3 Steps to Eat Less Junk Food
Getting control over sugar and other junk food cravings can seem like an impossible task.
While there definitely isn’t “oNe QuIcK tRiCk” that will fix all your problems, there ARE steps you can take that are simple and can go a long way toward helping you eat better and snack less (or at least not indulge as much in the foods that you know are holding you back).
I’ll be honest, the advice I’m about to share may sound familiar.
You’ve maybe even tried it once or twice. The problem is, if you did it with the wrong approach, or just for the wrong reasons, it probably backfired.
No one wants to start something they know will just end in failure.
That’s why I’m breaking the advice down into 3 steps, giving you a better strategy on how to make it work so it’s not just another diet tip you gave up on after a few days.
What Would You Choose?
I love Oreos.
I don’t think you understand.
I loooove Oreos.
Like, if the house were on fire and I had to choose between saving our family pictures or a package of Oreos, I’d go with the Oreos. You can always take new family pictures, but what if I want a snack to help me de-stress as I wait for the fire department?
See? It’s a logical decision.
That will never be a real choice I’ll have to make, for a couple reasons. One is that it’s a made up scenario and completely ridiculous. The second reason is that, because I know how much I love Oreos, I don’t keep them in the house.
It might not be Oreos for you. Maybe it’s ice cream. Or soda. Or chips. Chances are there’s something you’re unable to resist or control how much you eat.
It might not even be all the time, but when the going gets tough (e.g. you’re stressed, you waited too long to eat, you’re bored) you’re gonna eat it and you’re probably not gonna stop until it’s gone.
My advice for you is this: Get it out of the house.
There’s a problem with that advice though. If you take it at face value and start purging your cupboards of anything and everything capable of being labeled as “junk,” you’re likely doing more harm than good.
You know this intuitively, by the way. The reading on your “this-is-gonna-suck-o-meter” is real high, which is why this particular advice tends to get put off or ignored completely (or just doesn’t work for long).
So even though the advice is solid, let’s get more specific about how to do this so it doesn’t hurt so bad.
A Better Way
There are 3 parts to this.
1. Only get rid of the things you aren’t capable of controlling yourself around.
Don’t start throwing everything out to impress your weird (I use that term with all due respect) fitness-y friend who doesn’t eat anything unless she can still see some dirt on it from where it was dug up.
It’s possible there’s more than one thing you’ll need to keep off your regular grocery list — you don’t have to limit it to one thing — but it’s important to be realistic.
For example, if there are Oreos in my house, I will eat them and I will do it often. But I still snack on goldfish, we keep white bread around “for the kids,” and I always have all the ingredients on hand to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies.
The goal isn’t perfection. That NEVER works. We’re just trying to make it easier to choose better options when possible.
2. Replace it with something else.
Habits are hard to break. If you’re used to downing a bag of Doritos at lunch every day and now you aren’t keeping chips on hand, it’ll be easier on you if you replace that habit with a better one.
You could substitute your crunchy snack with a healthier alternative, like carrots. But if that doesn’t sound like a habit that’ll stick, there’s no reason you have to take that big of a step yet.
It just needs to be something you have more control over.
In other words, if you can’t stop yourself from devouring an entire carton of Pringles, but you have no problem eating just a handful of baked potato chips, do that!
It’s not perfect, but it IS better, and that will make a difference.
3. Plan your treats.
I’m not going to give up Oreos for the rest of my life and I don’t expect you to give up your favorite treat forever either.
It’s not realistic to just stop eating foods you love. What’s more feasible is planning when you’ll enjoy them.
Don’t be scared of the word “planning.”
It doesn’t (necessarily) have to mean marking on your calendar the days when you’ll have ice cream. It could just be saying, “I’m going to allow myself a treat 3 times per week and I’ll play it by ear for when those days will be.”
It’s much easier to say “no” to a treat if you know you’re allowed to say yes when you really want to.
Food Isn’t Bad
There are a million ways to still partake of your favorite foods even if you don’t keep them in stock in your kitchen.
For me, I realized I don’t really ever NEED Oreos. I can’t stop eating them when they’re around, but I get just as much pleasure having chocolate chip cookies every once in a while.
Fortunately, that’s an easier thing for me to control because I make them from scratch, which means, unlike with Oreos, it takes more than 0.09 seconds to go from inception to digestion. I’m actually forced to take time to think about the decision I’m making, and that’s enough of a “plan” to keep me on track.
(See, I told you planning doesn’t have to be scary.)
The way you do it might look totally different, but the point is that no foods are “bad.”
If I’m at a party and there are Oreos on the snack table, I’m gonna eat ‘em and not feel guilty about it. It’s not about avoiding something because it’s bad, it’s just a matter of finding slightly more convenient ways to help you reach your goals.
That might mean keeping a certain food item or two out of your house. But it doesn’t mean you have to give it up forever, so there’s no reason to put off this advice any longer.
Getting more control over junk food doesn’t have to be as painful as you thought.
Snack Swap Guide
Just to clarify, snacking isn’t bad either. The types of food you snack on, especially if you snack regularly, CAN have an impact on whether you reach your goals though.
Almost always, part of the solution is to take a look at the big picture of your overall diet (see how our coaching can help you with that).
The other part of the solution is to find some better, higher quality foods you can reach for when you do want a snack. That’s literally “Step 2” for those of you who were paying attention. 😁
And it’s something you can get started with whenever you’re ready.
We’re putting together a Snack Swap guide that will make it even easier on you. If you want help knowing what some better options would be, whether you’re craving something salty, sweet, savory, or crunchy, the guide has you covered.
To make sure you don’t miss it when it comes out, email us here and say, “I want the snack swap guide!”