There is no question that the number of addictions we are fighting today is much higher compared to the times before the technical boom. Shockingly, there are tons of activities which you would’ve never thought that are causing your list of addiction to grow. For example, a recent study showed that mobile notifications generate some happy hormones in our body, therefore making us spend more time staring at the screen, waiting for social feedback. Obviously, the creators behind the concept are aiming to raise our addiction levels, probably on purpose, to be more successful.
Recently, the New York Times also published a recent study, regarding the addictive nature of junk food (“The Extraordinary Science of Junk Food”), which once again confirmed our hypothesis about the addictiveness behind junk food. People who tried to recreate their beloved snacks – manufactured based on a strict, perfect recipe -probably have already realized, that there is no easy way to cook those tasty, crunchy bites on the oven at home. In case you are wondering how to cut back on junk food, and make your brain crave healthy food instead of less healthy products, we put together a list of a few techniques, that can help you fight your addiction.
Tricking Your Brain
There are various small techniques, that can help you trick your brain, which can help you eat healthier and even cut back on your portions. These methods should not be considered as dietary tips, as creating a healthy and nutrition rich diet is a more complex process, depending on your personal goals and eating habits. We created a list to help you trick your brain, which can prove to be useful tools when it comes to keeping a diet and changing your lifestyle into a healthier one. These small hints can help you avoid those cravings, that can sometimes result in an unsuccessful diet. So, let’s see, what can help you one step closer to a healthier life:
No More Shoveling
Have you ever had a meal, where you just devoured the whole plate in no time and felt that you could have some more? Well, the faster you eat, the slower you get full. A useful trick in these cases is to make it harder to eat your food. This might sound a bit awkward, but a recent study showed that when you are eating with your non-dominant hand, you will eat less in general. Since using your left/right hand (whichever is the less dominant one) might simply just ruin the whole meal, try using something that can help you avoid simply shoveling food into your mouth: try chopsticks or Japanese food spoons. Experience with anything new that you can think of, and you will surely get the result you are after.
Use a Bigger Fork
Another research has confirmed, that if you are using a bigger fork, you will get full earlier. How is this possible? Well, the fact that we rely on our sight while eating makes our brain believe that we are full, even if we had less than usual. By taking bigger portions, your brain will be convinced that you had enough, even before you have finished with your usual portion. However, it might sound a bit more logical to go for a smaller fork, but in those cases, you will find it even harder to stop: you will feel more like you are snacking, which will make your brain send those signals way past the point of “no return.” Apply the bigger fork technique for main meals during the day, where you are aiming to eat until you’re satisfied. If you try to apply the same technique during snack time, you will find yourself eating much more than you should.
TV + Eating = Wrong!
As mentioned before, since our brain relies on our sight, don’t be surprised if you are eating more than you should once you have your dinner in front of the TV. By not focusing on your meal, you will end up overeating as that feeling of fullness will be hard to achieve. Watching TV, checking your mobile, or doing anything that is distracting you from eating, can make you eat more than you should. Try to enjoy your meal fully, sit at the dining table and put that phone on the charger. It might be difficult in the beginning, but you will find yourself eating less, which will once again have positive benefits on your health in the long run.
Keep Healthy Food Close
If you are aiming to not only leave those big portions behind but to finally eat healthier, the first, and most important rule is to keep those healthy foods close by. If you find yourself, from time to time, standing in front of the opened fridge, make some preparations. By storing the healthy food in the front and center, it will be easier to substitute your snacks for healthy treats gradually. By smart positioning, you can easily find yourself having a fresh salad, instead of chewing on that double-cheese burger that you left in there a week ago.
Chew Like There is No Tomorrow
Another common way that can help you eat less, and get full earlier, is to chew more than what you’d need. Make a conscious decision before your meals and chew slower and more. You will find yourself eating much less than compared to your usual portion. Furthermore, if you repeatedly focus on eating slowly and chewing more, you can easily turn your conscious decision into a habit, in no time. This can get you closer to the result that you are after: eating healthier, and smaller portions.
