Junk food can be a nasty habit. Especially if you’re eating it several times a day. Some people even go so far as to have a junk food addiction. If you are craving junk food and can’t seem to say no, then you may need to detox from that junk food.
Did you know that what regulates your weight, eating habits and metabolism is not your stomach but your brain? Healthy whole food sends messages to the brain to turn off hunger and cravings, while processed junk food sends the opposite messages that propagate out of control cravings.
Junk food is addicting, as it activates pleasure centers in the brain, much like cocaine and heroin. You can break food addictions habits, and get on track with a healthy lifestyle.
There are several approaches that you can take for detoxing from junk food. Cold turkey is always an option, but many people find it difficult to ditch junk, so taking a step-by-step approach is much more prudent.
Junk food is also often used as crutch and hunger is often not real but motivated by something else.
When you have cravings, it is important to stop and evaluate what you are feeling and what you really need. For example, are you tired, do you need a nap? Are you stressed, do you need to relax?
Are you really hungry? If so, then a chicken breast and vegetables will sound good, but if you are craving behind something other than hunger, then you will likely only want candy, chips, or some other junk.
2.) Eat Real Whole Food
Fats and proteins help keep you satisfied. Whole food including meats, chicken, vegetables, legumes, beans, seeds, and others satisfy hunger, and maintain steady blood sugar levels. When you eat regularly scheduled small meals about every three to four hours that include whole food, you keep your mind and body stable and satisfied.
3.) Reduce Stress
Nothing fuels cravings for junk like stress. Stress eating is a major problem for many people, so when you take the time to manage your stress, you can eliminate this pitfall.
4.) Don’t Eat From The Bag
Eating snacks in front of the TV your while at your desk is a common occurrence. However, Dr. Oz recommends that you avoid eating straight from the bag. Studies show that people consume more food when they have access to a larger portion. This is extremely true when you are distracted. Combining a large bag of chips with the distraction of television just means you will eat way more than you intended to.
Let’s face it, how many of us have ended up at the bottom of the Cheetos bag and wondered how we got there?
5.) Meal Prep
If you are addicted to junk food, then chances are you’ll find any excuse to head over to the fast food drive in. This is why prepping your meals and snacks ahead of time is vitally important. It is really easy to prep a whole week’s worth of food in an afternoon. You can prepackage your meals so that they are easy to grab out of the refrigerator and head out the door.
One of the biggest things to remember when trying to ditch junk food is to be patient with yourself and consistent in your nutrition. Remembering your meal prep days are important and scheduling them on your calendar may be an easy way to ensure you don’t skip this vital step.
6.) 5 Ingredients
Learning what ingredients are good for you and what ingredients mean a food is bad can take a lot of time. That’s one reason that Readers Digest suggests that you practice the five-ingredient rule. This rule simply states that if a packaged product has more than five ingredients, you shouldn’t eat it. This is a simple way to avoid impulse buys like chips and cookies. It also helps you understand that minimally processed foods are better for you.
Once you have the five-ingredient rule down, you can venture out by learning different ingredients and how they affect your body. For example, one ingredient, maltodextrin, is a sweetener with a higher glycemic index than table sugar. Often packages will say sugar-free when maltodextrin is present. Just because it’s sugar-free doesn’t mean it won’t affect your body like a sugar laden snack.
7.) Healthy swaps
When initially cutting out junk food from your diet you may notice that you have extreme cravings for sugar. This isn’t uncommon for many people who ditch junk food and kick the habit. One thing you will need to do is indulge a little.
This means enjoying snacks like frozen grapes, fresh fruit, and dark chocolate. It doesn’t mean indulging in a hot fudge Sundae from your favorite frozen treats restaurant. You can give yourself a healthy swap for sweets almost every day without damaging your attempt to ditch junk food. If you follow these steps, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to step away from the junk food and drive-ins. You might find that you have more energy as you no longer consume tons of junk. Your body will thank you for slowly weaning yourself away from the junk food.