Giving up junk food isn’t easy. There are so many reasons that you eat it. Junk food ‘appears’ to be cheaper and quicker than making your own food. Sadly, many people live on junk food and don’t even realize what they are doing to themselves. Why? Because the junk food marketers know how to grab your attention and trick you. They will use buzz words like : All Natural, No GMO, Healthy, Fat Free or Gluten Free. They will make their junk food sound healthy and good for you but at the same time they have hidden lots of sugars, sodium and chemicals in order to make you crave it. From yogurts and cereals to salads and trail mix, many of these foods are much less good for you then they may appear.
What is junk food?
Junk food can be defined as any food you consume that has zero to little nutritional value. It has typically been processed, packaged and has a very high calorie count. Junk food can be found anywhere. Convenience stores, restaurants, shopping malls, theaters and sporting events. You’ll hear junk food advertised on TV, radio, billboards and flyers. Every week your mailbox will be filled with coupons for special offers tempting you with pretty pictures to eat out instead of making a meal for yourself. It’s no wonder so many folks eat junk without a second thought.
If you want to eliminate ‘junk’ from your diet, give the following 3 steps a try.
RRR you ready?
For the next 3 months, begin apply these 3 RRRs to your day every day. Taking baby steps will keep you moving forward, especially as you start to see and feel the results of changing you ‘junk food’ consumption. If you take the time to journal during this time, you will have a place to reflect on what you’ve discovered about yourself. This could be an invaluable gift to yourself. Have fun and be kind to yourself.
Step 1 Recognize:
- Starting today, notice everything that you are eating. If you haven’t looked at the label before start doing that immediately. How much sugar is in it? How about the sodium level? Take a look through your cupboards, your pantry and counter tops … do you have junk food visible, handy and tempting you to have something quick and easy? How about in your car or in your desk at work … anything handy and unhealthy there? Hmmm, what to do?
- Now that you are aware of these things, the choice is yours. It is now up to you to decide what to do with these items. Do you keep them until they’re gone? Throw them out? Hide them?
- Listen to your body when you look at this food. If you want to eliminate junk food from your diet, you now have a place to start.
Step 2 Record:
The best way, and only way really to change something is to identify what it is you want to change and why. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s hard to change something when you don’t know what that something is … right? This second step is where you will begin to identify the changes that you want to make. You can either keep track of this in a journal, on your laptop or personal device … or even just in your head (although I wouldn’t recommend that as most of us tend to forget things)
Take note when you want or crave to eat junk food.
- What time is it?
- When was the last time you ate?
- Where are you?
- What are you doing?
- What are you craving … sweet, sour, salty … hot, cold … crunchy, creamy?
- How much and where are you spending on food? Break this down into:
- Convenience stores
- Fast food restaurants, ordering in or eating out
- Grocery stores
- Farmer’s market or health food grocer
If you log this information once a week, by the end of the 3 weeks you should notice a difference. Daily is even better as you will notice your habits sooner.
Step 3 Replace:
As you discover what you are eating, as well as where, when and why, it’s time to start swapping things out. It’s totally up to you where you want to start but the sooner you do the better. After reviewing your notes, you will be able determine where you want to start and the steps you wish to take. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Commit to eating at least one healthy meal a day. Pick the one that you find challenging but not overwhelming as your first task. The sooner you notice a win the better.
- Make your own. The internet is filled with healthy, easy to make recipes. You can make your own cereal, trail mix, muffins, breads, cookies, chocolates … whatever your heart (and taste buds) desire. The beauty of making your own treats is that you know exactly what is in them AND you can add or replace the ingredients as you please. You can also make your own soups, salads, salad dressings and sauces. There really is no limit to what you could make for yourself … given the time and commitment you want to put into it.
- Instead of going out a meal with friends … have a dinner party or host a potluck with a healthy theme. Not only will it be easier on your pocket book but you will find it much more relaxing and easier to visit. No loud conversations or music to distract you. No more hidden calories and chemicals in your food.
Think of these RRRs as going around in circles. This process will take a while. Your habits have been formed over many, many years. By repeating these steps … Recognize, Record and Replace, you will soon find yourself no longer consuming junk food. You’ll be wondering why you ever thought eating this junk was good for you. You may even find that your wallet and bank accounting are growing healthy along with you.
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