Do you sometimes feel out of control when it comes to food? Not to worry, it is normal to have these feelings… These types of foods are designed to push us towards them and overeat. Companies design their products to get in our heads and bodies and consume. Just glad I am not in that business – I don’t think I would be able to sleep at night…
Here is how they do this to us – and what to do about it.
- Marketing Tricks
- Big Portions = Good Deal
- Ample Variety
- So MANY flavours
Packaging is designed to make foods seem good for you. They are bright in colour and may even have cartoon characters or celebrities on them creating positive associations to these foods. You may even see a food say “You Deserve It” on it encouraging you to reward yourself for your hard work. And the biggest trick these days is using buzz words like “organic” or “gluten-free” to create an illusion that it is a “healthy” product.
If you dig deeper, these products may not be at all different than the next product when it comes to its overall nutrition. They are trying to trick you.
Big Portions = Good Deal
Who doesn’t want more food for less money. With processed foods you often have the option of “supersizing” for only a fraction of a price. But you are not only supersizing the quantity, you are supersizing the calories and the quantity of unhealthy nutrients.
Treats and goodies are comprised of many different flavours and textures. So many different options that could please us forever. If you take a look at a food like a banana. It is one single flavour and one single texture and is harder to overeat. And then you take something like trail mix for example. In one handful you could get anything from a cheese stick to an M&M to a Shreddie.
So MANY Flavours
It’s like a party in your mouth and we want to continue that party all night long! In the olden days, we prioritized calorie-dense foods to help us survive. And we still have this in our blood to this day. Manufacturers use this fact and try to create calorie dense food that is hyperpalatable junk food… These businesses I tell ya…
How do they do this:
- Combine Salt, Sugar and Fat to make it irresistible
- Easy to Eat – No effortful chewing
- Immediately delicious
- High in Sugar or Fat
- Melted Down Easily
Now that we know that the manufacturing and processed food industry does everything in their power to control our eating habits, we need to figure out how to stop them! These foods may be delicious but we can…
Use These 7 Strategies to Stop Overeating Junk Food:
- Notice Your Chewing
- Evaluate Your Pantry
- Look for Habit Patterns
- Find Habits that Support Your Goals
- Put Quality Above Quantity
- Slow Down
- Be Nice to Yourself 🙂
Notice Your Chewing
In most cases, it is easier to chew processed foods vs. whole foods. If something is super quick to chew, maybe take a peek at the product and exchange it out for something a little more whole food.
Evaluate Your Pantry
Take a peek at your pantry and see what you have in there. What kind of foods do you have and why do you buy them? Have you been fooled into buying something from the marketing tricks above? How many treat foods you have?
If they are in your pantry, you will eat them. Let’s fill that pantry up with good quality snacks.
Look for Habit patterns
Habits rule our world. 🙂 But these habits can be used for better or for worse… When we eat out of habit, not hunger, we can eat and eat and eat and sometimes without even knowing it.
When you have the urge to overeat, ask yourself:
- What am I feeling
- What time is it?
- Who am I with?
- Where am I?
- What thoughts am I having?
Once you take a peek at some of these answers, you may become aware of the triggers and can prevent these in the future.
Build Habits that Support Your Goals
Once you are aware of any triggers that cause you to make poor decisions when it comes to your eating, try to remove them and replace them with an activity that supports your goals.
Great Stress Relievers:
- Nature Walk
TRIGGER > EATING > REWARD
Try replacing that eating with a stress reliever that works for you!
Put Quality Above Quantity
Processed foods are usually cheaper than a quality food counter part. Why? Mainly due to the use of cheap, inexpensive ingredients…
Use the “traffic light” system to put quality first and make good choices.
RED – These are no-gos that do no help you reach your goals and we tend to over eat them. Most of the time, just make us feel sick. (Big Macs, Twinkies, Cookies, Chips, Etc, )
YELLOW – Aren’t the best or the worst choice but can easily be too much of a good thing. (cheese and crackers, etc.)
GREEN – Foods that are nutritious and make you feel good (Body and Mind). These can be eaten whenever you want. (Greens, Salmon, Eggs, etc)
When eating, take it down a notch and slow down.
- Sit at a table
- Calm environment with no distractions
- Put utensils down between bites
- Give yourself enough time to eat
- Choose whole, giber-rich foods that take time to chew
- Eat to 80% full
Be Nice to Yourself
Criticizing yourself or crash dieting may work in the short term but will definitely not work long term. Create an attitude that supports and is non-judgemental and you will be more likely to achieve your long term goals
- Be honest —> How do you behave around food? How can you support yourself on this?
- Kindness —> Work with yourself, not against
- Curiosity —> Be curious not critical
Download the tablet or printer version of this infographic and use its practical tips for understanding — and changing — your behaviour around processed foods.