If you’ve ever tasted packaged junk food (and who hasn’t) then you know just how addicting it can be. There’s a reason for this – the food companies actually formulate each bite for maximum craveability. This is done with a special tantalizing balance of sugar, fat and salt.
But while junk food tastes pleasing…it’s detrimental to your fat loss results.
Unclear on what exactly classifies as junk food? You’re not alone, especially these days as many junk foods are being deceptively marketed and packaged as healthy choices.
Here’s the checklist on what classifies something as junk food:
Picture the next 30 days of your life being 100% free of junk food. How would your results improve? How would you feel? How many empty calories would you save yourself from? Now let’s take some action!
Step #1: Clear Out the Junk
Step one is simple: get rid of all the junk food that you currently have in your home, office and car. Go through with a big garbage bag and toss anything that remotely resembles junk food. Remember, junk food is stuff that is high in empty calories.
Step #2: Stock Up on Healthy Snacks
Now you didn’t think I was going to let you starve, did you? Step two is where you go to the store and stock up on delicious, nutritious foods that will take the place of the junk food. Nuts, seeds, fruit, veggies, hard boiled eggs, meatballs, and hearty salads or burrito bowls (like the recipe below) are great items to have on hand. You’ll eat less of these healthy snacks, since these aren’t empty calories, but rather nutrient-filled calories that satiate.
Step #3: HALT!
When the next craving strikes you, tell yourself to HALT! This word is actually a handy acronym. Ask yourself, “Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?” If you’re hungry then reach for one of the healthy snacks from step two. If you’re angry, then explore the issue and seek resolution. If you are lonely, then reach out to a friend, instead of reaching for junk food. And if you are tired then make the time to grab a nap or get to bed early to catch up on sleep.
Step #4: Stick With It
The first day that you go without junk food will be the hardest day. The second day will be a smidge easier. The third day will be a smidge easier than the second…and so on. The fact is that your taste buds adjust to the foods that you exist on. When your diet is filled with junk foods then that is what your taste buds will crave, but as you shift to a diet that is filled with fresh, nutritious foods then your taste buds will forget all about that old junk food. Stick with it, one day at a time, and you will break free from the grip of junk food addiction.
Dr. Tony Tanzi: Physical Therapist, Triathlete, Runner, Performance Coach