Identify your triggers
Unmasking the culprit behind your junk food fixation will help you quash it, says Meghan Bauer, a naturopathic doctor in Toronto. She gets her clients to write down when, where and what they eat, as well as how they felt at the time. After a few weeks, she can see the links between their cravings and mood, diet, menstrual cycles and time of day.
If you find you're always reaching for a bag of Oreos after a run-in with your boss, it might be time to rethink how you deal with stress, Bauer says. She coaches people to use deep-breathing techniques, yoga and meditation before seeking solace in a trip to the vending machine. Plus, sugary junk food can cause spikes in your blood sugar and insulin levels, which over time can cause insulin resistance, increasing your risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes. And that's exactly what you want to avoid.
Anatomy of a craving
When you're jonesing for a cupcake, it can feel like it will torment you forever, but it'll pass (we promise!). Understanding the process can help you ride it out.
1. A smell, sight or thought triggers the desire in your brain.
2. You salivate, and ghrelin, the "hunger hormone," is released by your stomach. The need for that contraband goodie builds and reaches a peak.
3. The desire starts to ebb and then subsides after about 10 minutes.