Tales of a Recovering Junk Food Junkie
I’m a recovering junk food junkie.
Struggling with anxiety and depression leaves me feeling stressed a majority of the time. Whenever I get too overwhelmed, I eat. Basically, I eat my feelings. I don’t just eat any kind of food though. I eat junk food.
Before I started my journey towards a healthier lifestyle, I used to binge eat junk food very frequently. How was this possible? Growing up, I stayed very thin. This was probably due to high metabolism, so it never really impacted me (or so I thought).
It also didn’t help that I was a little bit of a picky eater. Okay, I was a major picky eater. Seriously, my daily diet consisted of chicken fingers, mac n cheese, pizza, and french fries; however, the most important food group in my diet was chocolate.
I fell in love with chocolate at an early age. My mom still insists my first word was chocolate. True story. That’s how much I LOVE chocolate. I begged for any kind of chocolate treat whenever my mom went grocery shopping. I craved it every time I finished a meal. If the saying “you are what you eat” is true, then I was a delicious, rich piece of chocolate cake. It completely consumed me.
In addition to chocolate, I consumed lots of candy in my childhood. My favorites were Starbursts, Fun Dip, Mike & Ike’s, Necco Wafers, Pez, etc. I could go on listing at least ten or so more options. I think you get the point.
Eventually, I ate whatever junk food I could get my hands on. Donuts, cookies, cupcakes, cake, pastries, pies, ice cream. The list just goes on and on.
I couldn’t stop, and I didn’t want to. I didn’t care if I got a tummy ache later. In the moment, it gave me a sense of security through it’s decadent taste, and there was no way I was going to end that feeling.
I stated earlier how I eat my feelings whenever I’m stressed. Well, college was definitely the most stressful part of my life up to that point.
After I started college, I began working in retail. If I wasn’t in class, I was at work and vice versa. I didn’t have too much of a social life outside of work and school. I barely had enough time for myself and the person I was dating.
Somehow I balanced it all and finally graduated in four and a half years! Yay! But one significant factor I didn’t balance was my diet. What a shock, right?
Why would I do any better in my early adulthood during college? It was my first time away from home making my own decisions, but my mindset on food didn’t change. I still wanted to eat the sugary food I craved because it didn’t have much of an impact on my body. I didn’t gain the so-called “freshman fifteen” or any weight for that matter. Tums alleviated my upset stomach on the rare occasion I needed it.
Additionally, I ate lots of fast food on and off campus. I tried grabbing a few healthier alternatives when I went grocery shopping every now and again, but it wasn’t enough. I continued blinding myself to the reality of the awfulness of what I consumed because I didn’t care about my health back then.
After I graduated college, I remained working part-time in the retail store where I worked during college. I persisted in my full-time job search, but nothing happened for several months, so I needed a second source of income. Then, I started a second part-time job at a bank.
Sometimes I had to work very long days at both jobs. My stress levels were very high, and I resorted to my biggest vice: junk food. During this time, fast food reigned over all other foods. I ate McDonald’s, Lil’ Caesar’s, or Subway almost every day for lunch and dinner. Some days I didn’t have enough time to even eat fast food for dinner, so I ate candy (mostly Reese’s cups) on my fifteen minute break. This was my life every day for six months.
My life changed quite a bit in the year after I initially started working at the bank. I left both part-time jobs; began a full-time job; raised a puppy; started a new relationship; and left the full-time job. In this span of time, I noticed different changes to my body I hadn’t previously paid attention to before. I gained weight, and my head and stomach seemed to always hurt. The worst part was my moods. I felt down and irritable a lot and almost on edge of breaking down entirely.
Then, I finally broke. My unhappiness was my breaking point. I knew something had to give, but I still wasn’t sure where the root of the problem was coming from, let alone how to fix it.
One day, I was sitting on the couch at home cruising through Netflix. I saw a documentary called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead and decided to watch it. It’s about a man who is very unhealthy and decides enough is enough. He goes on a journey to improve his health by partaking in a juice fast for 60 days. It was such an eye opening experience.
It became clear after I watched it that my problem was my health and eating habits. Now I didn’t go as extreme as he did with the juice fast. Instead I started my own healthier journey through different steps, and now I’m here.
Final question: Do I eat junk food anymore?
- Answer: Yes, I occasionally indulge in junk food, but in moderation. I’m careful by trying not to overindulge and taking control over my mind, body, and emotions. I’m a vegetarian, and every day I research more healthy and natural alternatives to food I eat and products I use. I rarely have stomachaches or headaches anymore. Most importantly, I feel happy very often and thankful to share my experiences in the hopes other people will learn and grow from them.
Check out my other posts related to this:
- Struggling with Anxiety and Depression: My Story
- The First Step to Becoming Healthier: WATER?!
- The Second Step to Becoming Healthier: Substituting!
Feel free to check out the link provided here for more information about the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.