What Getting Rid of Junk Food for a Week Made Me Realize

I have a lot of bad habits. I also love challenges. That’s when I got the idea that maybe I should be writing, not just about my challenges in everyday life, but self-imposed weekly/monthly challenges that challenge me to be healthier or a better person or in some cases both. I took to Twitter, created a poll asking what challenge I should take on first. The options were: no junk food for a week, ten minutes of meditation every day for a week, or random acts of kindness.

All of these were going to be challenging in their own way. Random acts of kindness? I’d actually have to stop focusing on my whirlwind, hot mess of a life and think of fun ways to be kind to random people. Ten minutes of meditation? I’m not entirely sure I can sit in one position for that long, never mind that I’d have to learn to calm my mind. What does calm even mean? No junk food for a week? Are. You. Kidding. Me. As it turns out, you weren’t kidding. An overwhelming number of the people who voted said I should give up junk food for a week. I don’t think you understand how much I love eating crap food.

My favorite food is pizza, closely followed by chocolate ice cream with peanut butter. As a child, I probably had too much sugar, not because my parents weren’t attentive to my diet, but because when it came to snacking I was a constant grazer and I just really, really love sweets. Brownies, get at me. Cookies? They better have chocolate chips. And when I’ve finally filled up on sweets and start craving something salty toss me your chips, pretzels, and extra buttery, extra salty popcorn. I love junk food, but I also love challenges. So I did it *makes face that insinuates that I may have failed more than once and I don’t feel guilty about it (whoops).*

Day One:

First, I established just what exactly I can and cannot eat. This is what I came up with:

  1. No chocolate.
  2. No pastries.
  3. No cookies, cake, donuts, or muffins.
  4. No ice cream.
  5. No white bread.
  6. No chips.
  7. No soda or alcohol.
  8. No food that doesn’t meet the 1:10 ratio of protein to sugar.

I let myself have one vice, pizza because I can’t part with something that is a part of my soul. Monday was fairly easy. Then I got to my job and there were cookies in the office. Cookies! I held out though. No crap food. I made it through day one.

Day Two:

It was a busy day at work with a career fair happening. In between emailing potential interview leads, working scan in, and checking out the employers for myself, I lapsed. On day two, I know, I couldn’t even believe it was happening myself. In the midst of a headache and the career fair, I grabbed a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. I unwrapped it, put it in my mouth, chewed and savored the taste, and then right before I swallowed the candy it hit me. It was candy. So instead of spitting it out, I ate it. And that was the end of the challenge. Just kidding.

Day Three:

Very uneventful. No extra temptations from work or at home. I went to Target and bought some Valentine’s Day candy on sale because I love sales as much as I love sweets.

Day Four:

Otherwise known as The Day of Ruin. My intent for completing this challenge without breaking was good. My will however is weak. It started off with one situation and it just snowballed into me binging on sugar by the end of the night. The trigger: The office was having it’s February birthdays Birthday Party and the treat for the celebration was cookies and ice cream. Now, I understand I could have stayed strong. I could have said no. But cookies and ice cream? At a birthday party? That’s just like saying, “No, I don’t want your birthday treat and I don’t want to celebrate your birthday.” How rude is that! I couldn’t be that person. So I ate the delicious chocolate caramel truffle ice cream with the crunchy homemade cookie and I enjoyed every second of it. #NoShame.

Then I got home and the jar on the table was full of Oreos. I had four. That’s when disaster struck. I remembered the Valentine’s Day candy I had stored away. One Fun Dip, one Lindt truffle, and two Ghirardelli squares and a Modelo later I felt as guilty as a kid who opened their Christmas presents early and got caught. To be honest, the sugar didn’t even taste that great. The Modelo could never taste bad, but I didn’t need it.

Day Five:

Chocolate is my lover and you can’t keep us apart. That’s what I thought as I ate one delicious raspberry filled Ghirardelli squares. That’s when I had a bit of a realization. The best part about junk food is that first taste. After that it can start to feel heavy and weigh you down.

Day Six:

Uneventful and I’m back on that no junk food grind. I feel lighter, but that just may be because it was a good week and it’s Saturday and I’m almost done with this challenge. Pizza has been my saving grace. I ate it three times this week. I probably should have cut that out too, but I just couldn’t bear it.

Day Seven:

I literally counted down the hours. My roommates had to talk me into not diving into my chocolate two hours before midnight. I set an alarm on my phone for exactly midnight and I ate one Lindt truffle to cap off the week.

To be completely honest this week wasn’t easy for me. I failed many times. But I kept going. In one week of cutting out most of my sugar and empty carbs I lost four and a half pounds. That made me wonder how much food had I been consuming that was actually promoting weight gain? My exercise plan didn’t change from the previous week. If anything I ate more pizza than I normally do. To compensate for the lack of sweets I ate more fruit and drank more almond milk. Whatever I did it seemed to work.

 

Do you think you could survive a week without junk food?  I’d like to see you try and to hear about it if it’s something you’ve already tackled. And because I enjoyed torturing myself so much I decided to do another challenge for March. I’ll be taking reservations for dinner soon. Thanks to the faithful voters on Twitter I will be cooking dinner every day for seven days. Keep me in your thoughts because the last time I cooked I set the fire alarms off and I cooked enough food for five people…

Keep it messy and beautiful everyone.

-Taylor

 

 

 

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