How to Beat your Junk Food Cravings?

Dr. Gulneer Puri    01-03-2017 Consult

1. Understand the definition of  JUNK FOOD

Junk food = foods that have little to zero nutritional value, are high in calories, usually highly processed, ready to eat with little preparation, and are normally high in fat, sugar, and/or salt. It's also known for "empty calories" - which means you are getting no nourishment (i.e. - vitamins, minerals, fiber, healthy fats, water, etc.).

2. Understand how JUNK FOOD works in the body

According to David A. Kessler, author and Harvard-trained doctor, lawyer, and former medical school dean, "'Highly palatable' foods - those containing fat, sugar and salt - stimulate the brain to release dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with the pleasure center, he found. In time, the brain gets wired so that dopamine pathways light up at the mere suggestion of the food, such as driving past a fast-food restaurant. Once the food is eaten, the brain releases opioids, which bring emotional relief. Together, dopamine and opioids create a pathway that can activate every time a person is reminded about the particular food. This happens regardless of whether the person is hungry."

3. Drink Water

Thirst is often confused with hunger or food cravings. If you feel a sudden urge for a specific food, try drinking a large glass of water and wait a few minutes. You may find that the craving fades away, because your body was actually just thirsty. Furthermore, drinking plenty of water may have many health benefits. In middle-aged and older people, drinking water before meals can reduce appetite and help with weight loss.

4. Plan Your Meals

If possible, try to plan your meals for the day or upcoming week. By already knowing what you're going to eat, you eliminate the factor of spontaneity and uncertainty. If you don't have to think about what to eat at the following meal, you will be less tempted and less likely to experience cravings.
Bottom Line: Planning your meals for the day or upcoming week eliminates spontaneity and uncertainty, both of which can cause cravings. Try not to skip meals.

Stress may induce food cravings and influence eating behaviors, especially for women. Women under stress have been shown to eat significantly more calories and experience more cravings than non-stressed women. Furthermore, stress raises your blood levels of cortisol, a hormone that can make you gain weight, especially in the belly area. Try to minimize stress in your environment by planning ahead, meditating and generally slowing down.
Bottom Line: Being under stress may induce cravings, eating and weight gain, especially in women.

6.  Know your trigger foods

Whether you've got a sweet tooth for chocolate and red velvet anything or love salty treats like samosa, know the foods that send you down the spiral of junk food binging. You've already accomplished half of the battle by identifying them. Keep them out of the house.

7. Brush Your Teeth

You might question this one, but it should make sense. If you've ever brushed your teeth in the evening and then had a snack, you know it tastes different and less appealing. So when you're wanting that soda or ice cream, commit a few minutes to brushing, flossing and using mouthwash. That taste you have in your mouth can help you curb the unhealthy craving for at least a little while.

8. Remind Yourself of the Goal

At the end of the day, you have to decide whether you want the short-term satisfaction that comes with the taste of the food or the long-term success that would come by remaining focused and committed. Whether you have quotes on your phone, notes on the fridge, or anything else that reminds you of why you made the decision to follow your plan, keep it where you can see it often so it will motivate you to drink water instead of juice and eat salads instead of sandwiches.

9.Eat a Protein Rich Breakfast

Start your day on the right foot and keep those junk food cravings at bay by loading your breakfast with protein. Not only will doing so keep you full for longer than a carb-heavy meal, it can also help slim you down. Research published in the International Journal of Obesity reveals that individuals who ate eggs for breakfast lost 65 percent more weight and reduced their waist measurement by 34 percent more than those who ate bagels instead.

10. Go on a sugar cleanse

For some of us, sugar may just be another ingredient in food, but for others, it's wildly addictive. Sugar's addictiveness has often been compared to illicit drugs because of the effect it has on the human brain, prompting us to crave it and be determined to get a fix. Kicking sugar out of your diet, even for just a short period of time, can help reset your brain and kick your sugar cravings to the curb, setting you on a path toward a healthier life in no time.