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7 Ways to Stop Junk Food Cravings

7 Ways to Stop Junk Food Cravings
7-ways-to-stop-junk-food-cravingsControlling your food cravings is essential to staying thin, and it's even more important to control your cravings for junk food or processed food. You can change your appetites over time, but it can take hard work, especially if your cravings for junk food are well established habits. Thankfully there are several strategies to control and change your food cravings. A big part of changing your cravings is to limit your access to junk foods, which we will discuss in this article, but there are also foods that you can eat that can reduce your cravings and other ways to avoid the temptation of junk food. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will help, and a diet like the HCG diet can be very effective at eliminating your cravings. Many of our patients report that they their appetites completely change after the diet is finished, so that may be an option very well worth your consideration.

Method #1 to Stop Junk Food Cravings - Drink More Water

Drinking more water can definitely help you with junk food cravings. A lot of food cravings is actually dehydration, and if you aren't actively making an effort to stay hydrated during the day you are likely to be eating excess calories to compensate. Drinking water before, during, and after meals will help you feel more full without having to actually eat more, and you are less likely to crave junk food between meals if you drink water throughout the day. The trick to avoiding cravings is to try to stay full with a combination of healthy food and water, and drinking more water is the easiest way to reduce your cravings very quickly. If you haven't already, start drinking 7 to 8 glasses of water per day and notice if your food cravings start to diminish.

Method #2 to Stop Junk Food Cravings - Eat More Apples (and other high fiber fruit)

High fiber fruit like apples are a great snack and can help you avoid junk food cravings in many ways. The high fiber content in apples helps to balance your blood sugar and stay full. Apples have a large amount of soluble fiber and won't spike your blood sugar and leave you feeling starving a few minutes later like junk food can. The fiber in apples also helps to prevent fat gain and the nutrients will keep you feeling energized between meals. The pectin in apples can keep you feeling full for up to 2 hours, and if you eat an apple before a meal you are less likely to overeat during the meal. Other great options for high fiber fruits include strawberries, grapefruits and oranges, all of which are approved for the HCG diet.

Method #3 to Stop Junk Food Cravings - Go to bed on time

Going to bed on time can help you avoid late night snacking, and although it can be difficult to change your sleeping habits, the effort is well worth it. Any junk food that you eat in the evening is converted to fat at a higher rate than during other times of the day, because your metabolism slows down and you aren't expending as much energy. Nighttime snacking is a weakness for many people, and the best way to overcome that is to reset your sleep cycle and make sure that you are getting to bed when you need to be. You should also make sure that you are getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, because staying awake too long triggers a hormone that can trigger you to eat more.

Method #4 to Stop Junk Food Cravings - Stay away from it as much as possible

Much of junk food craving is psychological and not physical, meaning that your cravings are triggered by certain feelings, situations, or simply by being in close proximity to the food. You can eliminate many of the root causes for junk food addiction simply by keeping junk foods out of your home. You should do your best to stay away from junk food whenever possible, and even if you can't avoid it at work or at a friend's house, you can keep it out of your home. At the very least you should only keep healthy foods in your home; this way you'll only snack on a healthy food, and if you aren't that fond of healthy foods you will only snack when you're actually hungry. You might slip up at a restaurant or a friend's house, but your mistakes will be limited.

Method #5 - Don't skip breakfast (or other meals)

You need to eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner at minimum during the day to avoid gorging, or overeating and to avoid snacking. If you find that you avoid one of the major meals of the day and then you are compelled to snack on junk, you can easily fix that by simply eating the meal that you're missing. There's no excuse to miss breakfast or lunch because there are hundreds of quick healthy foods that you can make. You don't need to spend time cooking at all, a healthy smoothie (without added sugar), yogurt, nuts, avocado, fruit, hardboiled eggs, deli meat, fruit, vegetables, hummus, and many other foods take no time to prepare at all. Stock your fridge full of ready to eat foods and be sure that you eat a high quality breakfast and lunch and you'll be much less likely to want to snack.

Method #6 - Make sure you are eating enough protein and fat

Eating mainly carbs during your meals is a huge mistake; you need to balance your meals with healthy fats and protein. The healthy fat in foods like nuts and avocado will stabilize your blood sugar and release ghrelin which helps you feel full. Most people also don't eat enough protein, which we have talked about previously on this blog, and you need to be eating a minimum of about 0.5 grams per pound of body weight, even if you are relatively sedentary. Not eating enough protein and healthy fat can cause you to feel lethargic, even if you are eating enough calories and eating 3-5 meals per day. Really think about the fat and protein composition of your meals, and add whey protein, organic Greek yogurt, nuts, and other sources of healthy fat and protein to your diet as much as possible.

Method #7 - Drink more coffee or caffeinated tea

Caffeine is a proven appetite suppressant, and if you drink more of it you are less likely to have random cravings for junk food or other foods. You don't want to become heavily reliant on caffeine to keep your appetite down, especially if you are sensitive to it, because it can release hormones like cortisol and cause a stress response when you consume it too often. But, if you haven't been drinking tea or coffee at all and struggle with eating junk food, it might end being really beneficial for you and help curb the cravings. Caffeine gives you a burst of energy as well that can get you to your next meal in the same way that junk food does, but without the calories and harmful health effects. Of course it's essential to avoid adding any sugar or cream to your coffee or tea, but low fat milk is perfectly fine as long as you avoid any sweeteners outside of Stevia.

About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

6 min read