Imagine painstakingly putting money aside from your paycheck every month into a savings account. You’re conscious of your spending, keep a budget, and make smart choices when it comes to your money because you’re saving up for a dream vacation that you’ve been planning for. You’re also building a nest egg for your future and you enjoy seeing your savings grow every year.
Then one Friday morning you find out that your bank is involved in a Ponzi scheme. The Feds liquidate the bank’s assets taking everyone’s money with it including yours. All of a sudden your nest egg vanishes in a day, your savings statement reads ‘$0.00’, and now you have to start from zero again.
How would you feel if that happened to you?
Pissed? Frustrated? Defeated?
You probably go through a similar set of feelings when you go on a weekend binge of junk food after eating healthy all week. You feel angry and sad at the same time wondering why you didn’t stop yourself from finishing off that bag of potato chips or why you had to eat a whole jar of nut butter late at night.
And deep down you know this bingeing is the reason you haven’t been seeing results in the mirror despite being super consistent with your workouts.
You can’t help yourself around junk food! You just love eating it just not how it makes you feel afterwards and certainly not how it’s making you look either.
In this article, I’m going to cover 3 tips to help you cut back from bingeing on junk food. These 3 tips will help you take back control when dealing with junk food without feeling deprived so that you can have those flat abs you’ve been dreaming about, have more energy, feel incredible, and get those results you’ve been after!
Be Mindful During Snacking
You know how when you say no to a little kid you turn around and that little kid goes and does exactly what you told him not to do except you don’t find out about it till way later?
We’re the same way with food when we tell ourselves we cannot have any junk food. We swear that this is the week to eat 100% clean and healthy food the whole time.
When we make these promises and restrict ourselves we eventually rebel just like a kid. So then what happens when we say no to our favorite foods and cut out everything we enjoy eating?
Weekend binge fests, overeating on junk we know that’s terrible for us, and late night snacking before bed.
Sometimes our self-control around our favorite junk foods can be appalling!
Instead of saying ‘no’ to ourselves we can give ourselves permission to eat junk food but do it in a way that increases mindfulness during the time we are eating our favorite foods. Being mindful helps us to satisfy that craving while preventing the guilty binges and going overboard in indulgences.
There are several ways you can increase your mindfulness when you’re eating your favorite guilty pleasure foods,
(1) Take 15 to 20 minutes to eat it.
Don’t be like Sesame Street’s cookie monster and scarf it down in a hurry! Take your time eating it and pay attention to your stomach’s ‘fullness’ factor.
Allowing yourself at least 15 minutes to eat gives your body time to register the satiety signal along with other benefits. If you don’t have 15 minutes to eat your snack then skip it and save it up for a different time.
(2) Put it in separate container.
Instead of eating it straight out of the bag or box, put it in a small bowl and eat it in a different room. That way you won’t go overboard with finishing off the entire bag or box. A helpful hint is that the smaller the bowl the more it looks like you’re eating and it’ll trick your brain into thinking that you ate more so that you’re more satisfied.
(3) Eat without distraction.
When we are eating in front of the tv, computer, or our phones we aren’t being fully present to enjoy the food. What happens is that we end up grabbing more because we ‘missed’ the moment of eating it and we weren’t paying attention.
Eating without distractions allows us to pay attention to the flavor, the texture, and mouthfeel of the food contributing to being satisfied after a small portion versus bingeing.
Evaluate Your Food Situation In The Kitchen
Do you ever feel that your love for junk food is overwhelming and consuming? Like you just don’t know how to shake the addiction?
Food companies have designed their foods to be addictive and super palatably. They’re designed for you to eat lots of it so that you feel like you have no self-control and feel embarrassed that you cannot stop eating till you finish the entire bag.
But we can outsmart the food company and we can take back our self-control so we stop bingeing on junk food that makes us feel sluggish and tired. We can start to have more energy, feel incredible by eating healthier and not feel deprived by having the occasional treat without overeating.
This all starts by changing our kitchen.
Pick one tip below to change your kitchen environment that you can start today,
(1) Keep it out of sight.
If you have temptations laying around on your kitchen counter you will automatically eat it because it’s there. Hide your snacks and junk food behind closed doors and on top of cabinets where you don’t see it.
This frees you from even asking yourself whether you should eat it or not and stop the internal negotiating that happens when you want to snack on it but you know you shouldn’t. Don’t even give yourself the option to ask the question.
(2) Put the healthy alternatives on the counter.
This is how you automatically set your mind over eating healthier versus controlling yourself from eating junk.
When you alter your environment to support the behaviors you want it doesn’t feel like you’re using willpower. Your environment plays a bigger role than you think in influencing what you eat and how much you eat.
(3) Stop buying it.
This is the easiest way to nip the junk food habit in the bud. If it’s not in the house it doesn’t cross your mind, you’re not obsessing about it, and weekends are stress free because you don’t have to worry about your diet going to hell on the weekends.
(4) Substitute healthier alternatives for snacking.
Sometimes you can’t help but want a quick snack without feeling guilty and without resorting to unhealthy junk that’ll make you feel bloated and tired afterwards.
Below are healthy alternatives but before you run out to the grocery store and get them make sure that the junk food is out of your kitchen otherwise it’s too easy to go back to eating junk when you have healthy foods in the house,
Carrot sticks or any type of raw vegetable
Fat free yogurt of your choice
Look At Your Triggers
Do you find yourself reaching for junk food when you’re stressed or upset or bored?
Most of us have experienced emotional eating where we start shoveling food down our throats without paying any attention because we need a distraction. The hard part of emotional eating is that unless we address the root of the pain and discomfort it will keep recurring.
If you want to stop feeling controlled by food whenever you’re feeling a strong emotional distress like depression, sadness, or stress and anxiety then apply the following tips,
(1) Keep A Journal
Emotional eating starts with our minds and how we perceive experiences that our happening around us. Addressing those feelings and digging deep to ask why you’re feeling this way will help you to address and eliminate those feelings.
Ask yourself the following questions and log your responses in a journal or a notebook,
What am I feeling?
What time is it?
Who am I with?
Where am I?
What thoughts am I having?
(2) Reflect On Your Triggers
After writing in your journal for a week or even a month you will be able to identify the patterns and habits you have that causes you to get stressed and upset enough to reach for the junk food. Your triggers can be a certain feeling you have, a specific time of day, a social setting that makes you upset, a place that triggers memories or a thought pattern you keep repeating.
When you identify the trigger you’ll know how to prevent it so that you won’t go on a junk food binge.
Apply these 3 tips to finally be able to stop feeling guilty about junk food and stop feeling deprived. Not only will have the body with flatter abs, feel stronger, and be healthier but you will also stop obsessing about the junk food you cannot have.
When you stop feeling overpowered by the temptation of junk food you will feel more alive, feel incredible and have more energy to fuel your body throughout the day!