We all love junk food. Perhaps some people don’t love the way it makes their body feel or look afterwards, but there’s no denying that the taste of salty chips or a fatty burger makes most of our mouths water, and, if that isn’t for you, you’re likely hiding a deeply-rooted passion for chocolate. I apologise for making your sweet tooth ache there, but my point is that nobody is immune to the temptation of fast food; it’s just that many people have overcome their temptations.
Much as with anything in life, unhealthy treats are fine in moderation. However, for anybody who binges on junk food, moderation might have crossed the line into overconsumption. It’s a delicate balance, and it can become all too easy for us to rock the boat and put our bodies under immense strain. Like any addiction, of course, a sweet tooth or a love for fast food can be curbed. It’s all about not denying yourself unhealthy treats, but reducing your consumption of them and increasing your consumption of healthy foods. I understand your hesitation, because I was the same, but there are delicious healthy foods out there and you can start to crave them instead (in moderation). Here are some important steps towards becoming a health food junkie, along with some delicious suggestions for treats which treat your body kindly.
The first step to making a big change in your lifestyle is to learn about the benefits of doing so and the negatives of continuing with any bad habits you’re currently displaying. It’s all about the mind, at the end of the day. You’re probably looking at your stomach and thinking, “no, it’s all about this greedy thing.” Well, in a sense, you’re right. Our guts do control our emotions and thoughts, given that bacteria in our stomach controls our minds, but I won’t get into that. The point is that you have to learn to retrain your thoughts and desires.
You have to learn that you can nourish your gut without necessarily caving in to unhealthy wants, and, in fact, you’ve probably realised countless times that junk food doesn’t always settle well with your stomach anyway. Food should be making you feel better and not worse. You’re probably thinking that unhealthy food definitely does that, but junk only makes us feel better in the moment; our taste buds might be happy, but our bodies are not. If you want to start feeling better after eating, you need to start giving your body what it needs. As soon as you realise how great this is for you, along with how great it feels, you’ll find that you crave the foods which give your body a boost.
Everything in moderation.
As I said before, it’s okay to have a sweet tooth. In fact, I’d encourage it. What I would not encourage, of course, is losing control of that sweet tooth. A treat should be exactly that: a treat. You’ve had a healthy lunch, for example, comprising of a ham and lettuce sandwich and a banana. Of course you can treat yourself to a Twix afterwards. Your body needs balance, and so does your mind. If you deny yourself any treats whatsoever, which is usually the mantra behind “fad diets” through which people starve themselves, you’re only going to slip back into your old ways further down the line. When you fall off the wagon, you’ll binge on unhealthy stuff. If you treat yourself to a little chocolate every day, and maybe a takeaway every Saturday, then you’ll curb those cravings, as you’ll realise that you can still eat naughty food now and then.
Consistency is the key. If you want to avoid fad diets, which do your body more harm than good when you most likely fluctuate behind binging and starving yourself, you need to view healthy eating as more than a “chore”. It has to be part of a balanced lifestyle. You can see healthy food as the nourishment your body needs after a long and tiring, whereas chocolate or chips can be a small afterthought or a weekend treat.
Honestly, if you’re shrugging your shoulders at the concept of superfoods, you haven’t really tried them. Adding cucumbers to my meals every day really livened up otherwise boring dishes, but I also found that this watery, refreshing vegetable gave me a tonne of energy after my meal. My ham sandwiches are usually great, but they don’t give me as much energy or reduce my headaches in the same way that cucumber does.
This wasn’t a placebo effect, because I had no preconceived expectations when I was trying out cucumber; I just thought I’d spice up my sandwiches a little, initially. There are other great concoctions containing superfoods, such as apple cider vinegar, which can achieve the opposite to most food out there and help you lose weight: http://thealternativedaily.com/lose-weight-with-apple-cider-vinegar/ I’m a bit of a superfood fanatic, but the effects of most foods I’ve tried within this category are definitely noticeable. I’m not saying you’ll eat a banana and feel a jolt of adrenaline, but, unlike junk food, superfoods just feel... refreshing. When you’ve eaten a few of them for a week or two, you’ll start to feel a little bit of a spring in your step. Still, that could just be the lack of fatty chips or pizza in your digestive system.
Carbs are great, but sitting around isn’t.
A lot of people get far too hung up on what they’re eating and not what they’re doing throughout the day. Don’t get me wrong - I love food. We all do, and that’s why many of us obsess over what we should or should not be eating. The point of everything I’ve said so far, however, has been that you should just focus on balancing your overall lifestyle. Don’t give up fast food, but don’t ignore healthy food. There’s so much more to being healthy than what you eat, and the life you lead affects the food you need anyway.
A lot of people say carbohydrates are bad, but they’re another necessary part of a balanced, varied diet and lifestyle. If you lead quite a sedentary lifestyle, then carbohydrates might cause you to put on some weight, but so will anything you eat. If you start leading a more physically active routine, you’ll find that you not only get into a healthier shape, but you actually need those carbs to replenish your body. Humans were designed to move throughout the day and recharge our bodies through food. That’s the cycle.