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Why Junk is NOT Food – What Junk food does to our bodies

Junk Food Junkies.  It sounds comical but I am not kidding, and I am a recovering Junk Food Junkie myself.

1f491acf0137683a_shutterstock_66804169.previewFirst let’s start with the obvious. If something was labeled Deadly Doughnuts, Poisonous Potato Chips, or Toxic Taquitos would you eat it? If I was taking the label seriously I wouldn’t. And while these labels are fictitious, what we don’t recognize is that if it starts with something bad like “Junk” the truth is we already know what we are putting in our body.

Let’s talk a little bit about what this junk does to your body. You can pretty much bet that when we are talking about junk food we are talking about processed foods that are high in sugar. These types of food are very easy for your body to process, because they have already been over processed for you. And when you make things too easy for your digestive system to process guess what you do? You make your digestive system a less effective machine. Junk food is also often lacking in fiber, which also means we’re not using our intestines correctly–and did you know that your intestines are a muscle? What happens to muscles we don’t work out? They become weak. So what happens when we have a defunct digestive system and weak intestines?

Well, first digestion slows down and constipation can occur. Then there is the overwhelming amount of chemicals that are required to make the junk we’re talking about. All those long names you can’t say correctly on the nutrition labels, and of course one of our biggest enemies of all.  Dare I say it aloud? Yup, the junk food devil itself: High Fructose Corn Syrup. Guess what your liver and kidneys try to do with these chemicals? It’s trying to process them, and it’s overburdened doing so.

Do you know what “junk food” mainly consists of? Junk food is usually high in fat, sodium and sugar, all of which can lead you to a mirage of health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. High levels of sugar put your metabolism under stress and make your pancreas work overtime to give off enough insulin to prevent dangerous blood sugar levels. The high sodium in junk food can also have a negative effect on renal function and eventually, lead you to kidney disease.

And then there is the high fat in junk food. I normally like to avoid the word fat, I really do, but it doesn’t take a very far leap for us to understand that if we eat foods that are high in fat we are likely to gain fat ourselves. I’m not talking about the size of your clothes here folks; I’m talking about visceral fat gain. That’s the fat that is stored within the abdominal cavity around some very important organs like your liver, pancreas and intestines.

And do you know why this happens? Because junk food makes us lazy and lethargic because it doesn’t contain adequate amounts of protein or good carbohydrates (complex carbohydrates) and after consuming it your blood sugar levels drop which will often leave you feeling unhappy, tired and… craving sugar. Additionally high levels of dietary fat are known to hinder cognitive performance, so once again, leave us feeling tired.

So if we are constantly putting junk in, and the junk is sucking away at our energy levels, what’s happening? We lack the interest an enthusiasm to perform normal daily physical activities let alone the motivation to get in the exercise that we need in order to make any sort of progress in our weight loss journeys.

JW420Often, I have been asked what I ate in a day when I weighed 420 lbs. My answer is usually “I ate junk.” And it’s not untrue. I try to go back and think about what a normal eating day was like for me then and it’s difficult for me. But I can say that I ate a lot of junk food. Jalapeno potato chips, candy bars, and spicy pork rinds were my go-to snack.  McDonald’s, Jack-In-The-Box and Taco Bell were my favorite dinners. My vegetables came deep-fried, smothered in butter, breaded, and dipped in fatty dressing. Dessert wasn’t something I had once in a while; it was a nightly event in front of the television and usually consisted of a pint of my favorite flavor of ice cream.

I was a junk food junkie; I had to get my fix every day. And when I started feeling tired, lacking energy or was depressed, I turned right back to the very thing that was causing it.

If you have ever been around someone who struggled with sustenance abuse, the pattern isn’t all that different.  I watched my “Family” abuse drugs most of my life. It didn’t matter that they were hurting their bodies. Acne appeared on their skin, sores took longer to heal, and they looked like they aged faster because it affected their skin elasticity. They started suffering tooth decay and losing their teeth, they were depressed, unhappy, miserable, and guess what they did? They’d spend their grocery money on an “8-ball” because they were addicts.

Often times, the weight loss community gets offended by this comparison. They don’t like being considered addicts; they don’t like their food addictions compared to that of a meth-head getting their fix.  But in this community, I’m one of the first people who will say this to your face.  Because I have no problem admitting that I was once a food addict and a junk food junkie.

I’m not here to sugar coat it for you or to tell you that it’s okay, and I won’t pat you on the back for eating pizza and jelly doughnuts. I’m here to educate you and help you along the way in your weight loss journey. I’m here to tell you the truth, even when you don’t like it.

