Tuesday, October 16, 2012

6 Tricks to Kick the Habit of Eating Junk Food

Given our nation's exploding obesity and diabetes rates, means you very well could be a junk food junkie. The good news is that with a few tricks and a little hard work, you can keep those sugar monkeys off your backs under control. Why we're hooked on Junk Food It's safe to say that junk food addiction is a very real thing. Look at the ever-mounting scientific evidence, including a recent study out of Sweden showing that the hormone ghrelin, which activates the brain's reward system and increases appetite, reacts similarly to sugar and alcohol. We also have 24-hour access to decadent foods. In the book The End of Overeating, Dr. David Kessler theorizes that manufacturers have, over the years, engineered the balance of fat, sugar, and salt in junk food to the point of making it irresistible. It's referred to as "conditioned hypereating." How to control the addiction A well-trained body goes a long way towards helping a slightly off-kilter mind. For example, forcing down a slice of Sara Lee® heaven, would physically make me sick. After years of clean eating, my digestive system has lost its ability to handle the toxic effects of a sugar spike like that, not to mention the preservatives and additives. Due to my disciplined nature I can limit myself to one or two bites. If you're going to break a sugar habit, it's going to take time, patience, and willpower. Here's where to start. 1) Clean all the junk food out of your home. If it's not in your home during those times of craving, it's most likely you're going to leave the house to go get it.
2) There's also "unconscious eating" to worry about—when you grab a bag of fried carbs while you're sitting in front of the TV and eat the whole bag for no reason. If you don't have access to the junk, the only bag you'll be able to grab for will be filled with baby carrots. If someone brings some junk over for a dinner party, enjoy it with them and dump the rest when they leave. 3)
Use the 80/20 Rule, make 80% clean choices, relax with that other 20%. Just because your kitchen cupboard no longer looks like a movie theater concession stand doesn't mean you can't live it up sometimes. If most of your diet is super tight, you're doing great, so cut yourself some slack. Allow yourself one cheat day. Knowing you have a cheat day to look forward to makes all the celery on the other days much more palatable. Make a comforting ritual out of eating healthy. Unhealthy eating is often ritualistic—something comfortable and constant that you can depend on. You can learn to have a conscious, controlled, weekly moment of indulgence—but also you can learn to replace unhealthy rituals with healthy ones. For example, instead of having a couple beers at night while watching TV, you can replaced it with a cup of herbal tea. It takes 21-days-to-form-a-habitso eventually a behavior pattern will be set. After a few weeks you will not miss beers. Then, after a few more weeks you will start craving the calming, peaceful feeling for your cup of tea. It has now become your nightly ritual. 4)
Carry healthy foods with you at all times. If you carry a purse or a backpack, throw an apple or some raw nuts in there. In this Fast Food Nation, it's pretty easy to find yourself in situations where you're hungry and just have no choice but to buy a donut because that's the only thing you have access to.
You don't have that excuse if there's a snack in your pack. Here are a few to consider: Fresh fruit (Apples and oranges travel well!) Dried fruit (It all travels well!) Raw nuts Whole-grain crackers A Shakeology® packet www.MyShakeology.com/JohnHallStudios 5)
Discover new, yummy fruits and veggies. There's a lot of weird, healthy food out there. Sometimes, we avoid fresh produce because either we're either bored of the same old oranges or there's a stigma associated with particular produce. Buy fruits and veggies you don't recognize. If you don't know how to prepare it, do an internet search for "(produce name) + recipe." You might stumble on a new flavor that completely blows your mind. 6) Binge on healthy foods. Every once in the while, something emotional might trigger you, and you want to eat junk, hit the fridge and "pre-binge" on healthy foods, mainly raw veggies. Sooner or later, the ice cream or chips come out, but by that point, you're so full of broccoli or spinach that you're not physically capable of doing too much damage. Dysfunctional? Maybe, but a vast improvement over the alternative.
Eating right gets much easier, but it's still a process. That said, the rewards are innumerable, so why don't you set down the pudding pop, grab a peach, start the journey to a healthy lifestyle.

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