olives, or seaweed snacks. There are plenty of healthier versions of your favorite foods, no matter what the craving.

Eat More Real Food
When you eat more real food (fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and optionally small amounts of animal products), you will naturally want less junk food. And the less you eat junk food, the less you will crave it. You begin to lose the taste for it.
Aim to have anywhere from 50-75% of your lunch and dinner plate be vegetables, with the rest made up of healthy proteins and fats (and optionally a small amount of whole grains). For breakfast, stick to a similar ratio, but with fruit (of course you can have veggies for breakfast if you fancy!)

View Your Body Like a Temple
Above all, know you’re worth it! Respect your body and know your true self. This is the only body you have, and it will be with you for the rest of your life.
My personal motto is to treat your body like you would your best friend or one of your family members. If you value your body, you will not want to fill it with things that will damage your health or make you feel bad, physically or mentally. So keep your eye on the prize (vibrant health and a healthy weight), and make choices that support and bring out the best version of YOU!

No comments:

Post a Comment