Today’s truth: Junk food is two words that shouldn’t go together in the vocabulary of our weight loss journey. It is either

A. Junk: We don’t want to put in our bodies

B. Food: Nutritious fuel that we put in our bodies to make it perform.

It’s either A or B Slender Seekers.  When it comes to unhealthy eating and junk food there simply is no “All of the above”

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

A Lesson in Distracted Eating for WLS Fitness Contest Winner

Guest Blog
By Dawn Brell 
Dawn102013-5

Dawn Brell rocking her vampiress for Halloween 2013

After a week with a few set backs Pandora asked me to write a blog about my experiences.  I have to say that anyone who has been through this have my sympathies and respect and for those who haven’t I hope that you never have to.  So we are going to talk about distracted eating and the consequences of that.  Star Date OCT 17 2013 (lol star trek humor) I was having a wonderful rib eye steak for supper. Normally when I eat I don’t do other things.  I focus on my food and eat slowly.  But this was the first time that I was going to miss my hockey team on TV. So I was trying to find it on the internet so I could listen and I was Facebook-ing and messing with paperwork.  So I was not watching how I cut my food. I was not thinking about my chewing.  You may guess where this is headed.  After a little bit of eating I knew that I had a problem.  I could tell that I had a piece of steak caught in my pouch.  It was a pain that I have never experienced.  I finally pushed my plate away and sat for probably an hour with my head on the table and rocking back and forth in my chair.  It didn’t do anything.  I finally decided that I was going to sip on some Powerade and hope that it would move.  No luck at all.  It did not move. I finally decided that I was going to put my hockey game on my phone and go to bed.  I laid in bed and just had pain, pain, pain. I decided that if I could get sick I would feel better. But no matter what I tried it was not going to move.  I couldn’t even force myself to get sick. It was stuck and it was REALLY stuck.  I couldn’t lay on my back at all because I couldn’t breathe and it felt like I was being ripped in half.  All I could do was roll side to side and cry.  It was awful.  It took about 14 hours for it to move.

My advice is to not partake in distracted eating.

I did try to do the right thing and the next day for lunch I had soup. This was the right thing to do but I didn’t stick with it long enough. For dinner I had a small grilled chicken sandwich.  I ate light all weekend but I was eating solids. I was not having pain so I thought I was ok to do that.  Fast forward to star date Oct 22. I had a half a cheeseburger for lunch and then dinner rolled around.  We were going to grill pork steak for supper.  I had a strange “don’t eat it” feeling but I had been feeling well so I thought it was going to be ok. I cut all the fat off and get rid of it.  I ate a little of the meat. I made sure that I was cutting it very small and chewing and chewing and chewing.  I thought it was going well.  I ate until I felt full.  But about 30 minutes later. I had that same horrible pain as last week.  It was horrible.  I decided that something might really be wrong and was going to go to the hospital.

 No food is worth dying for. No food is worth being in pain for. No food is worth a permanent problem. – Dawn Brell

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Dawn pausing for a moment for one of those epic “Selfies” that remind us how far we have come.

As I was heading outside to go, the cold hit me and I got very very sick.  But after all of that I felt so much better.  So I went back inside and tried to relax.  But every 20-30 minutes I was still getting sick. I was so sick and finally got empty and was just bringing up foam.  I could not even hold down a sip of water.  After about 5 hours the pain was unbearable and I had no choice but to go to the hospital.  I was not excited about that at all. I have small fragile veins so for me the hospital is basically cruel torture.  But given that I may have been having a huge complication I was going to have to endure that torture.  They had a hard time getting an IV started and blew a few veins.  They finally got the IV going and I was given anti nausea and vomiting medicine.  I was given a lot of pain medicine.  I finally started to feel a little better and was able to get a little sleep.  I am now covered in horrible bruises but a small price to pay.  I did email my surgeon to tell them what happened. I was still worried that I had something stuck.  They didn’t do any x-rays at my local hospital. They basically said I hurt my pouch and it needed to rest.  My surgeon called me to get all of the details.  I told them everything and what had been happening.  Basically they told me that I need to go liquids for 3 days and then mushy for 3 days. I am also back to taking antacids everyday to aid in the healing also. I did have the right idea in doing soup after the first episode but I gave up on it fast. I enjoy eating now.  I used to inhale my food and never tasted it.  Now I have a new appreciation for it however I still have rules to follow. I am blessed that I can eat almost anything and everything post surgery I have very limited problem foods.  But I know that I have to do this because I can do permanent damage to pouch.  I didn’t let it rest and just kept irritating and irritating it until I had another problem.  A blockage or obstruction is a common complication for us and people do get sick and sadly some of them do pass away. I have experienced that in my life actually.

I couldn't help but throw in these photos of our "How do you celebrate success" Contest Winner Dawn Brell, showing off where she has been as she swims in her old jeans. Congratulations Dawn, I can't wait to run with you in January!

I couldn’t help but throw in these photos of our “How do you celebrate success” Contest Winner Dawn Brell, showing off where she has been as she swims in her old jeans. Congratulations Dawn, I can’t wait to run with you in January!

My advice is to not partake in distracted eating.  You never want to experience this pain.  You don’t want to have to worry about having a serious complication. You don’t want to have to give up eating.  I will tell you it is hard.  Its only day 2 and I hate it about as much as I did a year ago pre-op.  So be mindful of your eating, be mindful of the size of your pieces, be mindful that you are chewing. It sounds simple and I can say I took it for granted until this happened. But I don’t want to repeat this. I don’t want to do permanent damage after the gift I was given in my surgery. I hate pain and don’t want to go through that again. I know that I need to always stick to the rules because no matter how well things are going a bump in the road can and will happen.  But acting and treating it properly can be the difference in healthy and sick and sometimes life and death.  No food is worth dying for. No food is worth being in pain for. No food is worth a permanent problem.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

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About (Pandora) The Author

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender
Jaime "Pandora" Williams

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