I can never forget the first time my niece tasted ice cream. She was just five months old and my sisters and I were in Dairy Queen on an oppressively hot day, enjoying a banana split. Sitting in my sister’s lap, the wee tot reached up her chubby hand and grabbed my sister’s spoon and immediately put the googy goodness in her mouth. Her little face lit up and her eyes widened it seemed in delight. Hey this kid likes the good stuff already we laughed.
I think we humans are all prone to like the “good stuff,” also known as junk food. As noted above, the interest for sugar, sodium and fat can happen at an early age. Why do you think that obesity is on the rise in North America and fast food chains are so popular? The good stuff keeps us coming back for more. I love sodium and sugar. Pass me a bowl of salty chips or a chocolate chip cook, I’ll take them both. I have a friend who loves chips and salted peanuts, but she could care less to eat a donut or slice of cake.
The thing is temptation is everywhere, and junk food is not going away. Keeping this in mind, I had to devise strategies to cope with this hard fact. For me, diets don’t work. Cutting out my fave treats all together was not the correct strategy for me. Cutting out inevitably leads to deprivation and deprivation leads to over-indulgence. This is completely my own experience. Over-indulgence sometimes meant eating 6 cookies.
This is what I applied to my life so I can live side by side with junk food and not get into struggles, battles and depression all the time. I made healthy food taste good. I jazzed up my oatmeal, salads and chicken with flavor and an abundance of freshness with herbs and spices. Pineapple is sweet and healthy, so why not add it to my salad. There! Sugar craving done! Oatmeal looks blah and colourless? Why not add just a sprinkle of cinnamon and blueberries or a sprinkle of cocoa? Another thing I did was figure out why I was over-eating at times. A lot of the time I was simply bored silly. So I joined spinning and Zumba at my gym. Great energy and good times equals boredom out the window. Or I read an inspiring and uplifting fitness blog. Thanks bloggers, you really have made a difference to aid in my lifestyle changes. Lastly, if I want the damn cookie, I’ll eat the thing. But guess what? You didn’t win craving because I am satisfying you by eating no more than 1 or 2 cookies. Craving met, didn’t deprive, thus did not over eat. The best way I live in the world with junk you ask? I exercise. I walk, run, weight train, spin, Zumba, dance and laugh until my abs hurt (it really burns calories and tightens the region.)
So junk food, let’s be friends. I’ll stay out of your hair and you stay out of mine. Once in a while I may visit you for a sliver of this or a bite of this, but let’s keep it on amicable terms. It’s not you, it’s me junk food. I’m just not the same person I used to be and I need my space. You can keep the heart attack and giggly thighs. I’m happy with the good moods and leaner body. Let’s keep in touch…but not too much.