Wondering why it’s so hard to quit fries and pizzas? There’s a scientific explanation behind it
By Klyde Manansala | Photo by Fancycrave/Unsplash
There might have been times when you’ve told yourself that you’re finally going to stop eating junk food, but, no matter how hard you try, you simply lack the self-discipline and you’re easily back to your bad habits. But don’t put all the blame on yourself because science can explain your cravings. Nevertheless, we’ve listed some questions that could guide you on your way to living a healthier, junk-free life:
What are your reasons?
The first step to veering away from junk food is to have a good number of reasons why you want to stop consuming unhealthy food. Are you trying to lose weight? Do you want to live a healthy life? Or are you trying to change your lifestyle? Ask yourself these questions and from there, you may get the drive to resist when you find yourself at a crossroads.
What’s your plan?
As you go along with knowing your reasons, the next step is to make a plan on what type of food you will eat from now on. This is where diet plans come in, but don’t fall into the trap of starving yourself since it can make it harder for you to resist junk food cravings. According to registered dietitian Katherine Brooking, RD, when we’re tired and hungry, the level of hormones that makes us feel full are falling and we’re easily tempted to take on ready-made snacks. However, tiredness and hunger are circumstances that happen naturally, which is why instead of keeping a stash of junk food to satisfy your cravings, snacks like popcorn, dried fruit, and nuts are better companions that could help stabilize your blood sugar.
Do you know how to say no?
Learn how to say no and practice self-control because the more you eat those slices of pizza, the more you’ll crave them, studies say. The chemical in our brain called dopamine, a pleasure-regulating substance, which makes us consistently crave for something , is the same chemical that makes us want to eat more fats and carbs the more we eat them. In layman’s terms, dopamine tells our brain to eat more junk food because the more we ingest them, the more we feel the satisfaction our brain craves.
“Learn how to say no and practice self-control because the more you eat those slices of pizza, the more you’ll crave them, studies say
Are you implementing your plans?
Don’t let plans be just plans. You have to accomplish something you’ve plotted and you got to take action. Make your own salad, cook your own food, do your own grocery shopping. Though not all of us have the time to prepare healthy meals, registered dietitian Alex Caspero, RD advises anyone who lacks time to cook more than what you think you’ll need each time you prepare your own meal.
Do you play sports or at least work out?
If you do, that’s great, but if you don’t, well, you might as well think about a sport you want to try. Playing sports isn’t necessary if you’re just trying to quit eating junk food, but the benefits it could provide you will bring positive energy, self-esteem, and the discipline anyone who’s planning to live a healthy life would want. By playing a certain sport or regularly exercising, you’ll be able to monitor your weight, strengthen your muscles, and so much more.
How’s your environment?
You may not be conscious about this, but your working space plays a huge factor in achieving your goals. Whether you’re at home or at work, it’s important to have someone who supports and pushes you to reach your desired destination. Registered dietitian Natalie Rizzo, RD said that swapping food with friends who also lead a healthy lifestyle can be a great habit. “Organize a meal swap, where you all cook one large healthy meal, and swap portions,” said Rizzo.
Still craving ice cream?
There will come a time when you really can’t resist eating ice cream and chocolates. According to research, even if people try so hard to live a healthy life, the power of cravings could overshadow the value of health. When people crave something, the more they’re willing to pay good money just to get their hands on it. Since this is a proven point, it’s still possible to satisfy your junk food cravings by swapping them with a healthier alternative. Instead of eating ice cream, go for yogurt.
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