How to stop overeating on junk food

Oh boy! If there is one thing lockdown has done, it made many of us reach for comforting junk food.

Instead of healthier more filling food options. Then our tips for how to stop overeating on junk food are well timed! This could be a little presumptuous. Maybe you were the person who took on baking as a way to pass the time and manage the stress. Or maybe you sat in front of the TV more than usual with handfuls of processed snacks.

Well one way or another, whenever we start a junk food habit it becomes so difficult to stop!

The reward just feels so amazing, in the moment nonetheless.

How do we stop the cycle? How do we say no to the Doritos and the jelly babies in order to get our healthy eating on track?

Firstly, I need to state, there is nothing wrong with you or your willpower! It is so normal when we are under some stress to crave these salty and sweet, crunchy goodies. There is a huge portion of the food industry dedicated to creating foods that are not only hyper palatable but also somewhat addictive. So that they can keep selling to you and the industry wins “ka-ching”.

Marketing has also been very clever around lockdown.

You almost feel like you just have to have that chocolate bar or those chips. A lot of junk food is labeled ‘gluten free’ or ‘lower sugar’. In order to catch you out while accessing the part of your brain that searches for healthy options. Think of colours, flavours, emulsifiers and all creamy fats added that hook you while portion sizes grow and all the variety confuses you! The variety is a distraction as are the textures. So as you can see it is easy to feel out of control around certain foods.

You start to feel a little obsessed and deeply hooked, even if you are the biggest nutrition guru!

First and foremost acknowledge where you are in your life

Possibly a bit overwhelmed, maybe PMSing, but be kind to yourself in these moments. We told you we have tips for how to stop overeating on junk food. Remember these pointers when you are trying to gain a little perspective and gain control back over these foods:

1- Find a peaceful relationship with food by being curious!

Read the labels, know how much natural nutritious content is actually in this food. Which will make it easier to break down and which will keep you fuller for longer! Processed foods are calorie dense and nutrition empty. So see if what you consuming is adding to your healthy cells or taking from them.

2- Notice the marketing.

Is this food working hard to convince you that it is the best option around? Remember you don’t have to have signs every where telling you how good vegetables are, that is a known fact. When it comes to processed goods, well a lot harder work is needed to convince you.

3- Be mindful of your patterns.

Did you have an argument with a loved one and now you want chocolates and ice cream? Do zoom meetings make you shake in your boots and all you can think of it that bag of chips to help calm you? Learn your triggers and your following behavior and rewards. This is a tell-tale sign and the start of you figuring out how else you might want to work through emotions. Getting outside and taking a few deep breaths is the first step! Then settle down and figure out if that sweet treat is really going to fix the situation.

Note, as I stated before, this is about being kind to yourself and keeping aware of what is really going on in the food industry and in your heart and mind.

Good luck and please share below any tips you may have for others!



Isilda Da Costa is a personal trainer and women’s fitness specialist who, if she isn’t at the gym training, is busy researching the most up to date information for growing those muscles. She has combined her love of everything healthy by being a health coach in her own health shop in Swaziland. Follow along on @izzy.healthandfitness

Scroll to top