What image springs to mind when you think of the word ‘junk’?
Trash, clutter, rubbish, worthless, poor quality perhaps??
Using this term for certain foods, therefore, makes the assumption that they are ‘bad’. It attaches moral values to food so that when we eat so-called ‘junk’, we feel immoral. We feel guilt and shame.
We lose the joy and pleasure of eating things that often taste really good.
I get why the term ‘junk’ is often used. It comes from the ideas that certain foods have little, if any, nutritional value.
But does this make them ‘bad’? Well, if we take that view then we begin to see ourselves as bad and our self-esteem is slowly chipped away.
The fact is that all foods have a place within a healthy, balanced diet. The most ‘normal’ eaters occasionally eat low nutritional food and doing so should never make us feel ashamed.
Yes, some foods are less nutritionally dense than others but instead of calling them ‘junk’, I often ask my clients to consider using the term ‘play food’.
What springs to mind when you think of the word ‘play’?
Think about why children have break times and weekends off school. Think about why you have holidays. If we didn’t we would burn out.
We need time off, we need to relax, to socialise to let our hair down. We need a work/life balance.
The same is true for food.
There is this tendency to believe that we should all eat ‘clean’ and avoid any food that we may enjoy if it has no nutritional value. But the truth is that it does have value, it makes us feel good in small doses.
Eliminating such food is hardly healthy and it just creates a ‘forbidden’ fruit that is then all the more difficult to avoid because it is the constant elephant in the room.
Play food is just food! It is food that may lack vitamins, minerals, fibre etc but it satisfies a craving from time to time.
Life is too short not to enjoy some chocolate or a piece of cake and when you do see it for what it is, it will not hold any more power over you.
You will not want to eat it all day long because it will be a part of your every day life, just like down time should be.