Junk food improving someone’s health may sound ridiculous. How is it possible for unhealthy food to benefit not only someone’s diet, but also someones health? Well it might not be for everyone, but here’s what I have learnt…
What do I mean by junk food?
When I say junk food, I mean the type of food that is not traditionally associated with healthy eating. These are items such as:
- Crisps (Chips)
- Milkshakes (Not the healthy kind)
- Cereal bars
That list isn’t exhaustive, but it does give you an idea of the types of food I am talking about. If you offered these types of foods to most health and fitness fanatics they’d normally throw them back in your face. I used to be the same but this soon changed.
Oh, and before I go any further, this isn’t a post about If It Fits Your Macro’s (IIFYM)!
Why did it work?
I think the main reason that doing this worked was that it relaxed but strengthened my relationship with food. In the past I used to stick to eating the amounts of food that my body supposedly needed based on a ‘formula’.
I found that, those times when I was craving something, weren’t me being weak in controlling my diet, but my body NEEDING something. Giving my body what it needed not only satisfied my craving but also gave it the nutrients it needed. This has caused positive changes in the way my body looks and feels.
I have genuinely found myself feeling and looking better since allowing myself junk food if I want it. Before you think I just sit here eating Digestive biscuits all day that’s not true. I still eat wholesome foods almost all of the time, but if I get to the point where I am desperate for something, I’ll eat it. There are also healthy ‘treats’ that achieve this.
Doing this caused less stress with my diet and put me in a more relaxed place mentally with what I eat. Stress can be good or bad for the body and, whilst this could all be rubbish and in my head, I feel the reduced worry and stress has led to my body function better. Therefore, this has changed my body for the positive.
How did it benefit my diet?
Probably the most important benefit, was that it gave me peace of mind around my diet. I stopped worrying about the little things in isolation and started to take a more holistic view on how I ate. I say the last as it took some time for me to be fully comfortable with incorporating foods of this type into my diet. However, once I changed my view and approach to this type of food I was far more relaxed and enjoyed my food much more.
Trusting that eating something bad for you to benefit you is an odd concept to grasp.
Something that I overlooked was just how well this type of food can fuel you. Anyone who trains seriously may begin to look at food as fuel rather than for enjoyment. This can be boring and ruin your relationship with certain foods through repetitive eating. However, by bringing junk food into my diet it changed my perception of food groups and allowed me to kill two birds with one stone.
- I learned just how to use junk food to fuel training and recovery
- I stopped falling out of love with food due to repetition of eating it and found variance
Finally, I stopped binging on junk food once in a while. This was because I no longer ate only “clean food” so stopped craving “bad food”. Rather than sticking to a regimented diet for 6 days a week and eating the world on the seventh, I found balance. If I felt like having a rocky road chocolate in work I’d have one rather than denying myself it and ten eating ten of them at the weekend.
Is it for you?
This is a tough one. For me it was the flexibility I needed to stop ruining eating well for the majority of the time by eating awfully for a couple of days. I found it easier to indulge more frequently in smaller amounts than more sporadically in larger amounts. However, I understand this may not work for some people.
It still takes will power and I found I did have to be careful to not to over-eat junk food. This might not be the best option if you struggle with will power anyway.
It also took some time to get comfortable with being more relaxed on my diet day-to-day. I understand that this may also be difficult to get your head around. Trusting that eating something bad for you to benefit you is an odd concept to grasp. However, I found the trick is to look long-term and not short-term. There’s also a really cool article on how your diet can evolve by doing this here.
The only real way to find out is to try it for yourself. That’s what I did and it worked for me.