Cutting back on junk food is one of the most common goals I hear as a weight loss coach. It’s a great step for those wanting to lose weight and eat better diets.
Saying you want to eat less junk food and actually doing it are two different things. It’s hard to actually do this without knowing specific changes to make. This article will show you 4 ways to eat less junk food.
(For the purposes of this article, “junk food” refers to highly processed foods that provide your body with little in the way of nutrients.)
Quit Buying Them
I know it seems obvious but the easiest way to eat less junk food is to stop buying it. If you have to get up, put on pants, find your keys, drive to the store, search the aisles, and make sure you have your wallet, just to get your hands on some junk food, you’re a lot less likely to eat it.
If you already have these foods in your house, get rid of them. Don’t tell yourself you’ll wait til they’re gone and then not buy them again. Dispose of them, give them to neighbors, bring them into work, do what you have to do to get them out of your house.
It’s not necessarily this simple if you live with other people who insist on having certain foods around, so the remaining tips will help in those situations.
Out of Sight & Hard to Reach
Research on human behavior suggests that when temptations are right in front of you, you’re much more likely to indulge. Just taking the cookie jar (does anyone still have those?) from the countertop to behind a cabinet can cut down on how many times you stick your hand in there.
Instead, put a healthier option, like a fruit basket, out in the open so that when you’re feeling snacky, that’s the easiest-to-reach option.
In addition to putting junk food out of sight, making it hard to reach can be another useful obstacle between you and the temptations. Rather than putting the chips on the middle shelf in the pantry so you’re eye-to-eye with them when you go to grab a can of beans for dinner, put them on the highest shelf. Better yet, put them in the garage or basement so that you need to make a special trip to get them.
The more hurdles you can place between yourself and the junk food, the better.
No Snacking in Front of the TV
This might be a tough habit to break but once you do, you’ll cut way down on calories from junk food.
(If you’re noticing resistance at this suggestion, that’s probably a sign that you could stand to take it to heart. Think of it as an experiment that you’re just testing out to see what happens.)
If you want a snack, follow the next tip to keep things under control.
One Serving at a Time
Part of the issue with junk foods is that they taste so good! Sometimes referred to as “hyperpalatable,” a lot of processed foods are made with nearly impossible-to-resist combinations of fat, sugar, and salt.
You’ve experienced this before if you’ve ever opened a container of ice cream, intending to just have a few spoonfuls, only to stop when you felt your spoon hit the bottom of the pint.
Instead of telling yourself that “this time, this time, will be different,” help yourself get out of your own way. How?
Look at the nutrition label and see what is 1 serving. Take this amount and put it on a
plate or in a bowl. Close the container and put it back where it belongs. (Yes, this means if you had it on the upper shelf in the garage, it goes back there.) Then take that serving and sit down to eat it in an undistracted environment.
Odds are, just by paying closer attention while you’re eating it, you’ll enjoy it more and won’t want more. But even if you do, it’s going to be such a hassle to retrieve, that you might just talk yourself out of it.
Remember It’s A Process
Don’t expect to change your junk food habits overnight. If you’ve been mindlessly snacking for years, it’s going to take some time to replace those habits with healthier ones.
Understand that you’re going to slip up sometimes and eat more than you intended. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
Recognize that you’re human and humans make mistakes. Don’t think of those experiences as failure; think of them as feedback.
Take what you can to learn from them and behave differently in the future and then move on.
Need help on the self-kindness front? Join my Facebook group Live Diet-Free for weight loss coaching support and let’s taco ‘bout it!