You’re stopping for fuel and you head inside to pay, but then all of a sudden you’re attacked by a bag of potato chips, which make their way into your hands and you’re forced to pay for them and eat them.

Okay, that’s not exactly how it happens, but sometimes it can feel that way. When you spot your favourite junk food and the craving hits, you feel like you need it and it can feel impossible not to cave.

Or maybe, you’re sitting at home and suddenly get the idea to head to your favourite local ice cream shop rushes over you. Next thing you know, you’re two scoops deep into butterscotch bliss, but you now feel the guilt take over, remembering you were trying to eat healthy to reach your goals. Sound familiar?

Avoiding junk food can be hard. Indulgent food is everywhere, marketed at us and created to be hyperpalatable, meaning you want to eat more of it than you would of healthy food. So how do you keep from indulging too often? Keep reading to learn some tips!

  • Look forward to treats and plan them out; if you know you have a date night with your spouse or a birthday party for a friend coming up, you may want to indulge, and that’s okay! Look forward to it and use it as motivation to stay away from the cookie aisle until then. Remind yourself that you aren’t giving up your favorite treats forever, you will have them again, but you’re just not going to have them right now.
  • When a craving hits and you know you have the food readily available (either at home or the grocery store), distract yourself immediately. Start cleaning, go for a walk, or tell yourself you are in a hurry and need to leave the store as quickly as possible.
  • If you’re driving, make sure you don’t keep any unhealthy food within arm’s reach. Since eating while driving is now banned in Canada, this shouldn’t be hard, but the reminder doesn’t hurt!
  • Focus on the money that you save when you don’t indulge in unhealthy food. A bag of chips and a bottle of soda can set you back $6 or more, and for what? You certainly don’t get any nutrition from them, and they both harm your health, so you’re actually paying to become unhealthy. What kind of deal is that? Each time you say no to unhealthy food, picture the dollars that you get to hold onto, and think about what you want to save that money for, whether it’s your healthy food budget or a vacation. Still not convinced? Cutting out just one bottle of pop per day from a gas station can save you over $700 per year!
  • Before you have something unhealthy, ask yourself if it is really worth it or not. Rate the food on a scale of 1-10, and be a harsh critic in your response; if you rate it lower than a 10, it’s not worth it!
  • If you indulge, enjoy every bite and move on! One treat is not going to ruin your health or your goals, but allowing yourself to fall down a slippery slope of making a habit out of it will. Right after you have your unhealthy food, jump back into your regular healthy eating and exercise routine, but don’t feel as though you need to “burn off” the calories, just move forward!