Almost everyone who wants to lose weight has tried diets at least once. Most people are on diets as long as they can, but then something happens, and they start overeating again. Why do people return to junk Food and overeat? The answer is simple: most diets don't work. Every time we create restrictions and reduce calories, our body backfires. Our metabolism slows down because our collection is shocked by the new diet. It starts starving and signals to our brain that we need more food. As a result, the menu fails, and we overeat again. Some people have gone through this cycle many times. We want to eat more; we want to eat junk food. Maybe that’s what the problem is? Perhaps all you need to do is just train your brain to like healthy food instead of fat and sugar?
Imagine yourself eating a few bowls of broccoli. Sounds weird, right? Now let’s replace broccoli with ice cream — this looks much more realistic. The thing is that sugar and processed fat are tasty. They stimulate specific chemical centers in the brain and make us feel rewarded. The same happens to people who do cocaine or other drugs — they get used to getting an instant reward anytime they want so they cannot just quit doing it, and this habit becomes an addiction. However, anyone can get rid of cravings, and food addiction is no different. All you need to do is train your brain.
Why Is It Important to Kick the Junk Food Habit?The first and the main reason to switch to healthy food is that junk food itself causes cravings. The main reason for overeating is that we eat the wrong types of food. Processed food is designed that way so that we become addicted to it and feel cravings. For example, a combination of soft and crispy layers is used in candy bars as well as in fast food like pizza, which also has a crisp crust with soft cheese. This combination entertains our brain, giving different kinds of sensations, so our mind wants more of it.
There is also food that feels like it melts in your mouth. It’s a pleasurable sensation, and it’s also a message to our brain. The brain realises that we eat not as much as we wanted to so it signals to our body that we need more. Lots of butter make food easily slide through our mouth, which makes the brain think that it’s okay.
Food companies spend billions of dollars to design food that will be addictive. Thus, if you want to stop overeating, you have to eat healthy food. Lisa Fetters, a nutritionist, and freelancer at Masterra, notes: “You should develop a new habit. Start replacing burgers, cakes, potato chips, and pizza with healthy products, and you’ll see that you want those unhealthy products less and less. It will be much easier to do if you switch to a new diet gradually, instead of denying yourself all the junk food at once. That can only result in negative self-talk, stress, and more cravings.”
How to Train Your Brain to Eat Healthily
1. Determine when you feel more hungryOf course, any living species eats to survive, however, this is not the only reason why we eat. As we’ve already mentioned above, food also brings pleasure and is an instant reward. Thus, our emotional state has a direct impact on our hunger. If you feel sad, it may be a reason why you also feel hungry. Therefore, it’s essential to eliminate stresses and to know when you actually want to eat, and when you just need to calm down.
2. Get more sleepYou may have heard that a short nap is terrible for your health. However, it’s important to understand that it affects all the systems in your body, including your brain and digestive system. Your body needs 7-8 hours of sleep every night. If you sleep less, your nervous system is not able to calm down and get ready for a new day. You feel more exhausted, so you need more energy — apparently, you eat more. There are many ways to sleep better without any pills. Try them, and you’ll certainly feel better.
3. Eat without distractionsMake a healthy meal and find some time to just eat. Don’t watch TV, don’t read, and don’t scroll your social media feed. Just focus on eating, and you’ll notice much more about the taste of your meal. If you focus on what you eat, it will be easy to realise that even healthy food is tasty. You’ll also eat less because distractions don’t let you feel like you’re full.
4. Eat different foodOur brain loves junk food because it combines different tastes and creates mixed feelings. Simply put, junk food looks interesting to our mind. Thus, if you want to forget about junk food, you have to entertain your receptors with something else. For example, eat carrots with hummus, and you will create that combination of crunchy and creamy that makes you think about pizza. Don’t be afraid of various spices: Try them, blend them, and you’ll see how they work wonders.
5. Eat healthy snacks throughout the dayWhen you skip your breakfast and work all day without taking a lunch break, it won’t make you lose weight. Quite the opposite, you’ll feel stressed out and really hungry, so when you get home, you’ll eat everything in the fridge. To avoid overeating, snack often.
ConclusionIf you feel hungry and think about eating some junk food, it doesn’t mean that your body is starving. Big companies invest a lot of money in making addictive food so that you would want to return and eat it again. The good news is that you can overcome this addiction by training your brain. Avoid stresses, get enough sleep, and you will not think about food so often. And don’t forget that healthy food can also be tasty! You should just give it a chance.
About the Author
Berta Melder is an experienced brand manager, content strategist and co-founder of the Masterra. She cooperates with different education courses covering a broad range of digital topics as a guest lecturer. Enjoys creative writing and blogs about healthy eating philosophy. Follow her on Twitter.