No matter how hard you try, you can’t run away from junk food. It’s everywhere—in your home, at work and even at school. The moment you leave the house, you’re tempted by counters full of sweets, the tantalizing aroma of fresh baked goods or your coworker’s enticing birthday cake.
So, why is junk food so addictive? Simply put: it’s designed to make us want more…and more…and even more!
Sugar, salt, fat and caffeine are the most addictive ingredients found in food. And guess what? They’re the main ingredients in junk food. Looking at any junk food nutrition label, you’ll likely see one, if not all of them listed at the very top.
Here’s a not-so-fun fact. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine! No wonder it’s so hard to say no to that tub of Ben and Jerry’s or that succulent brownie. We’re hardwired to say yes!
Sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine!Dr. Mark Hyman
So, how exactly can you detox from junk food? Being here is your first step to kicking your junk food addiction. In this article, we’ll share 7 proven ways to detox from junk food for good.
Let’s dig in—to the article (not a bag of chips).
Here are 7 Proven Ways to Detox From Junk Food
#1: Stop Eating Junk Food for 3 Days
Ask any recovering addict about detoxing and they’ll likely tell you the first three days are the hardest. And if it’s sugar you’re addicted to, get ready for withdrawals. Humans experience sugar withdrawal symptoms similar to cocaine addicts after quitting.
Don’t get too scared—you can do this. During the first three days, your body is working to get rid of all those toxins. Be strong and know it won’t last. You’ll feel better in 72 hours!
Do These Things to Get You Through Your First 72 Hours:
- Remove yourself from temptation as much as possible. If you have junk food lying around the house, throw it out. If you can’t resist that corner bakery on your walk to work, choose a different route. You can do anything for 3 days. You got this!
- Drink 2-4 liters of water a day. Sometimes our brain tricks us into thinking we’re hungry when we’re actually thirsty. Not only will water curb your hunger pangs, it’ll keep your skin glowing. Tip: if you hate water, add lemon, ginger, cucumber or even cinnamon sticks!
- When you’re getting those mid-day munchies, instead of reaching for that Snickers, take a walk. If that doesn’t do the trick, grab a healthy snack once you’re back at the office. Try chia pudding, fresh fruit or natural peanut butter with celery. Any of these snacks provide more nutrition than a candy bar and they’re way more filling. So don’t starve yourself, just choose wisely!
#2: Stick to a Balanced Plate
A recent study suggests that we prefer multi-colored food on our plate. So get colorful when you’re creating your meal.
To ensure you’re eating a well-balanced meal, the easiest way is to grab a plate out of your cupboard and divide it into fourths. One-fourth of your plate should include a lean source of protein. Two-fourths of your plate should include leafy green vegetables. The final one-fourth of your plate should be divided between a starchy carb (potatoes, pasta, sweet potato mash, etc.) and yep, you guessed it, more green leafy vegetables. Add in a sliver of fat (avocado, nuts, olive oil, etc.) and you’re good to go. For more inspiration, head here and be sure to check out our image below!
#3: Read Every Food Label
Learn how to spot addictive ingredients when you’re reading nutrition facts and ingredient labels. The longer the ingredient list, the more processed it is. Beware of foods that list sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, white flour and unfamiliar ingredients at the very top. Ingredients are listed in order of amount, so if you see sugar, fat, salt or caffeine listed first, start running for the hills. And please remember: if you see an ingredient you can’t pronounce, you shouldn’t eat it!
If you see an ingredient you can’t pronounce, you shouldn’t eat it!
To tackle your shopping and come out on top, spend most of your time on the outside aisles of the supermarket. And please, please, please go shopping after you’ve eaten. Being a hangry shopper could lead to very impulsive decisions, especially on those 2-for-1 discounts on chips!
Spend most of your time on the outside aisles of the supermarket.
#4: Form New Habits
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Do you check your phone? Maybe you jump in the shower—ready to start your day? If you’re like most of us, you’ve developed morning routines—habits that you’ve done over and over again until they become automatic.
As James Clear writes in his book, Atomic Habits, “habits can be divided into four steps: the cue, craving, response and reward.”
The cue might be grabbing a sugary snack around 3 pm each afternoon or taking a smoke break after lunch. The list goes on and on.
No matter what the cue, it creates a craving (”I want something sweet”), followed by a response (eating that jelly donut) and finally a reward (I feel full now).
But what if you want to form new, healthier habits? According to Clear, “the key to choosing a successful cue is to pick a trigger that is very specific and immediately actionable.”
For example, maybe you want to quit smoking. You promise yourself to replace that afternoon cigarette with a 5-minute bodyweight workout. You’ve just reprogrammed your brain and chosen a new cue. Now, when you get the urge for that afternoon cigarette (the trigger), you’ve replaced the initial cue (puffing that cig) with a new one (working out).
Need some help setting obtainable goals? Read more here.
#5: Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
Healthy routines are awesome. It’s the not-so-healthy ones we need to worry about.
Sometimes it’s just so much easier to grab fast-food on the way home from work, especially when you’re exhausted from a long day.
Although it takes some effort to turn these not-so-healthy habits around, it can be done. To change up the routine of eating on-the-go or grabbing whatever’s quick, consider meal planning.
Develop a new morning routine where you pack your lunch. You can even add some nutritious mid-morning and afternoon snacks in your lunchbox! Add in an afternoon walk and start preparing your weeknight meals in advance. Use your Sundays to cook up a huge pot of vegetarian chili or make a delicious, homemade soup. This way, you’ll have nutritious food on-demand for the upcoming week.
By establishing healthy routines, the goals you’ve set for yourself will more likely stick.
#6: Take One Day at a Time
Try not to think, “OMG, I will never be able to do this.” You can accomplish anything as long as you set an attainable goal and put your mind to it. And if you fail or struggle, don’t get discouraged. Get back up and keep going. Whatever you do, don’t give up!
#7: Choose Your Friends Wisely
Last but not least, surround yourself with positive and supportive people. You become who you surround yourself with. If you subject yourself to people who are negative, insecure or destructive, you’ll definitely be impacted—and not in a nice way. No one is immune to negative energy or bad influence, so choose your company wisely. You’ll need all the support you can get when making a long-term commitment to your health and well-being.
You become who you surround yourself with, so choose your company wisely.
You Got This!
We get it—it’s not easy to steer clear of that tempting slice of cheesecake. While there are more nutritional options than ever, it’s still a challenge to just say no. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. With the proper intention and motivation, you can make this happen. After all, your body is a temple. Fueling it with proper nutrition is just one more way of saying “I love myself.” Cheers to arriving here and being committed to making your long-term health and well-being a reality. Good luck with your journey. We’ll be cheering you on!