September 20, 2022

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Junk Food

That might be the most counterintuitive advice you’ll ever hear from a nutritionist, but I stand by it.  When I attended my first nutrition conference over a decade ago, I was shocked to see what these high level nutritionists and researchers were eating.  They even had an ice cream sundae bar between sessions on one of the days.  How could these health practitioners eat so horribly?  The short answer is context…the ice cream was a miniscule part of their overall diet.   At the end of the day, they were able to easily fit that indulgence into their day without issue.   Here’s how you can do it too:  

  • Get out of the weeds and stop analyzing the health effects of every food you eat.   There’s no such thing as a Good vs. Bad Food  A single food choice will most likely not prevent you from making progress.  Instead, put your focus on your overall actions and decisions each day.  
  • Restricting 100% from junk food isn’t reality.  Trying to do so creates an endless cycle of Yo Yo Dieting
  • Know your triggers.  Are there certain foods that send you spiraling?  You may want to avoid the foods on that short list.  
  • Give yourself guilt-free permission, but try to make conscious, intentional decisions when it comes to junk food.   Look inward by taking notice of your thoughts/feelings.  Is it worth it?
  • There are other considerations beyond just your physical health – social, emotional, and mental health are also important.  It’s about finding balance with all of them.
  • Develop a system
    • Planning/preparation are key.  Try to avoid compulsion
    • Pre-portion
    • Focus on higher quality foods before and after
    • Create an “environment of success”
    • Eat slowly…enjoy/savor each bite
  • What if you overindulge?   Chalk it up as a learning experience, figure out what happened, and move on.

All these strategies revolve around the concept of “sustainability” for long-term success.   A healthy lifestyle comes down to being able to take consistent daily actions.  It’s not about being 100% perfect, 100% of the time!   So, take it from the nutrition experts, eat your junk food.


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