Do you feel it takes longer to reach your goals because you just can’t control what you eat? Do not freak out! We’ve been in the same shoes, and we know it’s not easy. Everyone loves burgers and pizzas, so today, we will bring a realistic approach, with 4 tips to stop eating junk food.
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Why do we love junk food?
If you don’t know why you just can’t avoid unhealthy food, don’t punish yourself: there is a scientific explanation behind it. In general, junk food is full of salt, sugar, and fat, and these ingredients trigger pleasure centres in your brain. That’s why you just can’t stop eating it – because it actually makes you feel good, albeit temporarily.
Precisely for this reason, it is expected that many people tend to overindulge in junk food when they are anxious, sad, or stressed. Couple this feeling of pleasure (and reward) with the fact that today, we can access anything with a click on our phones, and that’s why we tend to love junk food – it tastes fantastic, and you can have it anywhere, anytime.
Why should I stop eating junk food?
The reason you should stop eating junk food is straightforward: they are incredibly caloric, low in nutrition and give you little satiety. Have you ever noticed that when you eat junk food for lunch, you are hungry again after a while?
Although you get a feeling of pleasure and fullness right after you finish eating, it doesn’t take long for your body to understand that you’ve eaten a nutrient-poor meal. So, while your brain revels in junk food stimuli, your body readily understands that the unhealthy food didn’t satisfy its nutritional needs.
4 tips to stop eating junk food
If you already understand the problems related to the consumption of junk food but are still not convinced, here are the 4 tips to stop eating junk food right now:
1. Check how much you spend ordering food
Although I am passionate about nutrition and health, one of the most significant incentives to stop eating junk food was how much I was spending on it. I’m currently living in Europe with my wife, and since I left my last job to start a digital business, we’ve decided to cut unnecessary expenses. I did some checking and found that we were spending on average more than €500 a month on junk food. I was so shocked that I uninstalled all food delivery apps almost instantly. I have no problem spending money on things that make me feel good, but that is just too much.
Just think that, at the end of a year, I would have spent over €6000 and, inevitably, I would be overweight and in terrible health. Do your checking and take that as an incentive to stop eating unhealthy food.
2. Plan and prepare your meals
Pay close attention to this tip, which made me drastically reduce my junk food consumption. In my case, I didn’t use to eat unhealthy food because I woke up thinking about pizza. It used to happen when I didn’t have anything ready to eat in the fridge.
Keep in mind that you will do anything to satisfy your hunger when you feel empty – it’s human nature. This means that instead of cooking and having to do the washing up afterwards, you’re bound to take the easy way out, which is to order food. It’s fastest, effortless and tastes good.
You have to plan your meals. This doesn’t mean controlling every calorie you eat but always leaving something ready in the fridge. Over time, this will make you better manage your impulses, in addition to valuing a complete and healthy meal.
3. Cook in large quantities
That’s another golden tip. Many times, we are left with an empty fridge due to laziness in cooking. Sometimes we’re not having a good day, or we just don’t want to spend 1 hour in the kitchen – and that’s ok!
My way to avoid these situations was to cook in large quantities. My wife sometimes hates me because we end up eating rice more often than we would like to. Anyway, the simple fact of always having food in the fridge helped me control my impulses. Even if you want to order junk food, you will remember this article and think: why should I spend money to intoxicate my body if I have a nutritious meal in the fridge?
4. Pleasure Is temporary, but the calories will stay in your body
If you’re a numbers guy like me, sit down because here’s the real problem with junk food. According to the USDA Dietary Guideline, the average daily intake for men can range from 2000 to 3800 kcal per day, while for women, the average would be 1800-2400 kcal per day. These numbers change according to various factors and must not be applied to you, but stick to the example.
Now consider that the meal deal you order at your favourite fast-food restaurant can easily reach 1500 kcal. This poor meal will not satisfy you and, considering that you may have more than 2 or 3 meals throughout the day, you will be putting your body into a caloric surplus. Besides that, keep in mind that a 30-minute high-intensity run burns 250 kcal (this number varies depending on your body). This means that to burn those extra calories that you consumed in a single poor meal, you would have to exercise a lot.
Now, if you apply this kind of example for a week or a month of an unhealthy diet, you can see how difficult it will be to maintain your weight and good health by consuming junk food regularly. It’s just not worth it!
Final thoughts on how to stop eating junk food
While these 4 Tips to Stop Eating Junk Food have worked for me, there are several other facts you should be considered to control your urges – and most of them are related to your health. In the end, what you should keep in mind to stop this bad habit is: it’s just not worth it. As with most addictions, you are spending money to harm your body. Also, you will have to make a great effort to burn those extra calories.
You need to understand that overeating junk food will undermine your health in the long run. Several serious diseases (that can lead to death) are associated with excessive sugar, salt, and fat consumption, so it’s about damage control. Allow yourself to make mistakes, and don’t punish yourself when you eat junk food. Remember that you are a human, and sometimes it will happen. Anyway, avoid as much as possible and try to eat unhealthy foods when there really is no other option!
Finally, as always, we recommend a nutritionist to help you with your diet. Never make decisions that could affect your health without the opinion of an expert.
Founder and Editor of TheLifesty. Passionate about Health & Fitness and enthusiast about changes. Interested in everything that improves the quality of life.