If you want to lose weight, learning how to simply cut out junk food is the first place to start. Almost everyone knows what junk food is. It’s those sugary snacks close to the checkout counter, the salty crisp chips piled high in a prominent place in the store and foods in the frozen food department, bakery and even in the soft drink area, although most people fail to identify soft drinks as food. They’re all empty calories that are specifically created to tickle our taste buds with just the right blend of sugar, salt and flavors that make us want more. Junk food may contain ingredients that actually make you hungrier and can cause weight gain.
Switch to whole foods and those less processed.
Whole foods are foods closest to their natural state, such as fresh vegetables and fruits. If you read the label and there’s more than just two or three ingredients, it’s probably highly processed. You can create your own treats like trail mix, by purchasing bulk items such as nuts and seed, with a bit of dried fruit for the sugar. Other treats can include raw veggies and healthy dip or sliced fresh fruits with a bit of nut butter on the slices. Have them ready for those times you need something sweet and quick.
Create a vision for the eye that won’t create an abundance of calories.
Visual appeal is part of marketing junk foods, but you can use that to your benefit. Did you know that most people like foods that have three colors and three visible ingredients? That trail mix is starting to look a lot better, but a plate with celery, carrots and red pepper slices with a dopple of white dip will do too. Who wouldn’t love cantaloupe, honey dew and watermelon kabobs ready to eat in the refrigerator. When you plan ahead, it helps you stick to your weight loss plans.
Breaking any habit takes at least three weeks.
You can control what you have in your home, so plan ahead and you’ll beat the junk food habit. Create healthy snack menus and make them up ahead of time. Make a grocery list, so you won’t have to “shop,” which can lead to craving and impulse buying. Give yourself at least a month and then identify whether you still have cravings for sweet, salty, fried or other empty calorie foods.
- Know your weaknesses. Is there a time of day you crave certain foods or emotional triggers? Do you crave some foods more than others?
- When you find you have a craving for your favorite junk food, get busy. Even if you have to take a walk or run up and down the stairs, keep your body moving. Grab a healthy snack if it’s real hunger.
- Give up your daily soft drink, even if it’s a diet soft drink. One study showed that diet soda puts extra inches on the waistline. That’s visceral fat, the most dangerous type to your health.
- If you break down and sneak a snack, chew it slowly. Masticate it until there’s no evidence left that it was once whole and don’t take another bite until you swallow it. Eating slower will let you really taste the snack and not just gobble it for the memory of how it tastes. You’ll eat less, the slower you eat.