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10 Terrific Tips To Stop Those Junk Food Cravings
It happens to the best of us. One minute we are fine, the next, we find ourselves staring longingly at that chocolate cupcake a co-worker just brought in, and in less than a minute, we devour that cupcake like a starving dog. Later that day you feel so guilty and you look in the mirror wondering what the heck happened?
What happened was a food craving. And sometimes willpower just isn’t the answer. Your desires are fed by more than just that cupcake, but those dang this tastes so frickin good hormones called dopamine. When you eat these types of foods, it’s an euphoric rush of pleasure to your brain that, naturally, it wants to repeat over and over and over.
You don’t need stronger willpower, what you need is a plan. Here are the top 10 ways you can break this cycle and kick those cravings to the curb for good!
1. Keep Only Healthy Snacks on Hand
You know how this works. It doesn’t matter if you have cookies for the kids and fruit for you, when it comes to snack time, you will find some reason to dive into the cookie box. But if you go looking through your cabinets and find only healthy snacks, you really don’t have another option, do you?
Spend a little time going through your cabinets and frig and throw out every junky snack food you can find. Then, fill those spaces with health choices. You should feel a great sense of relief afterwards.
2. Drink Up
When you are dehydrated your body sometimes tells you it’s hungry, when it actually only wants water.
Allowing your body to become dehydrated is a sure way to find yourself standing in front of the vending machine trying to decide between peanut or plain M&M’s. Try your best to drink 8 glasses of water a day.
If you find that hard to swallow, in place of a few glasses of water try drinking some fruit water, or vegetable juice, or some tea. If you opt for a good cleansing tea you will tackle two issues at once! Red clover, chicory, burdock, dandelion are great tea options, while ginger makes the best detox tea.
3. Ask Yourself, Am I Stressed Out?
When you feel that urge for potato chips or cookies, stop for one second and ask yourself how you are feeling.
Mnay people find comfort in certain foods. When you eat junk foods in response to certain feelings, you make a very powerful connection between your brain and this food. Remember the conditioning of Pavlov’s dogs? It works the same way.
The food you eat in response to a negative situation tells your brain that this is the soulution to an unpleasant emotion or experience. That’s why you crave Ben and Jerry’s after every fight with your husband! How can you avoid this? P
lay some upbeat music to distract yourself, or go for a walk.
Tell yourself you are going to wait 20 minutes and if you still want that Cherry Garcia, you can have it. Most food cravings only last about 10 minutes.
4. Don’t Go Wild at Special Occasions
There’s nothing wrong with having a reasonable sized piece of cake on your birthday.
The problem is that many of us see that special occasion as a ticket to go hog wild and have three pieces of cake, two helpings of Aunt Jane’s fried chicken, and a double helping of potato salad.
Serve yourself reasonable portions of everything on your special day and really focus on how great it tastes.
You will be just as satisfied but you won’t overindulge.
5. Are You a Creature of Habit?
Sometimes it’s not so much that you are having a food craving, but it’s more a matter of habit.
Your brain just love routine, it makes it feel comfortable. Trying to change that routine sometimes causes you anxiety. So to break that cookie before bedtime habit, try a few habit breaking actions such as distracting yourself.
When you start thinking about that cookie, do something else, such as check your email or go for a quick walk. You could also try watching TV in a room that’s far away from the kitchen.
Or put a rubber band on your wrist and when you find yourself thinking about some junk food, snap that rubber band hard and say NO! outloud.
These techniques may sound overly simple, but they work!
6. Don’t Use Junk Food as a Reward
After a tough day at work, sometimes all you want to do is go home, plop down on the sofa, and eat that plate of brownies your sister made for you. Yes, it will taste good and feel good but those feelings are short lived.
Instead of diving into those brownies, why don’t you try talking about what upset you that day? Write a letter or email then destroy it.
Or try something that doesn’t involve food to make yourself feel better.
Go to the movies with a friend or take Spike for a game of Frisbee in the park.
7. Hit the Hay
If you find yourself reaching for those junk food munchies late at night, try going to bed earlier.
Willpower wanes as the day goes on so when you feel tired, it’s much easier to convince yourself that you deserve that bag of chips.
The simplest solution to those late night munchies sessions is to go to bed earlier.
You can’t eat when you’re asleep!
8. Brush Your Teeth
You most likely already know that this trick works.
After brushing and using mouthwash, not only does food not taste good, but you usually don’t even want to eat and ruin that minty fresh mouth! Find out things you must know about your teeth.
By the time that clean taste wears off, the craving should have passed as well.
9. Distract Yourself
Since cravings generally last only 10 minutes, find something to divert your attention from that Snickers bar.
Dance to some upbeat music, take your kids for a walk, call a friend for a little chat, anything that will distract you and keep you from thinking about that candy bar is good.
Read more about 10 magic benefits of music.
10. Choose a Healthier Alternative
Not eating junk food doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of flavor.
If you can find a healthier option, you will be just as happy as if you ate that piece of cake.
Try frozen grapes or nuts and dried fruit. Whatever will work for you is a good choice.