Junk food has been turned into such a huge part of American culture that it’s hard to escape from it. No matter which way you turn, someone’s offering you a chip or inviting you to get some drinks. Each time, on its own, feels harmless. A small handful of chips, or a small soda, or one cookie–not a problem. It’s okay because it’s just a little bit and it’s when you’re being social.
Then you start having a second handful of chips, and you start craving that handful of chips when you have no company at all. Your brain has created a positive association by then. Junk food comes with a good time, so you start craving it more. Or maybe you had a bad day and burying your troubles in a tub of ice cream felt comforting. So you do it again and again. Then begins the real problem. You start feeling out of control about your cravings because now they are associated with feeling good.
A paper from the Harvard School of Public Health says that, “foods that stimulate the reward regions of the brain influence our food choices and eating behaviors.” (Harvard) This means that any attempt to change a pleasurable eating habit will present an uphill effort.
But there’s good news. There are ways to effectively relearn the rules that created the brain chemistry behind these cravings. In this article, we uncover the truths behind how to stop cravings for junk food.
How To Stop Cravings for Junk Food
Truth #1. Your taste buds are like muscles, they are very trainable.
Craving junk food isn’t innate. You weren’t born with it. The cycles of your life created the circumstances that conditioned your brain to have a pleasure response to the thought of eating junk food.
Your taste buds are trained to prefer sweet ice creams during this process. And can you imagine what it’d be like if your taste buds no longer preferred sweet ice creams but other flavorful, fresh, whole, healthy foods? You’d spontaneously love them and eat them much more in the long run, and your body would become much healthier without implementing any rules.
That’s part of how I help my clients recreate their relationship with food — by organically reprogramming their diet preferences. They can get fit and master their health easily while forgetting about willpower. Those clients who were addicted to sugar are able to have candies on their nightstand while going to bed without minding them at all. It may sound like trivial progress to some, but it’s the foundation that immediately unlocks many positive changes simply because the person can keep themself in control without restricting the mind.
The above, which I call total self-mastery, is the main reason why someone who’s naturally fit never needs to count calories or restrict themself. They don’t need to think of these things at all because their body maintains healthy food preferences as an instinct, and it’s as effortless as breathing.
Through systematic coaching, you can gain that beautiful self-mastery and freedom too.
Truth #2. Your brain chemistry creates your reality.
Cravings are at least partly neurological, and in some cases mostly neurological. To test this, you need do no more than imagine something you like to eat. Imagine it in every aspect–its taste, its color, its texture. The food isn’t present, but I bet you’re feeling a physiological response to just imagining it.
These physiological responses create emotional responses–”I enjoy the thought of eating the food.”
Since there is such a tight link between your neurological responses and your emotional responses to junk food cravings, I have developed Lean Instinct Formula™ with the intention of providing you with the tools you need to relearn the restrictive rules that have made intuitive eating and weight loss so hard in the past. It has helped my clients successfully detach themselves from their worst food addictions in record time. If you’d like to learn how far this system can take you, schedule a 1:1 call.
Truth #3. Your body is resisting your goal.
A variety of biochemical and hormonal realities in your body act together to cause cravings.
Whenever you try hard to resist, your brain and body develop the neural responses to crave it more. Since you’ve been dieting with harsh restrictions for a long time, the chemical and neurological patterns of craving have become the norm and dominate your emotions around food.
When you feel an irresistible impulse to eat that chocolate, it’s because your inner chemistry is making you want it. For instance, it could be fluctuations of insulin, cortisol, or leptin, which control if you feel hungry or not.
If your body makes you hungry all the time and triggers strong sugar cravings 10 times a day, you won’t have any self-control and will overeat every day because this tendency is encoded in your biological blueprint.
And if you have chronic inflammation which makes your body naturally retain fat and further damages your hormonal balance, trying to lose weight without fixing that is like shooting in the dark.
So what has caused your body’s chemistry and hormones to work against you? Your long-term diet preferences. This is reflected in how you’ve been eating in past years, and it plays the biggest role. Now, do you see why organically re-training your diet preferences (and taste buds) in Truth #1 matters so much? That really is the foundation for making sure your body doesn’t resist the change you want.
As I help my clients turn their bodies from working against them into working for them, they usually find:
- Their cravings disappear;
- Their weight comes down without diets and restrictions.
Truth #4. In many cases, cravings are perceptions.
If you’re at the supermarket and you’re passing those conveniently-placed candies right at checkout, and then you think you crave them, oftentimes it’s simply thinking you crave them that leads you to the craving.
The craving may not exist at the beginning.
Let me explain it this way: many people don’t realize most of the so-called cravings are just thoughts to begin with. And the moment when you label that thought as a craving in your mind, you trigger the chronic psychological response towards any cravings you want — fearing the food, but wanting it more, until it really becomes craving.
It’s a very common process where people turn perceived cravings into real cravings. I talk about this extensively in Section 4 of this article.
The moment you are trained to instinctively filter out the mild inner talks of food instead of growing them into cravings, you’ll experience far fewer cravings. By ‘instinctively,’ I mean it happens unconsciously without any thought processes. This instinct is in fact a trained skill. And because there’s no thought process, you become entirely free from judgment, fears, or resistance that trigger the scarcity mindset about food that generates more cravings.
You no longer diet or overthink food. All you do is live, eat, and think (and not obsess) about food like a normal person. The rest is taken care of by the newly restored instincts. This is the ultimate freedom I help every one of my clients achieve.
Leslie Chen helps you become free from your cravings and sustainably lose weight once and for all. Learn how to stop cravings for junk food. To experience the permanent, paradigm-shifting transformation, click here to schedule a free personalized 1:1 assessment with Leslie.