No matter how hard you try, you just can’t get away from junk food. It’s everywhere – at home, at work, and at school. When you leave the house, you’re surrounded by counters full of sweets, the tantalizing smell of fresh baked goods, or your colleague’s delicious birthday cake.
But why are we so addicted to junk food? Simply put, it was made to make us want more of it … and more and more.
Sugar, salt, fat, and caffeine are the ingredients in foods we depend on most. They are the main ingredients in junk food. If you look at the list of ingredients in ready meals, you will probably see one, if not all, of these four ingredients at the top.
This is unfortunately true: sugar is more addictive than cocaine! No wonder we can’t say no to Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or juicy brownie. We are so to speak programmed to say “yes”!
So how do you manage to get away from junk food? Being here is the first step to get rid of your junk food addiction. In this article, we’re going to share 7 proven tips to get you off junk food for good.
7 proven tips for junk food withdrawal
1. Do not eat junk food for three days
Ask someone who has overcome his addiction and he will probably tell you that the first three days are the hardest. And even if you are addicted to sugar, you must be prepared for withdrawal symptoms. In the experience of test persons, the symptoms of sugar withdrawal are similar to those after stopping cocaine.
But don’t worry – you can do it. During the first three days, your body is busy getting rid of all the toxins. Be strong, it will pass. In 72 hours you will feel better!
First aid to get through the first 72 hours:
- Stay as far away from temptation as possible. If you have junk food lying around at home, throw it away. If you can’t resist the smell of the bakery on the way to work, choose another route. You can do it!
- Drink 2-4 liters of water a day. Sometimes our brain pretends that we are hungry even though we are thirsty. But water can not only dampen agonizing hunger, but it also makes your skin glow. Tip: If you don’t like water, pimp it with lemon, ginger, cucumber, or even cinnamon sticks!
- If you get hungry in the afternoon, go for a walk instead of a snicker, and if that doesn’t help, grab a healthy snack as soon as you get back to the office. Try chia pudding, fresh fruit, or unsweetened peanut purée with celery sticks. All these snacks contain more nutrients than a candy bar and are more filling. Instead of starving – eat cleverly!
2. Balance your plate
A study recently found that we prefer colorful food on our plates. So prepare your meals as colorful as possible.
To ensure that you eat a balanced diet, take a plate from the shelf and divide it into four parts. A quarter of your plate is reserved for a lean protein source. Fill two quarters with green leafy vegetables. The remaining quarter of your plate is shared with starchy carbohydrates (potatoes, pasta, sweet potato puree, etc.) and yes, you guessed it, more green leafy vegetables. Add some fat (avocado, nuts, olive oil, etc.) and you’re ready to go.
3. Read through all the ingredients lists
We show you how to identify addictive ingredients on ingredient lists. The longer the ingredient list, the more processed the food is. Beware of foods that have sugar, high fructose corn syrup, white flour, and other ingredients you don’t know are at the top of the list. The ingredients are ordered according to their content. So if you see sugar, fat, salt, or caffeine listed first, try to avoid them. And remember: If you find an ingredient that you cannot pronounce, don’t eat it!
To avoid giving in to temptation while shopping, don’t spend too much time in the supermarket. And please, please, please don’t go shopping until after you’ve eaten. Being hungry leads to impulse buying, especially when there are packs of chips on sale!
4. Build up habits
What is the first thing you do after waking up? Do you check your cell phone? Maybe you jump in the shower – get ready for your day? If you are like most people, you have developed a certain morning routine. Habits that you have repeated over and over again until they run automatically.
James Clear writes in his book The 1% Method that habits can be divided into four steps: Trigger, motivation, reaction, and reward.
The trigger can be a sweet snack at 3 pm or a cigarette after a meal. The list can be extended as desired.
No matter what the trigger is, it leads to motivation (“I need something sweet”), followed by reaction (eating the piece of cake) and finally to reward (now I am satiated).
But what if you want to build new, healthier habits? According to Clear, “the key to successful triggering is to choose a trigger that is very precise and can be implemented immediately.
For example, say you want to quit smoking. You plan to replace your cigarette with a 5-minute bodyweight workout after a meal. You just reprogrammed your brain and looked for a new trigger. If you now feel like smoking your cigarette after eating (the trigger), you have replaced the original trigger (smoking a cigarette) with a new one (exercise).
Do you need help in setting yourself achievable goals? Then read on here.
5. Plan your meals in advance
Healthy routines are great. It is the less healthy ones we have to take care of. How easy it is to pick up fast food on the way home from work, especially when you are exhausted from a long day.
You need strength to reverse these unhealthy habits, but it’s doable. To give up fast food on the road or snacks in between, Meal Planning helps you plan and pre-cook your meals.
Develop a new morning routine by packing your lunch to go. You can also pack a nutritious morning snack and one for the afternoon in your lunch box! Take an afternoon walk and also start preparing your dinner for the week. Use Sunday to make a large pot of vegetarian chili or delicious homemade soup. This way you will have healthy food in stock for the coming week.
If you introduce healthy routines, you will be able to pursue and achieve the goals you have set yourself more quickly.
6. Think only about today
Try not to think, “OMG, I’ll never be able to.” You can achieve anything as long as you set yourself a realistic goal and keep thinking about it. And if you fail or struggle with yourself, don’t get discouraged. Get up and continue. Whatever you do, do not give up!
7. Choose your friends wisely
Last but not least, surround yourself with positive thinking, supportive people, because your environment influences you. If you identify with people who are negative, insecure, or harmful to you, it will rub off on you – and not in a good way. No one is immune to negative energy or bad influence. So choose your dealings wisely. You need all the support you can get if you want to do something for your health and well-being in the long run.