If you are addicted to junk food, this article will show you simple tricks you can use to overcome junk food addiction.
Food addiction is real. Studies show that our brains react to certain foods the same way addicts’ brains react to drugs. In fact, sugar is more addictive than cocaine, according to research.
Sugar isn’t the only food you can get addicted to. Most processed foods have the perfect combination of salt, fats, sugar, and additional flavors to get you hooked. You’ll be surprised to find out that manufacturers use artificial ingredients to keep you coming for more.
Overcoming junk food addiction can help you lose weight and lower risk of diabetes and heart attack.
Unfortunately, most of the methods people use to stop junk food addiction don’t work. Moderation is one of those ineffective methods. Eating candies or chocolate in moderation actually increases chances of binge eating.
You may also fail to control junk food addiction if you rely on willpower. Fighting cravings only works short-term – people eventually go back to old eating habits once willpower dies.
Frankly, I can’t guarantee that your junk food cravings will disappear for good, but if you follow the tips below, you can learn to control your cravings and as a result, overcome junk food addiction.
How to overcome junk food addiction
1. Talk to a professional
Junk food addiction is a complex issue that takes time to fix. Therefore, it’s important to talk to a professional.
Seek advice from a dietitian or therapist who specializes in eating disorders. These professionals will help you overcome junk food addiction since they’ve seen what works for others with similar problems.
2. Know the type of eater you are
According to Brian Wansink, PhD, there are 5 types of junk food eaters:
Snack grazers: These people eat junk food just because it’s available. Sometimes they snack when bored, nervous, or idle.
Restaurant indulgers: This type frequents restaurants and overindulges in junk food.
Meal stuffers: They eat during mealtimes but they overindulge.
Multitasking diner: These people eat while doing different tasks like driving, using the computer, walking, and so on.
Party bingers: These are usually professionals, who overeat in social events.
It’ll be easier for you to overcome junk food addiction once you discover the type of eater you are. For instance, if you’re a party binger, eating a healthy meal before the party can prevent snacking.
Restaurant indulgers can benefit from cooking healthy meals at home. If you’re too busy to cook every day, use these meal prepping ideas.
3. Throw junk food from the house
Can a heroin addict overcome his addiction if he keeps heroin the house? Of course, he can’t! It’s the same thing with food addiction. You will overindulge if you keep junk food in the house.
Throw all the foods you’re addicted to out of the house. Making junk food less accessible will reduce chances of overindulging. Chances are you won’t drive to the supermarket in the middle of the night to buy a cookie or chocolate bar.
4. Don’t start a new diet
Most people try to overcome junk food addiction by starting a new diet but this approach doesn’t work. Most diets are too rigid and impossible to stick to long term.
People usually go back to old eating habits once they can’t keep up with the new diet.
Instead of starting a new diet, change your eating habits. Replace junk food with healthier alternatives like veggies, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. Make sure you eat plant-based foods in every meal.
5. Carry healthy snacks to work
Carrying a healthy snack reduces chances of snacking on junk food. Pack healthy snacks like apples, bananas, nuts, kale chips or air-popped popcorns in a lunch box every day.
Eat them between meals. Avoid skipping meals since it can increase junk cravings.
6. Don’t drink sugary beverages
Sodas, fruit juice, energy drinks and diet sodas increase hunger and cravings. Replacing these drinks with water and clean eating drinks will make it easier for you to maintain healthy eating habits.
Drinking water every time cravings kick in can also stop you from eating junk food.
7. Avoid your favorite junk food joint
You may need to change your route if you always pass by junk food joints every day. Driving past fast food joints can increase your cravings.
Find new routes that don’t have fast food joints. You’ll stop obsessing over junk food if you’re not exposed to it every day.
8. Know the truth about junk food
Most of us eat junk food without really knowing what we are eating. Finding out the ingredients in your favorite junk food can gross you out and make you crave it less.
For instance, processed foods like sausages and Tang contain carcinogens, which have been shown to increase risk of cancer.
A quick google search will show you all the gross ingredients in your favorite food. You may even want to go farther and research how these foods are prepared.
9. Ask for support from friends and family
Support from friends and family can help you overcome all sorts of addictions. Ask a loved one to remind you to make better food choices.
You should also spend time with people who maintain healthy eating habits. It’s highly unlikely you’ll eat junk food if everyone around you is eating healthy foods.
At the same time, it’s hard to overcome junk food addiction if your friend or partner eats it all the time.
10. Improve your cooking skills
Most people think healthy food tastes gross because they don’t know how to cook it properly. The truth is foods like veggies, legumes, meat and so on, are tasty when cooked well.
Take online cooking classes and feel free to try these meal-prepping recipes.
11. Plan your meals
Not planning your meals increases chances of eating junk food. Planning starts from writing a shopping list to knowing what you’ll eat in the next meal.
You need to write down what you’ll eat for the next 7 days until you overcome junk food addiction. If you have no idea what to eat, these meal plans will guide you.
12. Focus on getting more nutrients
Most junk food addicts are nutrient deficient. That’s because junk food is loaded with calories but low in nutrients. To avoid nutritional deficiencies you need to replace junk with nutrient-dense foods like veggies.
By focusing on nutrients instead of calories, you’ll be able to change your eating habits with ease. Always ask yourself this question before you eat, “does this food have nutrients, or is it just empty calories?”
Overcoming junk food addiction isn’t easy but you can do it if you follow the tips above.
The worst thing you can do is to ignore this problem and hope it’ll go away. If you ignore food addiction, things will only get worse. So try different methods until you find one that works.
Is there anything stopping you from overcoming junk food addiction?