One Pop and You Just can't Stop...
Why it's Hard to Stop Overeating Junk Food
We've all experienced it. You reach for just one chip and end up eating the whole bag. You dip the spoon into the ice cream tub for just one bite then end up eating the whole container.
Then you find yourself frustrated, mad and in full-fledged self-loathing mode. Food companies all over are jumping for joy because they've done what they set out to do. Make you want more. Let's look at a few sneaky ways that "junk food" manufactures make you overeat.
1. Junk Food Marketing Convinces us that Processed Foods are Healthy - Visualize walking through the grocery store. What do you see on end caps, at the registers, or in well seen aisles? Bright colors, celebrity endorsements, cartoon characters, big bold print, and powerful words. Words like "organic" or "natural" are used to draw consumers into their products even when they're not necessarily healthy. Or they'll use words that distract us from our physical feelings like, "Have a break," or "you deserve it!" Health buzzwords and emotional appeals can make us perceive a food as “good for me” even when it's not.
2. Big portions make us think we're getting a "good deal". - Many of us were and still are taught to save money, not to waste food and buy more for less. Small salad for $15 or Burger, fries and a soda for $5? Burger meal seems like the better value right? What we don't factor in is the toll you'll pay for eating low nutrient, highly processed foods for a over and over again. The truth is, these foods cost less because companies are using low quality, cheap ingredients. Bigger products without the bigger price.
3. Variety Makes Us Hungrier - Who doesn't love choices right? We love to have multiple options of foods to choose from. Think of a buffet. You're way more likely to eat more food when given a plethora of options to choose from. When there's more variety, we have a bigger appetite. It's harder to overeat just one thing especially one HEALTHY thing. You'll have a harder time overeating bananas? You'll get bored of those pretty quickly but foods with a variety of flavors and textures offer more variety and are harder to stop eating.
Now we know a little more about why processed foods are so hard to resist. Let's talk a little about how you CAN control yourself around them.
1. Evaluate the foods you buy - Dig through your pantry and become more aware of what kinds of foods you buy. Do you have a lot of bright, colored packages that might look good but aren't necessarily healthy? Do you have foods labeled at "natural" or "organic?" If so investigate the ingredients and see if they are actually "healthy" or are fake healthy. Make a list of all the junk food in your pantry, fridge and freezer. The more unhealthy options you have, the easier it is to overeat so remove what you can!
2. Put quality above quantity - While jumbo sizes might seem like a good deal, keep in mind that while they might offer a high quantity, the quality is often times lacking. Whole foods will provide better quality nutrition that will help your overall health in the long run.
3. Slow down - Eat slowly and mindfully, especially if you're not willing to give up certain foods that you LOVE to eat. Sit at a table without distractions (t.v. computer, phone), put your utensil down in between bites, chew slowly and eat until your 80% full.
4. Be kind to yourself - Speak kindly to yourself no matter what your food choices or faults are. We all have moments, days, weekends, weeks where we over indulge or eat foods we know aren't the best choices. However, approaching our food choices with honesty, kindness and curiosity can help us to move forward without judgment and guilt.