Mistakes that stop you quitting junk food

Quitting Junk FoodCC: NeonBrand at Unsplash

Does quitting junk food seem impossible to you? You’re not alone! Around 37% of adult Americans consume fast food each day. Many also choose to take their calories from processed foods, which lack the nutrients they need to thrive.

Although quitting junk food seems like a struggle, it’s far from impossible. By learning about the mistakes that could hold you back, you’ll make your journey easier.

Not learning about quitting junk food

When it comes to ditching unhealthy eating habits, knowledge is power. More than 80% of Americans eat more than their Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of sodium. Around 70% exceed their RDA of processed sugars. But can we be sure these actions are taken with full knowledge of what junk food contains?

If you still find the lure of processed foods irresistible, it’s time to take to the Internet to learn more. Consider what your favorite junk foods contain and the effects they have on your body. For example, quitting junk food may become easier when you learn which processed meats cause cancer.

Failing to find tasty alternatives

When your cravings for sugar, savory snacks, and fatty treats kick in, are you listening to what your body is telling you? In part, your food cravings arise from your brain wanting the sense of reward that comes with eating something tasty. Rather than heading straight for the chips or candy, though, consider which healthy alternatives may satisfy your body.

In the case of candy, turning to fruit or low-calorie flavored water may help. As for savory foods that are salty, you may actually be thirsty! Thirst often arises in the form of hunger and as salt plays a role in maintaining your body’s fluid balance, it can result in a salty craving. Try drinking a glass of water to see what happens.

You’re not rewarding yourself

Losing weight by quitting junk food does come with some rewards. When you see the scale tip in the right direction or when you receive compliments, you’ll probably feel a warm glow. These small rewards may not be enough to sustain your efforts, though.

If this is the case, start giving yourself rewards for quitting junk food. For example, you may make a personal note to buy something nice when you’ve dropped 10 pounds. Or, you could give yourself a cash reward if you successfully ditch sugar for a month.

You can’t control yourself at social events

Lack of dietary control at social events can become a big sticking point when you’re quitting junk food. Whether it’s heading out to a restaurant with friends or going for lunch with a colleague, spotting healthy options can feel tricky.

Additionally, portion control becomes an issue. The average size of a meal portion at an American restaurant is 1088 calories, with countries such as Ghana and Brazil showing similar patterns.

If you’re serious about quitting junk food, it’s time to pick your social meals carefully. Read the menu free from distractions and choose dishes free from sauces and fried foods. If you receive a large portion, exercise a little self-control and only eat what you need. Oh, and quitting junk food is much easier when you don’t drink alcohol.

Although quitting junk food feels like a struggle, avoiding these mistakes will make your life easier. Before you know it, you’ll live a healthier life free from junk.

About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.