Note: this is a multi-part series on why it’s hard to change eating habits, what needs changing, and how to change.
Have you ever thought “I know what to eat, but I can’t seem to do it”?
Many people know what they should eat to be healthy. Nutrition information is easily available these days. Healthy food can be found at essentially every grocery store at reasonable prices. So why is it so hard to eat healthfully? Why do we struggle with craving unhealthy foods?
Perhaps it is because we eat for so many reasons other than simply to nourish our bodies! We eat when we’re sad, we eat when we’re celebrating happy occasions, we eat to reward ourselves, we eat for comfort and pleasure and stress.
There is no denying that, on average, Americans are heavier than they used to be. The number of people who weigh more than they “should” continues to grow. Our biology has not changed in the past few decades, but our environment has. North America has been described as having an “obesogenic environment” - that is, our environment encourages obesity.
I bet you can think of a dozen factors in our environments that encourage us to eat more than we ought - things like big portions, easy access to food, rushed lifestyles, perception of not enough time to cook or even to sit down to eat a meal, a stressful life, and advertisements for food on tv, the radio, billboards, etc.
We are constantly being bombarded with the message “Eat!” No wonder we have a hard time saying no. What factors have the biggest impact on you?
To be cont’d - next: eating under the influence of our body and our learned behavior