I cheated a little on my SP calendar challenge, just a little though, by skipping ahead to the last task which really grabbed my attention. The task touches briefly on the 80/20 rule – 80% whole, nutritious foods and 20% fun foods and this is a concept I buy into wholeheartedly. I’ve blogged before about diet vs lifestyle, I’ve commented on several blogs that I allow myself a “day off” where I eat what I want to and I don’t beat myself up about it.
It’s a personal little triumph that my “off” days haven’t halted my progress and it’s been a big learning curve for me. The trouble is, I’m aware that my “off” days cost me dearly in calories and this got me thinking about it.
Looking back at the nutrition tracker, I can see the things I did wrong (mostly involving alcohol), but I also noticed that for most of the day I actually ate healthfully. So, the beginnings of a little experiment formed in my mind. What if I spent 1 whole day only eating junk food? What would I learn from that?
It might sound a little crazy, throwing everything out of the window for a day, but I felt in my gut that I could learn from the experience. But there needed to be some rules to follow, and I have a few quirks that put me at a slight advantage when I started the day:
The rules – select better choices where possible, consider your state of hunger before eating anything, track 100% of what you consume
The quirks – I don’t snack in between meals (this has nothing to do with will power or self-control), I don’t eat sweet things (again, nothing to do with will power or self-control)
My day of junk food went like this:
Breakfast – jam (jelly) doughnut and 2 cups of coffee, 3 glasses of water. I walked into the bakery section of the local store and walked around trying to decide what I wanted. I like this type of doughnut because it’s not too sweet, but I still needed a load of water after I ate.
Lunch – KFC grilled chicken burger, half a small portion of French fries, 1 diet soda, 1 cup of coffee, 2 glasses water. I’ve never tried the grilled burger at KFC so this was an opportunity to give it a bash. It’s really quite tasty and I enjoyed it, but the French fries made me feel like a food hangover was on the horizon. Or maybe it was the combination of both, I’m not sure but I needed more water to feel better.
Dinner – 1 packet of 2-minute noodles topped with chakalaka (local fare from around my parts - it’s a spicy, vegetarian dish which can be bought in small cans), 2 bottles of dry cider, 1 cup of coffee, 4 glasses of water. This is one of my favourite meals, and you have to try it before you form an opinion...trust me! I thoroughly enjoyed this meal, but I needed water again afterwards.
My husband pulled out pretzels sometime after dinner and I actually turned them down (I did what???) because I just didn’t want them. I had a headache (think food hangover), I was full from all the liquid and I really didn’t feel like anything else. I’d had my fill of junk for a while.
What I learned?
My day of junk food only took me over my calorie range by a total of 4! Who knew that there was a way to do this “legally”? I must have missed that memo because I honestly thought an off-day had to break the calorie bank. Considering my nutrition tracker, I noticed 3 things which, when compared with previous “off” days, seems to be a consistent factor:
My sodium count was through the roof, which I think is because of all the processed food. My diet is loaded with fresh produce, piles of it, and it seems that’s how I keep my sodium intake at a reasonable level. A day of fast food = big quantities of salt, and probably trans fat too.
Both my protein and carb counts were too low – the only conclusion I can draw here is that there is little or no nutrition in junk food. Ok, I knew that, but I’m a seeing-is-believing kind of girl...now I’ve seen it, I know that the only benefit of junk food is its taste and even that is brief.
So it’s 80/20 all the way for me and I feel like I’ve won a huge battle with this experiment! On to victory now...