Junk food cravings hit even the best of us. Sometimes so strong, it’s like a magnet pulling us toward the pantry. Junk-food addiction is a real thing. A study from Sweden showed that the hormone ghrelin, which activates the brain’s reward system and increases appetite, reacts similarly to sugar and alcohol. Many of us have been conditioned from childhood to turn to the combination of fat, sugar, and salt found in our favorite junk foods when we’re stressed, sad, angry, or bored. Let’s break the junk-food cycle and retrain our bodies and our minds to make those healthy choices!
For those of you just starting out on a clean eating lifestyle, the urges might be SO STRONG! You might feel like YOU’RE STARVING or that YOU’LL DIE if you can’t eat your favorite treat (or drink) when the urge strikes, but I’m here to tell you there is good news! I’ve been clean eating for a long time now, and I can say that overly processed, sugary, salty foods make me sick! Literally. I really don’t crave them like I used to (although that doesn’t mean I’m completely immune to cravings) and it’s easier for me to turn them down when they’re in front of me.
Tip #1: Go cold turkey and clean it out of your home. You can’t tell yourself you’ll be able to resist, because you won’t. The temptation will be too strong. So just get rid of it.
Tip #2: Follow the 80/20 rule. A member of one of my challenge groups posted this and I couldn’t agree more!
If you’re going to live by this rule then you need to STICK TO IT! Don’t let it turn into a binge day or a binge weekend. Cheat meals are exactly that: ONE MEAL!
Tip #3 Replace emotional eating: Unhealthy eating (or drinking) is used a reward for a long day at work, a long car ride, a stressful day with the kids…or anything else you can think of. Replace that can of soda or half dozen cookies with something else like infused water, herbal tea, or Greek yogurt sweetened with honey and some fresh fruit thrown in.
Tip #4: PREP! You all know I’m a big advocate of prepping your food ahead of time so there’s less of chance of being tempted. Carry healthy snack foods with you. Almonds, apples, whole grain crackers, Shakeology Packets, or dried fruits are all things small enough to fit inside a bag or purse.
Tip #5: Break out of your comfort zone! Don’t be afraid to try new healthy foods or new ways to prepare and eat them! I really thought I hated Brussel Sprouts for years. Turns out, I don’t! I really, really love them roasted! For other yummy ways to incorporate healthy foods into your meals see my post on Savory Sides.