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How to Deal With Junk Food Cravings

How to Deal With Junk Food Cravings

Deal With Junk Food Cravings!

Junk food cravings or cravings for unhealthy foods like starches and grains are your worst enemy whether you are dieting or not. Your cravings will drive you to eat or avoid certain foods, and the more effort you take to control them the better. A major part of healthy eating isn't just to avoid foods, but it is important to also change your appetites and food cravings as much as possible. Many people who complete the HCG diet find that their food cravings change entirely and that they no longer want to eat grains and starches as much as they used to, and sometimes not at all.

A restrictive diet can reset your cravings to a more natural state

This is because the diet resets your metabolism and appetite to a more natural state, but even when you can't diet or during the periods where you aren't dieting you can take several steps to avoid binge eating and unhealthy cravings. When you go on a diet that restricts your food intake to only natural foods, like the HCG diet, you will find that your body responds better to those foods instead of processed and junk foods, and that you may end up actually wanting to eat healthy foods as you go through the diet. People who have not had their appetites affected by an unhealthy diet will find it easier to go through a restrictive diet like the HCG diet, while it may be slightly more challenging for others. Either way, the end result is similar, you will experience fewer junk food cravings once the diet is completed because your appetites and brain's chemistry will literally change. Get more information on the HCG diet here.

Much of it is psychological

As with many things in life you can never leave out psychological factors that can be influences in junk food cravings. First, if there is a reason for any type of "€œemotional eating"€ or eating as a method of coping with some form of stress or negative emotion in your life, you need to be aware of this and confront the issue as much as you can through healthy alternative methods. Many people turn to chocolates, desserts, sweets, and other high carbohydrate foods because of the feel good effect that these foods have on the brain. Emotional eating can result from many different causes including anger, sadness, loneliness, and other emotions. Boredom can lead to emotional eating, so try to stay active and busy.

Avoid stressful circumstances and sleep deprivation

Stressful situations can cause people to resort to unhealthy eating as a coping mechanism, and they should be avoided as much as possible. Situations like relationship problems, fatigue from a lack of sleep, work stress and other forms of stress are known to trigger overeating. For instance, many studies have found that people who stay up longer than they should or who are chronically sleep deprived will resort to eating more calories than they should to compensate for the lack of sleep. These people end up being less healthy than those who get an adequate amount of sleep each night, so avoiding stressful circumstances and sleep deprivation is a huge part of controlling cravings for bad foods.

Don't have junk foods  in your house

Unless you want to eat junk food or processed food you shouldn't have any of it in your house at all. If you don't buy it there is simply no chance that you'll slip up. This may be difficult if other people in your house aren't on the same page and have their favorite junk foods, but if they do you should try to replace their junk foods with as many healthy foods as possible. Limit or entirely eliminate junk foods from your fridge and pantry and you will have no choice but to snack on healthy options, and that is one of the easiest ways of dealing with junk food cravings without having to really make any major changes.

Satisfy your cravings with healthy options

No matter what, even if you are avoiding stress as much as you can and don't have any junk foods in site, you may still crave a dessert every now and then. Satisfy your cravings with healthy options. There are plenty of recipes available for fruit desserts and smoothies that make great healthy dessert alternatives. The same goes for entrees; maybe you can't have a pizza if you're trying to eat healthy but there are several recipes that use foods like spaghetti squash and other foods as a pasta replacement while still letting you use tomatoes and cheese in the recipe. So, learn about some of the recipes that substitute healthy foods like almond flour and olive oil in for unhealthy fats and regular flour and stick to those recipes as healthy alternatives.

Grocery shop when you aren't hungry

Grocery shopping can be a much more dangerous endeavor than what most realize. If you are hungry before you go shopping you are more likely to pick up unhealthy foods that sound good at the time but would otherwise be avoided. To ensure that you don't pick anything up that you didn't intend on, try to never shop on an empty stomach. Write out your specific list of healthy foods that you want to purchase and stick to that list, or bring someone with you to remind you to avoid the unhealthy stuff.

You don't need dessert every day

If you have a ritual of eating dessert every day you can always change your rituals. There is nothing wrong with skipping dessert a few days a week or more, especially on days that you aren't particularly craving anything sweet after dinner. Again, fruit is always a better alternative than pretty much every dessert, and it's always a good idea to have several fruit dessert options available, but not having dessert at all is also a good idea every now and then. Also, after dinner try eating something as simple as a piece of fruit like an orange or apple and notice if your craving for dessert goes away. You may be able to satisfy your sweet tooth with a healthy option that doesn't even require any preparation at all.

Drink water as much as you can

In some cases your cravings for junk food have a lot to do with being dehydrated. Food cravings can be mistaken by the brain for water cravings, so you should always try to satisfy your cravings with a glass of water. By making a focused effort to stay hydrated you may find that your food cravings will start to change or become less severe. Also, don't drink any beverages with artificial sweeteners to stay hydrated, sweeteners can have a major effect on your cravings, insulin levels, and more. Stick to natural sweeteners like Stevia or very small amounts of organic honey or maple syrup if you absolutely must have something similar to sugar.

About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

5 min read