junk food

Overcoming the Junk Food Snacking Syndrome

We all love eating. Who doesn’t? And as bad as it may sound, a lot of folks love snacks… the kind that makes any nutritionist go bonkers.

Salty treats, sweets, caffeine, soda, you name it, we all want it. Personally, if my body was sore all over and I was made to choose between chiropractic care and a hefty slice of blueberry cheesecake, guess which one wins?

Yup. Bingo. Comfort for the stomach wins over relief from body aches.

But the thing is, it’s also not lost on me that I should start taking better care of my body. So I exercise regularly and get plenty of rest to allow my body to recuperate. I usually do my best to eat healthily by watching my carb intake, saying no to soda, and avoiding fatty foods.

Except for bacon because bacon is life.

Generally, I’m living a healthier lifestyle compared to others. But it hasn’t always been this way.

Confession #1: I could singlehandedly down a tub of ice cream in one sitting and eat a big bag of M&Ms Peanuts like chips and not feel guilty about it.

I grew up with a sweet tooth. M&Ms Peanuts and ice cream have been my favorites since childhood. Unfortunately, I never got over them as an adult and kept the habit. Things are a lot better now, though.

Confession #2: I have a stash that I hide from my kids.

Don’t roll your eyes on me. If you’re a parent and you’re in the same predicament, you know you would totally do that, too!

If finishing a whole tub of ice cream doesn’t get on my conscience, hiding snacks from my kids do. Well, at least just a little. I still have to look out for number one, right?

Confession #3: I gulped down Vendo coffee, a couple of Snickers bars, a couple of donuts, and a bottle of Pepsi five times a week for almost a year.

This was the worst stage ever. I was working erratic shiftings for about a year. It’s like one week I’m on a graveyard, then the following week I’m working the morning shift, then back to the night shift, and then mid-shift. It was tough, to say the least. My body clock was so messed up that I had to resort to sweets and caffeine to keep me awake.

Then we had our annual physical check-up. It was that time, about a decade ago, that I was diagnosed as a borderline diabetic. That was a harsh wake-up call for me.

I realized I’m not getting any younger, and my kids were still young, so I need to make sure I do my best to be healthy for them. Instead of spending all my money on maintenance and treatments, I decided to change my lifestyle, especially my diet.

How to Overcome Junk Food Snacking to Stay Healthy

potato chips

Plan well.

One of the things that could help you recover from and get over unhealthy snacking is planning your schedule well. Whether it’s your daily or weekly schedule, if you plot out how your activities will go, you can thoughtfully include your meals in it.

A well-coordinated and planned schedule will most likely help you avoid going to fast-food restaurants or buying sweets and soda to tide you over to the next meal. By deciding what your meals are ahead of time, it gives you better control over what you eat and when to go to the grocery to buy ingredients.

Have healthy snacks stocked.

That being said, it might be easier to just stuff your grocery cart with bags of chips instead of preparing healthier snacks. But if you think about it, would you sacrifice your health just because of a little inconvenience?

It is better to stock up on fruits and veggies as substitutes for salty and sugary treats. Instead of munching on potato chips or chocolate bars, you can go for carrot or celery sticks with cream cheese dip, some fresh strawberries, and yogurt, or just simply peel an orange and enjoy it. They’re healthier alternatives to boosting your energy, especially during afternoons, when our energy levels start to dip.

Drink lots and lots of water.

When our brains are fatigued, our bodies ask us for more energy, which we instantly equate to sugar and caffeine intake. Scientifically, drinking water gives our brain the hydro-electric fuel it needs when it is drained. So drinking at least eight glasses of water a day helps you avoid junk food not because you’re filling your belly up with water but because water gives you brain the energy boost it needs. Plus, nothing beats the health benefits of water.

Now that I know better and have changed my ways—well, most of the time, at least. The struggle to load my system with junk food isn’t as bad as it was before. With time and discipline, you can overcome the challenges of junk food snacks.

Now excuse me as I get some carrots and cheese from the fridge. It’s time for my snack.

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