7 Ways to Help You Stop Eating Junk Food
As a personal trainer, one of the things I have to constantly battle is the lure of junk food. Let’s just be honest: all of us like junk food, and us trainers are no exception. There’s a time and a place to enjoy a good bowl of ice cream, but too many trips to the candy store can derail all that hard work you’ve been putting in the gym. In fact, junk food can be so destructive that it can actually make your fitness worse even when you still workout. Truly those who think “you can eat whatever you want as long as your workout” haven’t put this into everyday practice.
But fear not: here at Upper Echelon we understand that the art has to meet the science. Science tells us that junk food is bad news for our bodies, but the “art” side of things causes a personal trainer to learn how to work with people’s cravings. After all, habits outweigh desires, and it could just be customary for you to grab that doughnut at your morning meeting because, well, you’re use to doing it. But that doesn’t mean you can just go at things cold turkey.
So let’s look at some simple things you can do to help deal with those cravings.
- Figure Out Your Deficiencies – Usually cravings stem from a lack of nutrition. If you’re missing out on key vitamins and minerals, your body starts desiring food in order for you to get those missing nutrients. The issue is that sugar isn’t the quickest source of nutrition, so you’re more likely to reach for a candy bar than a piece of celery. In order to curb these deficiencies you should take in 1-2 servings of vegetables per meal, and consume fruits after you workout.
- Find a variation – You love pizza. Who doesn’t? It’s a great cheat food but the only progress you’ll see from eating it every day is your waistline ballooning up. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t alternatives. Try a using a whole wheat tortilla to make a thin crust pizza; some onions, ground sirloin, peppers, low fat cheese, and BBQ sauce and you have your own BBQ pizza. You can also use brown rice pasta instead of regular pasta.
- Don’t eat when bored- Ever have a crazy day that involves a lot of running around? Did you stop what you were doing and eat a bag of carrots? Of course not. But it can be easy to rip through a bag of chips while you binge watch your favorite show. Eat something before you have downtime, and avoid eating dinner in front of the television.
- Out of sight, out of mind – While I’ve never been one to visit my client’s homes and raid their house for any junk food, sometimes it simply helps to just get rid of the food. If you wake up in the middle of the night to the pantry calling your name out, it might be time to force the junk food to pack its things and move out.
- Shrink the change – In the popular read Switch, authors Chip and Dan Heath state one of the ways to initiate change is to simply “shrink it.” So rather than buying a 12 pack of soda, grab yourself one 12 ounce bottle. Maybe put your desert on a smaller plate. Going cold turkey with change can be tough, but slowly making the change less daunting leads to more long-term transformation.
- Write it down- Next time you want some bad food, write it down first. Put it on the fridge. Think this over for twenty minutes: do you really want that doughnut? Would you still feel good thirty minutes after eating that fast food? Taking a minute to slow things down puts things into perspective for you. Author Leo Babauta suggest this same thing when for people who like to buy on impulse.
- Safe sweets. Having a sweet tooth isn’t the end of the world. It also doesn’t give you license to raid the candy aisle at the grocery store. But you can have some safe sweets here and there. A serving of sugar free pudding a couple times a week isn’t going to wreck your progress, and the benefits of a few chunks (and a few means 2-3 tiny pieces) of dark chocolate are numerous. You can also dress up your foods with honey, cinnamon, and heavy whipping cream to add some exotic taste. After all, good food should be tasty food.
Still think junk food has control over you? Think again – arm yourself with these seven habits and watch your body change!