A Tribute to Junk Food

Sep 27, 2016 | Autobiographical, Health & Wellness (Physical)

Published: Sweet Tooth Nothings (September 25, 2016), The Good Men Project (September 27, 2016)

Yes, you read that correctly. This is a sincere tribute to junk food, as written for the blog of a certifiable health nut (looking at you, Ariel).

I offer this without apology and only a modicum of regret. The regret, of course, is for the years of life I have irretrievably lost due to the damage these years of excess have left on my body. If I don’t improve my habits, even more will be lost in the future. This is the dark cloud that hangs over the head of every junk food aficionado.

At the same time, there are genuine pleasures to be had from eating unhealthy foods. This is true for all of the poisons we put in our bodies – the alcohol we drink, the plants we smoke, anything we somehow ingested your carelessness. Yes, our culture ostensibly encourages healthy lifestyles, and as a result we are trained to feel shame when we indulge in vices that harm our bodies…. But does that mean we should necessarily feel compelled to do so?

I’d argue that indulging in an unhealthy junk food habit is a complicated decision, part idealistic and part pragmatic. We enjoy the tastes of our favorite cuisines – I’m personally a salty guy myself, and am fortunate in being less inclined toward sweets – and decide that life would be too bland without their presence. Similarly, we recognize that our bodies have grown accustomed to these unhealthy habits and that breaking them would be more trouble than it’s worth. There is a reason why 95 percent of people who lose a significant amount of weight gain it back within five years. It can absolutely be done, but it’s obviously a struggle, and realistically speaking that will impact its rank amongst one’s priorities.

This is not me urging fat acceptance, so to speak, as it is fat realism. If we’re going to struggle with our weight and with our vices, why not at least enjoy the flavors of our favorite junk foods while we indulge? And while we should always strive to get healthy, why hate ourselves in the now?

If the people who care about us want to help, the best thing they can do is give us advice when we ask them questions. Transitioning into any new lifestyle requires a great deal of learning, so it is always important to have supportive and positive influences as you prepare for this major change.