Junk food cravings are the kryptonite for many dieters, leading to plateaus in weight loss or (worse yet!) weight gain.
Here are some simple and helpful tips on how to stop craving junk food.
But first, let's make an important distinction between a craving and hunger.
We've all had a food craving before -- yes, even the "cleanest" of the clean eaters get the occasional craving for chocolate, pizza, or French fries (especially when they're thin cut and fresh from the fryer.
At times, especially when first starting a fat loss diet, it can be hard to distinguish between a craving and actual hunger.
So, what’s the difference?
Now that you understand the difference between cravings and hunger let's see what you can do to quell those cravings and stay on track with your healthy eating plan.
One of the simplest ways (not necessarily easiest ways for some of you reading this) to stop craving junk food is not to keep it in the house.
As the old saying goes, "out of sight, out of mind."
In practice, this means that if you don't keep junk food readily available in your home, you'll be less likely to dwell on eating it and ultimately crave it.
In those rare instances when you do get a craving, you’ll be forced to have to put your shoes on, get in the car, drive to the store, buy your junk food, get back in your car, and then drive home.
After realizing they'll have to go through all that effort, most people will recognize the temporary satisfaction gained from indulging in junk food isn't worth the time, effort, and money.
Another famous saying is "failing to plan is planning to fail," which holds in many life ventures, including weight loss.
By having a plan for what meals you're going to eat each day of the week, you eliminate wasted time and energy and ultimately reduce the likelihood that you'll be tempted to give in to a junk food craving.
One of the best ways to stop junk food cravings is by eating enough protein every day.
There are many reasons why consuming a high-protein diet can help you lose weight and get better results in the gym.
For starters, protein is the most satiating macronutrient, which means it helps keep you feeling fuller for longer, thereby reducing appetite and allowing you not to overeat. 
Protein is also the most expensive macronutrient for your body to digest, meaning that your body has to burn more calories digesting it than either carbohydrates or fat. This helps your body burn more calories during the day, which supports weight loss.
Research also finds that consuming high-protein meals can help reduce cravings by up to 60% and decrease the desire to snack at night by as much as 50%. 
Some of our favorite lean protein sources to include in any diet (be it for fat loss, muscle gain, or performance) are:
It’s also helpful to keep a high-quality protein powder on hand, such as Steel Whey® or Steel Vegan, for those times when you’re on the go and don’t have time to sit down for a full meal and/or you’re in the mood for an indulgent-tasting treat that’s still macro-friendly!
Stress is a known contributor to junk food cravings.
While it may not be possible altogether to remove all sources of stress from your life, you can take action to reduce some of the stressors you willing to expose yourself to (e.g., excessive consumption of news and social media).
You can also work on various stress management techniques like mindfulness, meditation, breathing drills, and/or just removing yourself from a situation and going for a walk.
Sleep is essential to keeping cravings in check and sticking to your nutrition plan.
The reasons for this are many, but one of the primary factors is that sleep deprivation is known to disrupt hormones in the body that regulate your body's hunger and satiety cues, namely ghrelin, and leptin.
Research shows that even a single night’s sleep lowers leptin (the satiety hormone) and increases ghrelin (the hunger hormone).
What’s more, not getting enough sleep is also known to increase cravings for high-calorie foods -- sugary, salty, fatty treats.
Not getting enough sleep makes you hungrier and increases cravings for high-calorie foods (which will likely make you exceed your calorie needs for the day).
If you need help getting more quality sleep at night, consider some of these tips:
You can also try a nighttime relaxation and recovery aid, like Steel Dreams®.
Steel Dreams® contains natural, non-habit-forming ingredients that may help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety while promoting feelings of calm relaxation, helping you achieve deep, restorative sleep every night...thereby helping you keep cravings in check!
Regularly skipping meals is a recipe for disaster, especially if you’re looking to avoid craving junk food.
Skipping meals leads to low blood sugar and increased feelings of hunger, which invariably leads individuals to experience cravings and ultimately dive headfirst into the first food they set their eyes on, which almost always is junk food.
To avoid getting extremely hungry (as well as the subsequent junk food cravings), it's a good idea to maintain stable blood sugar levels by regularly eating throughout the day. The composition of those meals also plays an important role in warding off junk food cravings.
You want your meals to contain sufficient protein (20-40 grams/meal for most individuals) and complex carbs rich and fiber and healthy fats. Together, this helps slow the release of energy into the bloodstream, keeping you satisfied and energized for hours to come so that you'll be less likely to overeat and/or give in to junk food cravings.
As a former collegiate athlete, I’ve has always had a passion for all things health and wellness. SteelFit® is a culmination of all my years of education, training, and passion combined. I create, formulate, and educate daily. I am always thinking of how to give our customers the latest and greatest products to help them achieve their goals. Some of my best ideas come when I’m at the gym. When I’m not doing all those, I love spending time with my wife Jessica, my son Logan, our three puppies, and playing daily fantasy sports. I love to travel and am always up for a good cheat meal.
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