Friday, January 27, 2006

The Junk-Food Fiend

Courtesy of Runners World

You eat whatever you want because you believe running will keep you fit and trim.

Sure, there are runners who live blissfully ignorant of their nutritional blunders, but then there is the Junk-Food Fiend. Painfully aware of his poor food choices, but unable or unwilling to change, he has convinced himself that he can get away with eating anything and everything. "It's true that distance runners need a lot of extra energy to fuel their exercise," says McQuillan. And if your diet is otherwise healthy, she says, go ahead and eat some cookies or a bag of chips--even every day. But even high-mileage runners can't exist on junk food alone, since vending machine fare will never provide all the important nutrients needed to properly fuel runs and promote recovery.

Breaking a bad junk-food habit can be incredibly difficult, says McQuillan, who studies such addictions. "Once you develop the habit you may start to eat the same food at the same time every day or under the same circumstances," she says. "Certain foods are then used to 'punctuate' an event. So if you eat a chocolate bar after every run, you won't feel your daily run is complete unless you end it with chocolate. That's a tough connection to break."

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