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Why Some Of Your Favorite Foods Might Be ‘Bad-Behavior Enablers’

By July 24, 2019Nutrition
Reading Time: 2 minutes
The next Whole Life Challenge starts in:

So I had a thought. Some of your favorite foods may be just like those kids in high school your parents told you to stay away from — bad influences!

There are a lot of foods it pays to cut back on just because they have clear negative effects on your body. Things like sugar, grains, dairy and alcohol just to name a few.

But here’s the thinking: Are there foods in your life that compel you to behave badly around them?

In the video above, I talk about foods like sugar and sweeteners, popcorn, baked chips, and cheese and why those foods are non-compliant in the Whole Life Challenge.

It’s not because they’re necessarily bad for you. But those foods (and others like them) might be a part of a cycle of compulsive eating that keeps many people from reaching the goals they’re going for.

Sugar and sweeteners

All sugars can have negative effects, no matter their source. Honey, agave, maple syrup — they seem more “natural,” but your body doesn’t differentiate between them and the good old white granulated variety.

Even the alternative, non-caloric stuff continues to feed the beast of sweet cravings and can perpetuate a need for sweet when it really doesn’t do your body any good.

Popcorn and other “bag” foods

Sure, popcorn is mostly fiber and we can make chips by baking lots of vegetables. But food in bags is meant for snacking. And snacking is likely a habit you’re gonna want to look at during the Challenge.

Food measured by the handful and eaten in the dark is not generally acknowledged to be a great choice for thoughtful eating habits.


While not totally lacking in nutritional value, the tendency to “add cheese” may be just that — a tendency. I mean, look at the cheese section in the store. They make it so easy to add cheese in every form.

While cottage cheese, yogurt, and cream cheese (especially without the bagel!) are harder to overindulge in, sliced, shredded, and cubed cheese are often an unnecessary addition to a daily menu. (I admit it! I was eating handfuls of shredded cheese out of the bag just the other day. Gah!)

In conclusion…

The Whole Life Challenge is meant to help you both eliminate foods that may be doing physiological damage and behaviors around pleasure seeking that might be contributing to thoughtless and compulsive eating.

We’re not against you getting pleasure from your food.

But it is important to notice pleasure when we’re getting it and ask questions about whether this has real value or we’re just sedating ourselves with food as a drug.

So like anything else that is non-compliant, you can have it! But take time to notice it, ask yourself “is it worth a point?” and choose from there.

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Michael Stanwyck
Michael Stanwyck is the co-founder of The Whole Life Challenge, an idea that developed during his seven years as a coach and gym manager at CrossFit Los Angeles.

He graduated from UCLA with a BA in philosophy as well as a degree from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, and feels food is one of the most important parts of a life - it can nourish, heal, and bring people together.

Michael believes health and well-being are as much a state of mind as they are a state of the body, and when it comes to fitness, food, and life in general, he thinks slow is much better than fast (most of the time). Stopping regularly to examine things is the surest way to put down roots and grow.

He knows he will never be done with his own work, and believes the best thing you can do for your well-being starts with loving and working from what you’ve got right now.