We all have our dark secrets and bad habits when it comes to junk food – food that we know to be bad for us, but we eat it anyway. Often we think that there’s nothing bad about nibbeling or indulging in sweets. One time fast food during the week can’t be that bad for you – we are only human. Hard working people deserve to give in cravings from time to time. Unfortunately it doesn’t matter if we eat junk food all day long or only sometimes, the issue stays the same.
Junk Food is made to create an addiction. The ingredients are absorbed a lot quicker by our bodies than what naturally happens with fruits or vegetables. That’s the reason why out blood sugar level increases rapdily and we get “high”. Due to this good feeling we want more of it and especially because the blood sugar level decreases rapidly after a while and we get quite low.
In the same way junk food stimulates our reward centre a lot more than what normal food does. We get a way higher dopamin kick out of this than what we could ever get from a natural diet. (Dopamin a neurotransmitter, which is also reffered to as the happiness hormone). The result: Eating without boundaries, adaption, desire for bigger amounts, the blues shortly after consumption, immediate desire for the next kick or the next meal. In other words: the same symptoms like with every addiction (!).
This fact by itself should already disturb us, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. Junk food has a lot more calories compared to a balanced diet, contains mainly unhealthy, saturated fats and doesn’t supply our body with sodium at all.
While an average person has an intake of 400-600 calories per meal, we can easily consume 1000 calories or more when eating in one of the popular fast food chains – in fact you already consume this ammount with the smallest available portion consisting of a burger and drink.
In addition, junk food contains unhealthy fats in the form of saturated fatty acids, that massively increases the cholesterol levels. This encourages cardiovascular diseases and many more. The same goes for a too-much of sodium. Although sodium is important, however, already one burger contains twice the amount of the recommended daily dose. And especially prepared meals with their increased sodium levels make normal food seem extremely tasteless.
According to the studies of Penn State University junk food does not only lead to a bad mood, but also to long-term depression. This makes perfect sense if we recall the reward and addiction mechanisms of our brain.
These few, but quite alarming points should serve as enough reasons to quit junk food once and for all.
How do you end an addiction? The following tipps will help you to start off:
Go cold turkey!
How many times have we decided to smoke less, drink less frequently or to eat healthier? And how many times did that work out for you? Forget it, it will never work! So through out all the old, unhealthy stuff and head down to the next organic shop close by to stock up with balanced, nutritious groceries and – with snacks – yes! Let it be understood, with good snacks. Sooner or later you will have a phase of weakness, usually in the evening watching TV. Good thing that you are prepared for this case and your cabinets full of fruits, vegetables or nuts and no chrisp and coke is availaible. You’re in the mood for a sweet drink? How about a wonderful sweet but zero calories rooibos tea for the evening?
Get some support!
Look around – you will quickly find that you are not alone with your junk food problem. Watch out for a friend with the same problem and get togehter to support each other! You can chat about health food or get to know new – maybe even vegetarian – restaurants. Your desire to get away from unhealthy food should not result in you isolating yourself at home. Together with a friend you can actually help each other to fight temptations and have a lot of fun along the way!
Sports and exercise always is a great idea! It will stop your thoughts revolving around food and snacks and moreover sharpen your sense for your own body and nutrition. As a great side effect the first noticeable results oblige you to handle your own body more carefully as you don’t want to just have done all the hard work for nothing.
Hang on and be proud of yourself!
In the Book „Skinny Bitch“ the authors Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouim place great confidence in keeping up your own rules for thirty days. That seems a lot at first but after only one week you will develop an ambition to finish the rest after having gone through the hardest phase. Your ambition will even grow stonger after you have finished the thirty days. You would now be allowed again to give in your former temptations but instead you will naturally ask yourself: why should I? Instead of filling yourself up with crap and throwing away all the achievements of the last month, you will proudly go your way! Now, you can be a lot more flexible and free in the way you do it, however, the four strict weeks are really important for this new body conscious feeling and any given time frame that’s less than that wouldn’t effect this at all.