Have you realized how cravings for junk food is the highest when you are on a healthy diet and trying to lose weight. Those sugary, high-calorie delights seem to be calling out your name and food delivery apps make it all the more convenient to get them all on the plate. Burning off extra calories tomorrow during workout concept seriously doesn’t work, it has never worked! A healthy diet with a good exercise routine will only bring about weight loss. Intense food cravings for junk food is all a mind game and the good news is that you can actually control them and train your mind not to crave for such food. In this post, we would be talking about clever ways to train your brain to resist junk food.
What is Junk Food?
Processed food that is high in calories, sugar, salt content and also has preservatives, refined flour, can be called junk food. Sweets, candies, chocolates, biscuits, cookies, fast food, sweet beverages, colas, etc. that offer little to zero nutritional value to the body is junk food.
20 Clever Ways to Train your Brain to Resist Junk Food
1. Check the ingredients List Before Buying Anything: Follow this formula – if any food package has more than five ingredients, keep it back. It might have sugar, salt, emulsifiers, preservatives, etc. Also, checking the ingredients list is a good way to avoid added sugar that’s presented under different names – fructose, high fructose syrup, sugar syrup, evaporated cane juice, agave nectar, are just a few examples.
2. Drink Loads of Water: When you are dehydrated, your brain starts sending the wrong signals and you might actually take consider those signals as hunger pangs. You might reach for junk food because of easy availability when in reality, you are just thirsty and need water. Drink water throughout the water, glass by glass, and see how your cravings drastically reduce.
3. Eat More Protein and Fiber: Mix high fiber and protein foods in your meals so that there is no sharp spike in insulin levels and no slump right after. A slump would make you crave for sugary food and that’s why a high-fiber and protein diet will keep those spikes and slumps in control. Check out Rati Beauty diet programs to find how to eat high fiber and protein diet and what to eat.
4. Replace refined carbs completely with complex carbs and healthy fat: Our bodies are formulated in a such a way that they burn carbs as a primary fuel. When you supply the body more and more carbs, you will keep craving for junk food. Keep a good mix of protein, fiber, and complex carbs in your diet.
5. Eat from a Blue-Colored Plate: Studies have revealed that blue is an appetite suppressant color. Experts advice people who want to lose weight to eat from a blue plate to eat food out of because less food is eaten due to the nature of the color. Come to think of it, there are hardly one or two food items that are blue colored and that’s why they do not trigger our brain. Our ancestors, when hunting for food, used to avoid black and blue colored food because they were usually poisonous. Since we first eat with our eyes, appearance of food triggers hormonal response and neurons are immediately set off in the hypothalamus region of the brain, which leads to hormonal release in the human body. Studies have revealed that people do not enjoy food in dim lighting. That’s why most junk food is colorful in nature, to appeal our senses and to trigger our brains into wanting them.
6. Eat Low-Glycemic Food to Regulate Blood Sugar Levels: Eating foods with high glycemic index can cause insulin spikes which leads to storing of extra calories as fat in the body. Pick foods with low glycemic index (less than 55) to lose weight effectively. Some examples of low GI foods are apple, chickpeas, lentils, soy beans, brown rice, cauliflower, cabbage, cucumber, onion, radish, spinach, sweet potato, yam, etc. Also eat fiber-rich food to regulate blood sugar level and reduce craving for junk food.
7. Read more literature on how junk food can destroy your body: You can find many articles on IMBB about how junk food can play havoc on your body and mind. Do you want to end up with diabetes in five years from now by eating junk food on a regular basis? We bet you said “no!” Read more and more about how junk food negatively affects your health, and you would slowly wean yourself off of food.
8. Don’t stock trigger foods in the fridge: Keep packaged and processed food out of sight and that way out of mind, and eventually, these foods which are high in calories, transfat, sugar, and sodium, would not reach your pantry and will not land in your plate either.
9. Avoid getting too hungry: We crave for junk food because they are most often high in refined flour and sugar which gets easily digested, gives the necessary sugar rush, and calms hunger. When you get extremely hungry, you would want to reach for a cinnamon bun rather than an apple because the former will instantly soothe your hunger. Hunger is the main reason for unhealthy cravings, so do not starve yourself to stop cravings.
10. Eat lots of spinach: Research has revealed that people who included spinach in at least one meal were able to control their cravings for junk food.
11. Keep healthy food within reach: They keep you full for longer and prevent hunger pangs.
12. Chew your food more: Yes, in fact, it’s a common habit of people who are slim. They tend to show restraint around sugary delights and usually savour every bite they take instead of gulping the food. So, by the third bite, they are usually satisfied and want to eat no more, so push the dessert plate away.
13. Sleep well at night: When you have disturbed sleep at night or have slept less for 7 hours, you would have noticed that you woke up extremely hungry and are craving for high-fat and sugary foods. That’s because less sleep triggers the production of hunger hormone “ghrelin” which in fact raises the appetite. Get your 7 hours of sleep and you will wake up fresh without the appetite of a giant.
14. Focus on how junk food makes you feel and affects your body: Have you noticed how you feel lighter, energetic after eating healthy food and lethargic and sluggish after eating junk food. Observe these findings and consider them the next time you are craving for junk food.
15. Mindful eating: Mindful eatingslows down your heart rate and breathing. It helps to increase levels of anti-anxiety neurotransmitter GABA which stabilizes your appetite and cravings.
16. Three food items in three different colors: Fill up your plate with three food items in three different colours. Colorful healthy food makes it appetizing and you would enjoy eating real food than junk food.
17. Break that habit: If you are in the habit of having chocolate after lunch, break that habit. As they say, it takes 21 days to form a habit, so better make that habit a healthy one. Eat an apple instead of chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth.
18. Find swaps for junk food: Frozen grapes instead of candy, brown bread instead of white, frozen yogurt instead of ice cream – these are just some of the food swaps that you can do to replace junk food. In this post, we list out 50 Healthy Food Swaps That Everyone Should Absolutely Try.
19. Delete Food-Ordering Apps: Keeping such apps on your phone may tempt you to give into cravings and order food from outside often. Limit eating out to once a week and you will see the weight dropping with completely home-cooked food.
20. Completely hate sugar/Read about its side effects in the body: You will automatically start weeding out stuff with sugar in it. Most junk food add loads of sugar to make them appetizing. Read more about the affects of sugar on weight loss and health.