The Thing About Junk Food
A few weeks ago, a friend told me to stop consuming junk food, except it wasn't in reference to, well, actual food. In the most motherly way possible, she told me to stay away from the things she considered toxic to me. I stared blankly at her, unsure of how I felt about the analogy. There was something in my life she found detrimental and I didn't want to admit it. I think a part of me hated the way she disparaged the one thing I had come to love most: the junk food I was consuming. It was cheap, accessible, and satisfying. In many ways, it gave me what I wanted and made me happy. Still, I couldn't shake her insistence, that whatever I was consuming was harmful to me somehow. To me, I was being spoon-fed an upscale meal, laden with the finest delicacies available on this planet. This was the dream of kings and queens. Anyone calling it junk food wouldn't know any better. Besides, who was she to tell me what's considered junk? But I knew my immediate reaction essentially told myself I had something to defend, as if I needed to justify my choices. Whatever is not most obviously considered right is almost always wrong, or at least requires some sort of questioning in regards to its actual benefits.
If I had given myself just five minutes to think over what was said, I would've known she was right. I was feeding myself junk food by the dozen and had little desire to switch my diet; as a matter of fact, I wanted more. The thing is, no one ever said junk food doesn't taste good. Of course it's palatable to the mouth. If it weren't, there would be no argument. The only reason why junk food even captures such a wide array of different opinions is the mere fact that it's wanted by so many people for the taste and only that. Nobody denies it's bad either, usually acknowledging its deficiencies in a defeated manner or with a promise that the habit won't last. We all know how that usually turns out.
So I was stuck in a situation that provided me with the one thing I coveted above all else, while also knowing it wasn't exactly like feeding antioxidants by the dozen to my body. There was no balance between the two. In a way, it was like pursuing a grand prize that seemingly promised death, you know, a little like those lottery winners who end up regretting ever "winning." Maybe the question was whether I thought feeding my body junk food was worth it. At least if I wanted to consume a Big Mac a day, exercising would offset some of the negatives. But here, I couldn't do one thing in order to prevent another. Agreeing to consume this junk food levied ignorance on my part, maybe a testament to what I truly wanted and valued.
I hated the assumption of me being somehow inadequate if I wanted to eat this bag of potato chips. My friend was probably right: I shouldn't touch this food at all. I knew what she was warning me about and, for the most part, I agreed with her. Yet, I knew if tempted enough, I would gorge on the meal, fully satisfied for the time being, and hopefully for the foreseeable future. I told myself I would resist the junk food because I knew it was the right thing to do. But then again, how often do people ever resist a piece of chocolate cake? It's only easy when it's miles away from your nose and that was how I decided I would keep the junk food away from me, with a purposeful hated and disgust for all things chocolate.
But I caved today. And yesterday. And the day before. You get my point.