Why I cheated Junk-free June

I decided to do junk free June last year because I wanted to clean up my diet and eat healthier; my main motivation was to lose weight and kick start a healthy lifestyle. I decided to do it this year because I felt I needed the challenge of eating ridiculously clean, but somehow forgot how hard it was last year (kudos to everyone who actually went 30 days without eating junk).

Three days into junk free June, I was visiting my mum for dinner and told her that I wouldn’t eat what she made, because it wasn’t junk free. Cue a lecture about how I didn’t need to lose weight etc. etc. I didn’t embark on JFJ because I wanted to lose weight (well, 2 kg would be nice…), but because I wanted to eat healthier and cut out the 3pm brownie cravings.

Mum’s lecture got me thinking about my relationship with food. Ever since I moved out of home, I’ve been incredibly health conscious, I guess because I thought it was the right thing to do. I’m already gluten free (not a choice), so I don’t really eat pizza and all the delicious carby things anyway, but for a good 6 months, I refused to eat potatoes and still refuse to eat white rice.

I’m not overweight, I’m not unhealthy, but, for some reason, I am paranoid about what food I eat. I can’t eat a brownie without feeling incredibly guilty and even feel bad ordering a mochaccino instead of a flat white. It took mum’s lecture to make me realise that my relationship with food was actually really unhealthy. No one, especially no one my age, should feel guilty about eating bad food every so often.

Junk free June was great in theory, but it made me feel terrible about wanting to eat pasta for dinner or a macaroon with my coffee. I decided it was time to rethink my relationship with food. I’m a big advocate of the 80:20 principle – if you eat healthy 80% of the time, it’s okay to pig out 20% of the time (within reason). So, that’s what I started to do and this is when my indiscretions on the diet of junk free June started to become (slightly) more frequent. Half a brownie one week and a macaroon the next, was technically breaking the rules, but an important learning curve in my realisation that I don’t have to give up the food I love all the time.

There are too many articles, podcasts and blogs out there that all give conflicting information about what you should eat, what junk food is and what it means to ‘be healthy’. I got 5 minutes into a podcast about how bad grains are when I turned it off – I need my morning oats! I guess the moral of this blog post is that you need to do what’s best for you and eating healthy and clean doesn’t have to mean giving up Sunday morning pancakes with your family.

Yes, I cheated on junk free June, but, no I don’t feel bad about it. I’m learning to balance the healthy and the sugary delicious foods and define what healthy means for me. If you take anything from this blog post, it’s that radical programs don’t really work and you’ve probably heard this a million times, but repetition is key – so, do what’s best for you. And if you’re brave enough to do JFJ, build in some flexibility. One macaroon won’t kill you.

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