We’re big advocates at Flex Fuel for getting to enjoy the foods you love.
Cutting out your food favorites is usually unsustainable and can lead to binging on them later. The problem you may be experiencing when you eat those “junk food” type items is that its so darn hard to put them down after you’ve had your planned serving. For me, kettle corn is one of those culprits. That sweet and salty combo is one that’s really hard to resist once I’ve started and suddenly I’ve eaten half the bag (we’re talking Costco size) and have a lingering gut ache. Sound familiar? I wanted to share why its so easy to over do it so you can have a better game plan the next time you’re enjoying your favorite foods!
First of all…the companies that market foods typically use buzzwords that make it seem healthy and they usually combine those descriptions with some kind of self care need like “You need a break!” or “You earned it!”
I’m sure you’ve seen these buzz words on some of your favorite treats:
- Gluten free
In reality though there is usually very little to no difference between the conventional treat and the organic one (think Justin’s peanut butter cups).
Outside of the grocery store, many fast food restaurants convince use that we’re getting a great deal. McDonald’s has FREE FRIES Friday that comes with any $1 dollar purchase. I’ve seen several commercials on tv for other fast food restaurants advertising 4 items for $5 bucks. Who doesn’t love a good deal? The problem is, we end up ordering way more than we initially wanted which means more calories as well.
With those options comes a ton of variety too! Different tastes create more of a craving and appetite. Think about it, when you sit down to eat a bowl full of strawberries it’s much easier to stop when you’re satisfied vs. sitting down to eat a combo meal or chex mix when the flavors and textures are all different. Many “junk food” type items are hyperpalatable. Meaning, they taste really fricken good because they’re usually made up of salt, sugar and fat….a combo that creates a party in your mouth. That first bite is delicious and melts in your mouth which makes these types of foods pretty irresistible.
Now that you know why these types of foods are so easy to overeat, let’s chat some strategies on how to strengthen your skills managing them.
Start by looking through your pantry. How many junk food type items can you find that are marketed as health foods? How many items are packaged in bright and eye popping colors that have self care slogans that pull you in? Check out the nutrition label….what value is it really bringing to your health journey? Its okay if you have some of those things in your home, just make sure you’re not getting fooled by something you thought was a healthy choice but really has the nutritional value of a poptart.
Next, look for patterns in your habits around those types of foods. Many times we can look to those types of foods based off a current trigger such as:
- Time of day
- Social setting
- Specific place you’re at
- Thought pattern
When you catch yourself having the urge to overeat based off one of those triggers, ask yourself:
- What am I feeling?
- What time is it?
- Where am I?
- Who am I with?
- What thoughts am I having?
Digging deep and reflecting your emotions/triggers in these situations can really help you understand them better in the future and be more aware of them.
If you find that you’re someone who’s triggers lead you to overeating or eating things that don’t even make you feel good, start replacing that habit pattern with something positive.
- Listening to music or a good podcast.
- Go on a walk.
- Get a massage or pedicure.
- Exercise or go find an outdoor activity to do (like paddle boarding, hiking or riding a bike).
- Do some yoga.
- Start a new fun hobby.
Finding positive ways to change that old pattern will boost your serotonin and oxytocin, both of which calm down your stress response and aid in a more positive feeling of wellbeing.
Maybe you’ve done all those things and you still have foods you find that are so tough to resist.
Focus on quality over quantity. There is room in your diet to enjoy those foods you really love but make sure you’re incorporating the good stuff first. If you focus on eating more nutrient dense foods (such a protein, fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts) you’ll find that you’re way more satiated. The over processed, packaged stuff that tastes so good lacks a lot of nutritional value so its much easier to eat in large quantities because it doesn’t give you that “full” feeling the more nutrient dense foods do. I personally love the 85/15% rule. 85% of my foods throughout the day are nutrient dense, full of color and mainly whole food sources, the other 15% I allow for the sweet treats. By focusing on the nutrient dense foods *most* of the time, I feel way more in control when allowing the less nutrient dense foods.
If you’re trying to improve your nutrition for whatever reason…weight loss or overall health…making small changes to your current habits is always the best route to go.
Find what triggers are the biggest set backs for you and start there. For example, maybe you love getting fast food for lunch every day but you’re ordering the large size of everything you get. Start by making a sustainable change like opting for a smaller size or swapping out the fries for an apple. Another sustainable goal might be taking that 5x per week trip down to 2x-3x per week.
Perhaps fast food isn’t your trigger but happy hour is. Instead of swearing it off altogether, limit the days you allow for happy hour OR limit the drinks you’re having. Instead of having 4 IPA’s, try cutting back to 2. With nutrition, it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach but by focusing on incorporating more of the nutrient dense foods in your diet and by making small tweaks to your current habits, you’ll be way more successful in sticking with the new plan.
Still struggling with old patterns surrounding your nutrition? Perhaps its time to work with a coach! We’ve been helping thousands of people over the years lock down sustainable habits that they carry out long after their time with us. We’re always happy to chat! Hit the ‘Apply for coaching’ tab at the top of our website and fill out a form, you’ve got nothing to lose.
Cheers to the best version of you!