11 Thoughts To Help You Combat Your Junk Food Urges As A Runner
My greatest shortcoming as a runner is arguably my diet. I’ve succumbed to junk food far too often and it’s been responsible for a reversal in my progress at some points in the last few years.
At the moment I’m faring much better with my eating, but that’s not to say that I’m perfect. Last night I had 2 Mars Bars, some fried chicken and a huge pot of Onken.
I woke up feeling wretched because of my choices. Coupled with the fact I think I’ve got runner’s knee after my 16 miler yesterday, I’m not in great spirits tonight.
Anyway here are a few ideas that you can use to battle your junk food cravings.
11 thoughts to battle your junk food urges.
- You will regret eating poorly later – I have never eaten 3 Mars Bars and thought “Jesus, that was great!”. I’m usually too busy drowning in a sea of caramel and shame. You can battle the urge by focusing not on the deliciousness of the treat but on the shitty sugar coma afterwards.
- You are eating into your running progress if you choose to eat this way – How long will it take you to burn off all of the extra calories that you’ve consumed? Let’s say that you’ve ran 5 miles today. Eating a large cheeseburger on top of your daily calorie allowance will likely undo all of the extra energy you’ve burnt on the run. My typical response to this is “Well I can burn it off tomorrow!”. In the past this has meant that I’ve struggled to make any progress with my running as I was always making up for my excesses from the previous today. Fuck that! Skip the extra portion of crap and choose to move forward now!
- Junk food doesn’t bring you any lasting joy – In fact I always feel positively miserable if I wake up with a stomach full of KFC (and that’s not to mention the KFC shits…..fuck!). The only way I’ve brought real happiness into my life is through eating properly and running regularly.
- Succumbing to junk food has a negative impact on your willpower – Once you start giving into junk food then you’re also more likely to give in when the going gets tough on a run. You need your body and your mind to be working together in the same direction to become a better runner. Every time you give in to temptation you weaken your will a little. You’re always in control of every decision you make. Do the right thing.
- Excessive carb loading on junk before a long run will leave you bloated – I subscribed to the belief that it was impossible to eat too much sugar before a race. I was wrong. Before the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Marathon I ate all of the food in the picture shown below. At the starting line I was so bloated that it dented my confidence. You don’t need to be feeding your face nonstop before a race to perform at your best. It can actually harm your performance.
- Once you start eating some junk food, then the temptation is to eat more and more – I cannot stop at one Snickers. If I’ve been eating healthily for a while and then give in to chocolate I will think I’ve failed myself and eat all of the fucking chocolate going.
- Weight gain through fatty food makes running more difficult – Running for me isn’t fun when I’m overweight. I experience chub rub, runner’s knee and shin splints after gaining weight. I’m also more self conscious when I’m out running as my clothes never fit as well. It all feeds into a vicious cycle where I run less because I feel awful and eat more junk to stop feeling awful. The best long-term solution is to cut down on the fatty food altogether.
- Fast food is never as great as you think it will be before you do the eating – In my imagination a chocolate sundae with be the solution to all of my problems whether real or imagined. Dessert may quieten my mind whilst I’m eating it but afterwards I will be thinking “why the fuck did you just eat that? Oh well! The damage is now, let’s bring on seconds!”
- Junk food will often leave you feeling powerless – And when you’re feeling down you’re less likely to run. To achieve your running goals you need to be in a place where you’re in control and excited about the future. Excessive junk food consumption can put you into a slump that can be hard to reverse out of. You don’t have to go there.
- Junk food cravings are often a sign of boredom and not real hunger – You need an action plan to do something positive when this happens. Read a book or go on a walk. If you’re feeling desperately unhappy then try masturbating to a documentary on the collapse of the Soviet Union. Work your body hard and not just your pie hole for once.
- You aren’t rewarding or helping yourself with fast food – The trap is to view junk food as a reward for all of your efforts as a runner. The irony is that you aren’t rewarding yourself at all this way. You’re actually undermining your efforts! This is not to say that you can’t have the odd portion of chocolate or pizza. It only becomes a problem when you reward yourself with nothing but crap. If you think back to all of the work you put into training for a race, is it really worth sacrificing all of that for more pie?