A Year Without Junk Food
Image Credit: this lucid moment
Article by Jason
You know you need to do it… you know you need to quit eating crap.
It wasn’t easy for me either, but I’ve done it. In fact, I went for an entire year of my life without eating any sugar at all and almost no fast-food junk. You can do it too, but just like anything in life that’s worth your effort — there will be challenges.
If you know the challenges ahead of time and what the rewards are, you’ll be able to handle it. We’ll talk more about the specifics of how to quit junk food another day (Done! Click here to read).
How it happened: Sometime in mid-January, one of my good friends in college and I were talking about all the junk food that’s making everybody so fat. My friend mentioned that he and another friend had once quit junk food for 3 months because of a bet they made.
At first, I thought that sounded so crazy. Why would anyone avoid all sweets for that long? We finished our conversation and that was it… we never made a goal or a bet to quit eating junk food.
But the next time I saw junk food, I just tried to resist it. I don’t know why, but I just wanted to see if I could do it. After 3 weeks of resisting just for the hell of it, I realized I had practically quit without meaning to do it. I talked to my friend a few weeks later and he told me he was doing the same thing. Weird.
The Challenges: The first few weeks were the worst. All my favorite deserts were everywhere around me. This is just a simple law of nature — if you really want to do something great, you must be challenged.
My college professors had all made rules that if anybody’s cell phone rang during class, that person had to bring doughnuts for the entire class the next day. A lot of cell phones rang that week, and doughnuts were put in front of me every day. It was really tough to resist.
Withdrawals: Sugar and sweets have addictive properties. If you’ve seen the movie Super Size Me, you’ll remember that the main character became addicted to McDonald’s after he started eating it every day. Quitting junk food and soda will bring withdrawal pains and your body will feel like complete crap when you stop giving it sugar and the junk it’s used to getting. This will go away after a while though.
People will think you’re stupid: There’s no reason to tell people that you are trying to eat better. I learned this lesson during the first six months. Guys usually didn’t seem to care, but I found that girls were pretty fast to tell me that quitting junk food is stupid.
At first, I thought I had just talked to a few people with really negative attitudes. I later came to realize that many people don’t appreciate the fact that you are trying to become better at something they are weak at. I’m not sure why girls reacted more negatively than guys, but I learned to just tell people that I was already full and couldn’t eat desert. There was no sense in trying to explain.
Do what you have to do, and don’t expect people to understand.
Increased Sensitivity: After a certain period of time, I noticed just how strong sugar really is. After my full year without any sugar products, I found that if I did try to eat any junk food, I felt affected by it. It made me feel sick to my stomach if I ate anything more than just a small amount.
Cravings Disappeared: At first, resisting the doughnuts / cookies and soda was tough. But after a period of a couple months with nothing but good food, I simply didn’t need it any more. Sure, if I were to eat it, it still tasted good, but the cravings and the need for those foods was gone.
I used to consider waffles loaded with syrup a decent breakfast, but I just can’t consider those types of things as food anymore. Unless I have some decent nourishment, I really don’t feel like I am getting fed.
Look better and feel better: This is what it’s all about in the end. Quitting junk food isn’t about just trying to discipline yourself to see how tough you are. You begin to see the results, and you can really feel the results.
Most people think it’s stupid to deny yourself of the pleasures in life just so that you can look a certain way. They think it’s a vain thing to do.
I hate it when people say that trying to look better is vain. They believe that their physical condition is separate from the person inside of them, but they are wrong. Being out of shape comes from the fact that they’re not taking care of themselves.
They are entitled to do whatever they want with their health, but trying to eat good food is not equal to denying yourself of the pleasures of life. You see, these people have a fundamental misunderstanding of what the true pleasures of life are.
The true pleasure of life is not the way a cookie tastes. It is becoming stronger and enjoying all of the greater pleasures that come along with a little self control. It is the feeling that comes when you accomplish something difficult and see the results.
They will never understand this because they believe that true pleasure is doing whatever is easiest in life. Let them believe whatever they want to, because they will only feel threatened by your success.
Note: I’m not a health-food Nazi. I ate absolutely no sweets for a full year in college. I do eat them from time to time now (not very often though) and in small amounts. Moderation is the key.
*Update* While it should be obvious from reading the article, I’ll clarify that quitting sugar refers to refined sugars, not the naturally occurring sugars found in fruits and other natural foods.