For anyone that has enrolled in a custom weight loss plan like the HCG diet, falling off the wagon and binge eating junk food is an emotionally devastating moment. It may taste amazing in the moment, but the pleasure is short-lived. Guilt and frustration are the all too common emotional responses to your moments of weakness. You may be able to find a little comfort in knowing that junk food is both processed and marketing in a way that makes it hyper-appealing and addictive. Your brain has a hard time denying itself the pleasure of a treat, much like a drug addict tries to stop using. If you’ve done it once, you’ve probably promised yourself to never do it again. In order for you to keep that promise and get back on track with your diet, pay attention to these suggestions.
It is easy to fall into a snacking habit when you find yourself away from home and without a plan. You are less likely to grab a soft drink or candy bar from the vending machine at work when you pack yourself a bag of healthy snacks. Planning your meals and your snacks in advance gives time to prepare for the unexpected, like having to stay late or pick up sick kids from the babysitter. You can reduce the influence of food around you by proactively bringing your own. Grocery shop on the weekends for the things you will need for the week, then do all the prep work in advance. You can use mason jars, storage containers, or foil to pack singe serving that is convenient to grab on your way out the door. Keeping loose fruits like apples, oranges, or bananas on hand can also be a quick snack when you are driving down the road.
Browse the Outside Aisles
The age-old caution is to never grocery shop when hungry. You have probably done this on more than one occasion and ended with a dozen items you had no original intention of buying. Foods are so much more appealing when we are hungry because our stomach and brain work in tandem to create desire and appetite. Meandering through the grocery store will bring you into contact with a lot of packaged and processed foods that should absolutely be avoided. Your mouth will water and you will be tempted to pick up those snack cakes, chips, or sugary drinks. If you don’t keep these foods in the house, it is a lot harder to have a junk food relapse. Shopping along the perimeter of the grocery stores brings you in contact with produce, meats, and dairy. Keep your shopping selections to items in these areas, if at all possible. Transitioning your diet to whole foods will slowly reduce your desire for junk food, but it will also start to have a positive impact on your health. You may have to fight off your cravings for a few weeks, but once your mind and mouth have made the transition, you won’t remember what you are missing.
Fight Hunger With Healthy Fat
Some people think that the best way to defeat a craving is to starve it out. This isn’t the case. The hungrier you get, the more tempted you are to sneak a bite of something just to take the edge off. You can fight off hunger by carefully including healthy fats into your diet. While you may be trying to lose weight and shed fat, not all fat is created equal. Your meals and snacks should avoid trans fats and limit the consumption of saturated fats, but your body needs some healthy fat. These are known as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, and they are found in foods like avocados or nuts. You can use olive oil to make a more natural salad dressing or you could guacamole to as a spread for your whole grain piece of toast. Salmon is a healthy fatty fish option for mealtime.
Minimize Your Stress
Many people end up eating according to their emotions or as a reaction to stress in their lives. If you can control some of the external factors that influence your eating response, you have a better chance of avoiding junk food binges. Exercise is a stress management technique that doubles as a weight-loss strategy. Taking a brisk walk every night after work can help alleviate the stress from the day and curb the influence that will have you munching in junk food as you watch your favorite sitcom.
It takes time to undo a bad habit, but recognizing your areas of weakness is an important first step. Do your best to remove tempting items from your reach, but make healthy substitutions to avoid feeling like you have nothing left.
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