Can You Still Eat Junk Food On A Diet?

Most of us have been taught, or even assume we have to give up all junk food to lose weight. It makes sense on the surface, foods that lack nutritional value but add to our calorie count seem like they should be exiled from our life when we’re trying to control weight loss. What if I told you completely getting rid of our favorite snacks might actually inhibit your weight loss journey?

Fad diets sound nice in concept, but generally our bodies just aren’t set up for long term success when we focus on very strict eating just to lose weight. Sure, we can stick to a strict diet for a few weeks, maybe even a few months, but long term, most people find themselves struggling with cutting out all “bad foods”. Often we find ourselves struggling with cutting out junk food entirely when we’re in social settings, everyone else is ordering pizza and beer, and we find ourselves eating greens whilst green with envy. This can lead to a variety of issues, mostly us feeling guilt and anxiety over breaking our diet to have a slice of pizza with our friends. This guilt and anxiety can lead to a feeling of defeat in our health journey, causing us to fall off the wagon entirely. When in reality, we can have that slice of pizza as long as continue to practice regular healthy eating habits along with proper exercise.

According to an article by Precision Nutrition

You can help minimize the negative effects of junk food by maintaining overall good health habits.

But here’s something most people miss: Junk food can actually charge other batteries—assuming you consume it intentionally.

By intentionally, we mean:

You choose to eat the food on purpose (not just because it’s there), with joy and contentment (rather than guilt), in an amount that aligns with your overall health goals, and after weighing and accepting the tradeoffs.

Do all of that and you might see an increase in…

✅ Social health if you consume the food with a friend or loved one

✅ Existential health if that yumminess alights your soul with pleasure—and doesn’t make you feel guilty (cookie dough for the soul, anyone?)

✅ Emotional health if small, intentional indulging helps you feel content, relaxed, and satisfied (rather than deprived and, eventually, resentful)

The result: that ice cream excursion may actually boost overall health (even if it doesn’t directly benefit physical health).

So the next time you’re craving a piece of cake, remember portion control, and don’t slack on your workout.