How to Stop Eating Junk Food?

Written by: Ankita Kathad – MA (Psychology)

Last updated date : October 31, 2022

You are walking on the road and you notice a very famous food joint by the road. You catch yourself drooling over pizzas and burgers in the display window. Your mind battles whether to eat it or skip it. The decision gets tougher and more challenging as the aroma slowly reaches closer to your nose. At this point, it becomes tough to avoid junk food. However, you also realize that this food can harm your health. In this case how to stop yourself from eating junk food? In this article, we aim to discover food cravings, the health risks of junk food, how it can harm our mental health, and how to stop food cravings.


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Chapter 1:

What Are Food Cravings?

Food cravings are defined as an urge or desire to consume one or more food items. This urge is often so strong that one ends up overeating. They can eat food mindlessly. Cravings are unhealthy in some sense because it makes us binge on food without a conscious thought. While hunger is biological, cravings have a psychological component too. Cravings reduce our capacity to concentrate on the task at hand. This is because a person keeps having visual images of food items that he has been craving.

Food cravings can be disruptive because the person who has them cannot focus unless they have eaten what they were craving. Moreover, when they do find the food item, they can end up eating extra in order to satisfy their desire. 

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Chapter 2:

Why Do We Crave Junk Food So Much?

Why does our mouth water every time we pass by a pizza joint or even when we watch images of food online? Often when we are stressed, a cup of ice cream makes us feel relaxed. Why does the thought of that giant burger improve our bad mood? There seems to be a connection between junk food and our emotions.

Junk food is, as the name implies, unhealthy food. Mostly it contains saturated fat and a lot of oil. sugar or artificial flavors. All of these substances harm our bodies in some way or the other. For instance, sugar-containing pastries, cookies, and icecreams can damage our teeth. Food that contains a high amount of fat increases blood cholesterol. This increases the risk of a heart attack. Clearly, junk food is not good for our body then why is it then we love eating these items so much?

Junk food is tasty. It satisfies our taste buds. They, therefore, activate the feel-good centers in our brains. Therefore, when we are sad or stressed, eating gives us temporary relief from negative emotions. Therefore, we desire more food in order to feel good. Since junk food keeps making us feel good, we have a memory of it and therefore we feel like eating it again and again.

Some other factors such as a habit or lack of time can make you want to eat junk food again and again. When you are lazy or have no time to cook, you rely on outside food or fast food. 

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Chapter 3:

How to Stop Eating Junk Food?

While eating junk food once in a while is not at all bad, however, it is important to keep a check on those cravings. Daily consumption of junk food poses several health risks. It lowers our body’s immunity and can lead to obesity and other health ailments such as high blood pressure. Further, it has an impact on our skin and hair too. Cheesy fries and spicy sandwiches are actually the cause behind those acidity problems and face acnes.

Here are some ways in which you can stop eating junk food and reduce food cravings.

Delay Those Cravings

Distance yourself for a while when you are craving those potato wedges. You can do this by small distractions such as a walk or watching something funny. Additionally drinking water can make you feel full for a while so that by the time you reach that fast food joint, you’d already be a little bit full. This can reduce the chances of overeating. Delaying the cravings by a distractor provides you with the time. During this time, the craving eventually subsides.

Avoid Going without Food for Longer Durations

Have a meal plan ready. Cravings spring up most often when we are hungry. Have you ever noticed that the food delivery applications send you notifications exactly at lunch hours? Well, this is a perfect marketing strategy, a hungry user is more likely to buy food than a person who has a full stomach. Therefore avoid staying hungry for longer durations. Keep healthy snacks at hand.

Keep a Balanced Diet

In your diet, include various types of nutrition such as necessary vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Keep your meal times consistent so that you do not have unexpected hunger pangs. Additionally, you can make your daily meals in a fun and creative way so that you don’t eat the same type of food daily. You can use healthy ingredients to recreate junk food. For example, make a vegetable sandwich out of whole wheat bread without overloading it with cheese. Hunger and lack of nutrition are the number one reasons why we have cravings so ensure that the body has enough fuel to do its activities.

Don’t Go Out Hungry

When you go out hungry, you are bound to get lured by the fast food joints on the road. Your hunger will push you to eat that cookie or doughnut. Moreover, when you are hungry, you will encounter many fast food joints and you are more likely to eat at one for a quick fix. Supermarkets and cafes also carry an aroma of food which can be the cause of your cravings. This is due to the conditioned response to the aromas of good food. When you have a satiated stomach, it helps you stop food cravings.

Make Meal Plans

If you are too busy to cook home-cooked meals, make a list of instant and healthy food items. Stock up your inventories when you have a holiday. Additionally, make arrangements beforehand. Try searching for easy-to-cook, quick and healthy recipes. Carry fruit juices so that you don’t drink carbonated drinks. Try adding more proteins to your diet so you don’t feel hungry quickly.

Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is an effective strategy to reduce cravings and avoid junk food. It helps you increase your awareness about what you eat, your feelings while you eat, how much you eat, and your sensations of feeling full. This helps you decide what is good for your health and what is not. The aim of mindful eating is to enjoy the experience while making sure that what goes in your stomach is good for your mind and body. This meditative practice helps us combat stress eating, keeps us conscious of the food contents that we are consuming, and helps us focus on healthy food habits. Mindful eating helps you to stop food cravings.

Endnote

Cravings are a normal part of our lives. Additionally, consumption of junk food in metro cities especially is frequent due to the fast-paced life. Sometimes people have no choice but to consume junk food. In other cases, individuals with binge eating or other eating disorders cannot control what they eat. The reason is that the reward centers in their brain are activated when they eat and they acquire more and more pleasure when they eat. This helps them to fight underlying stress or depression.

If you or your loved ones are suffering from a binge-eating disorder and you cannot stop eating junk food, Epsychonline is here to help. We offer courses that help you fight mental health concerns. One such course is named binge eating disorder. This course can help you understand the basis of binge eating and help you avoid eating junk food. There are articles on the website that discuss various types of eating disorders and problems such as overeating. Do check them out.


"Very interesting and relevant" John

72 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount