Finally, my 100 Days of No Junk Food Challenge is over and here are the things that I learned from this experience.
Was it Hard?
I say it’s pretty challenging at first, but just like learning some dance steps, it gets better as days go by. You just have to be open and accept that the changes that you are doing will take some getting used to. You can’t force it all at once or do it in a day or two. The body may go through some withdrawal symptoms just like when we’re trying to cut caffeine where the first 2 days are the hardest but on the 3rd day, you’re back to normal and actually feeling better. It’s almost the same thing.
THE CRITICAL POINTS:
As social beings, it’s almost impossible to avoid junk foods 100% of the time BUT! I’m not saying that it’s impossible to avoid them. It’s like trying to find the perfect balance, really.
1. Social Eating
80% of the time we eat with other people – colleagues, friends & family. And if you are doing the challenge all by yourself, it will be more challenging. This is why it’s important that you let them know that you’re doing the challenge. Though not everyone will understand your WHY, try to inform them about what you’re doing so they’ll understand why you keep saying no to your usual food lately.
Now, if for instance, you’re in a gathering and a relative or someone keeps on insisting that you try something out and out of courtesy, you just have to give in or you really wanna try it, then, by all means, do so. Just know your limits (especially on the lechon/sinful ones) and always practice mindful eating.
There are times when you’re outvoted and one lunch day, your girlfriends wanted to eat pizza, burgers & fries, then go ahead. You don’t want to be anti-social, right? Just try to add more veggies on your plate or check out the healthier options. 🙂
This is another critical point because whenever we travel, we just want what’s convenient and please agree with me that aside from being expensive, airport/terminal food stalls don’t offer the best meals. So if you’re a traveler (frequent or not) but you want to stick with your healthy meals, you can always bring some snacks.
When we went to Malacca, it was my first time to prepare snacks for our entire trip. I know that I’m gonna have rich & tasty food and had to do my part so I won’t consume too much salt & sugar. So yes, I bought my crackers & nuts and I always opt for water.
My healthy attempt was a success, except on our way back to Singapore. We’re scheduled to leave at noon so we basically skipped lunch because of the checkout & travel to the bus terminal. When we arrived at the Melaka Sentral, these stalls with their colourful food & drinks will invite you. It was super tempting! Thankfully, I hold it up and I didn’t buy anything.
Instead, I ate my raw walnuts and some of the best coffee buns that we’ve tried. 🙂
Was it deprivation? No, I actually gave myself a pat on the back because my discipline was stronger than my cravings. In case you didn’t know, I’m very sensitive to foods that are sugary, salty & fatty so I’m really trying my best to keep them in check.
Things I Learned After Doing the 100 Days No Junk Food Challenge
1. It’s possible to live without chips, candies and processed food.
Give up convenience (at least try and prepare your own food) and you’ll realise that freshly cooked food is WAYYYYYY better than the processed ones. You don’t have to give up the burgers, but you can prepare your own. Remember the days when we go home and find a good meal on our table because our mothers prepared them? Something like that. 🙂 As for your sweet fix, ever heard of fruits? 😀
2. On Food Labels & More Choices.
My grocery time became longer because I take my time to read the labels. Beware of the “Fat-Free” and “Sugar-free” because most of the time, they are not really what we think they are.
Also, I became more aware of my choices whenever I eat out – like more veggies, change of salad dressing or having the wholemeal bread instead of the regular one. This is because as you go on with the challenge, you’ll be more conscious & cautious with your choices.
3. Discipline x Determination.
The challenge proved that discipline & determination will help you a lot. If you really want to succeed, there will be no excuses.
4. It becomes a habit.
They say all you need is 21 days to form a habit but if you’ll practice this for three months, it’s gonna be like, sort of, a muscle memory. At times, you’ll be surprised with your own decisions and you’ll be amazed. Who would have thought that I’m gonna be craving for fruits & vegetables??? My younger self won’t ever believe that!
5. Support Group is Important.
One of the most important elements of this challenge is your support group and that includes your family, partner & friends. Tho’ at times they can’t understand why you decided to stop eating fast food & chips, just tell them that you’re trying to do something good for yourself. Again, this challenge will not lead you to something bad. In fact, it will help you achieve a better health.
Don’t be afraid to share your plans and ask for their help to remind you from time to time of your goals, in case you go sideways. And they should at least let and help you to at least try. And if you succeed, maybe you’ll be that changing force who’ll influence them to try a healthier diet plan. Who knows, right?
6. Your Plate, Your Responsibilities.
Yes, there are times when we face pressure from people around us but at the end of it all, it’s your choice. It’s not as if they will force the food to your mouth. Again, don’t deprive yourself to a point that when you eat something, you’ll feel guilty after. That’s not how it’s supposed to work.
Eat mindfully & responsibly.
Three months is over but I’m ready to continue practicing this and I hope that you also give it a try. Start with a week, then extend it for another week if you can. Try to assess your mood, energy level & how you felt after doing the challenge then decide if you still need junks in your body or if you prefer proper nutrients. 🙂