5 Top Tips For Beating Your Junk Food Habit
Do you want to kick your junk food habit?
A study in the International Journal of Obesity found that sugary, fatty foods create similar reactions, the highs and then inevitable crash to drugs.
Similar to drug addicts, researchers found bingers and emotional eaters seek to recreate this destructive food euphoria to beat depression. Of course what ineveitable happens is that they get stuck on a merry-go-round that they just can’t seem to get off.
During tests, researchers fed mice different kinds of food and monitored how those foods affected behavior.
They also determined the relationship between rewarding mice with food and the behavior and emotions these foods evoked. Later, researchers looked at the mice’s brains to see how they changed.
The gorging mice’s brains showed increased anxiety, stress, and depression.
In other words, these eating binges physically changed their brain structure.
Other studies show the same thing. One in the journal Nature Neuroscience found lab rats gravitated to high-fat foods and became dependent on getting their “fat fix” much like drug users need their daily fix.
Dopamine played a key role in getting those fixes and as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Dopamine plays a powerful role in overeating because it controls the pleasure part of our brain.
However, it is the anticipation (or the thought) of eating fatty, sugary foods, rather than eating the food itself, that releases this powerful hormone.
Dopamine is what fuels your drive to eat a whole packet of biscuits when it feels like nothing else will satisfy you, and when deep down know you don’t need or even want it.
Next time you notice a powerful craving for something sweet, stop and ask yourself whether the anticipation of eating something is more rewarding than actually eating it.
If you can see your own behaviour in the picture below then please get help – you do not have to live this way…believe me.
Here are 5 tips to help you kick your junk food habit:
- Look for a better but equally satisfying alternative: Telling yourself you can’t have something only makes you want it more. Instead of depriving yourself completely, set aside just one day a week where you ‘allow’ yourself to eat whatever you want – but stop at just one day a week. On other days, instead of biscuits, for instance, have apple slices dipped in a spoonfull of natural honey. You’ll get a satisfying crunch and sweetness without the sugar.
- Reward yourself with something other than food: Isn’t it funny how we can always find a reason to celebrate with food? Instead, give yourself a non-food reward, such as a nail polish or a book.
- Distract yourself: It doesn’t take long for a craving to pass, so distract yourself. Instead of succumbing to the biscuits, get lost in a good book, take a bubble bath or phone a friend.
- Keep the culprits out of your house: If you know you don’t have your ‘trigger’ foods in the house then you are less likely to crave them. Even if you’ve been good all day, all bets are off when you’re tired or fed up and suddenly remember the packet of biscuits in the cupboard. Don’t keep them into your house and they’ll become much less important.
- Get enough sleep. A study in The Journal of Neuroscience found that your brain compensates for lack of sleep by increasing dopamine. Too little sleep also knocks your fat-burning hormones out of whack. Couple that with sleep-deprived lack of judgment or feeling tired and grumpyand you’ve got a surefire strategy to overeat. Aim for seven to eight hours of high-quality sleep every night to trigger fat burning, balance dopamine levels, and reduce your urge to overeat.