Transform Your Bad Habits
If you are devoted to change your lifestyle to a healthier one – where you won’t be having mac and cheese at 10 pm anymore while watching your favorite Baywatch episodes-, the vital point is to know yourself and know yourself well. Look at your habits and analyze them. If you have already developed some daily associations, like 1. pm. Means a treat of Coca-Cola, try to substitute it for a cup of green tea, or try going for a short walk. Small healthy changes can help you fight your craving, and since it takes only a few weeks to develop a habit, you can easily find yourself going for healthy walks at 3. pm. Every day. It’s easier said than done, but with dedication, you can transform your unhealthy habits into healthy ones.
Treat Yourself with Healthy Food
I know that you love those chocolate milkshakes and those midnight Doritos and I understand how hard it is to let go of all the yumminess finally. However, you don’t have to give up on all the delicious joys of those boring weekdays, since you can simply substitute unhealthy treats with healthy ones. Stash your fridge with some red grapes, bananas, apples and before you’d order the next chocolate milkshake, give fruits a chance. It’s easy, faster than fast food, and even delicious. In between meals, or as good night treats, fruits can get you through your sugar craving and reduce your hunger. Furthermore, they are extremely healthy, with tons of vitamins that can-do magic to your body. Once again, since forming a habit only takes a few weeks, why not start with including some fruits as one of your daily treats. It might take some time for the habit to stick, but it is surely worth it.
Even the Color of the Plate Matters
You have probably heard, that by using smaller plates you can ensure that your meals will be healthier, or at least you will get your brain tricked, and get full earlier. However, recently it was discovered that also the colors of the plates can influence our brain, making us eat more than we should. The research showed that by eating from a plate, which’s color does not contrast the color of the food you are eating, you can overeat more easily. The same study showed that this is also true for tablecloths, where participants whose tablecloth’s color was contrasted with the color of their food, ate less and got full earlier. As it is all about tricking your brain, even this slightest detail can matter. Use a plate that is smaller, and which’s color is in contrast with the color of your meal. This way once again, you will find yourself gradually eating less while being more conscious and focused during your meals.
It is not only advisable to be self-aware regarding your bad habits, but also to know those special trigger foods that can easily break your series of success. Either if you are a chocolate fanatic, or if you have a thing for little sweet treats, try to keep them out of reach. By this, I don’t only mean to put it further away from the couch, but to keep it out from the house. If you do so, next time you start craving those sweets, you won’t find yourself full after having eaten that box of chocolate. If you pay attention to your trigger foods, you will be surely more successful. Keeping away your trigger foods and combining it with smart food placement in the fridge – as mentioned above -, can once again make you easily substitute those treats full of sugar, with healthy fruits.
Learn About What You are Having
You can hear people say, that they simply don’t eat processed or junk food because they are aware of how it is made, and where it comes from. Well, it might also help you to turn to healthy foods, so dedicate some time to look after your next processed food before eating it. As an example, many yogurt brands add the D3 vitamin to their products. You would never find out where it comes from: sheep’s grease! Yep! Even though it sounds nice, that you are getting some extra vitamins, it was manufactured and added using artificial methods, and knowing its origins makes you go: “Yuck.” This is only one small example, but hopefully, it will make you wonder what is on your next burger. Make sure that you know what you are having, and try to concentrate on these shocking examples. By doing so, you can become one of those conscious eaters, who are not eating junk or processed food, because they are aware of the drawbacks. And once again: Yuck!
Dedication is Key
All in all, fighting your junk food addiction is never easy, but hopefully, our list of hints for healthier eating can help you change your routine. The biggest part is dedication which is totally up to you, but these techniques might help you get closer to your result in an easier way. Experiments with these techniques, to find out which is the best and most convenient for you. Don’t forget, that it is all about tricking your brain while getting to know yourself better. Once you are aware of those bad habits that can easily ruin your success, try not to fall into temptation, and take precautions. With conscious planning and dedication, we are 100% positive that you can change your unhealthy eating habits, and trick your brain into craving healthy food. As our list, has proved it, even the smallest aspects matter, so keep an eye for the details before sitting down and having your next snack.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before a Meal
Before starting your next meal, or before picking the menu, ask yourself these two questions to make sure, that you are eating healthy:
- Do I know what it is made of?
- Am I sure that this food is healthy?
If the answer is no, to any of those questions, we suggest you picking a different food. In case, you also would like to focus on cutting back on your portion, try the methods mentioned above and consciously plan your meals. Go and buy those bigger forks, white dishes, and finally stuff your fridge with fruits, to get some quality treats. Be conscious, take precautions and finally trick your brain, and crave healthy food.