Most people don’t eat healthy, most of those who propose themselves to eat healthy fail. Why is it so hard to eat healthy? Let’s look at the reasons.
In the US, 38% of people are classified as obese. The fast-food industry is worth more than $550.00 billion by2020, and it’s expected to reach $690.80 billion in 2022. And the diet industry is worth $66 Billion. a survey between 2013 and 2016, reported 49% of people tried to lose weight during the last 12 months. And 95 percent of people who lose weight regain it in months or years. These statistics show a general intention to lose weight, but also a bigger pull from the side of fast food and high-calorie foods.
Does this mean the same fate is expecting you? No way, if you understand this, you’re above the average of those statistics. The only enemy is not having awareness of what is happening, which starts the compulsions and the failed attempts. And if you are aware of the factors you’ll see here, you’re much beyond any impulses.
Here some important factors causing these tendencies.
The biological factors
Fast food appeals to biological impulses, is very energetic and full of refined carbohydrates. Thousands of years ago carbohydrates were scarce. They provided it quick energy to the body when it was necessary, so its flavor tempts us. Because of the increasing chances of survival in the past, they developed a stimulating taste. In fact, in the 1700s, the average consumption of sugar in England was 1.8 kg a year on average, today is between 60 and 80 kilograms per year…
What sugar and refined carbs do, is to fill up glycogen stores quickly. Glycogen is a conversion of glucose that is used as short-term energy. This storage is small because it’s short term, and when they reach the limit the body stores the leftover fat.
Also, salt, sugar, and fat stimulate the brain to a high degree. In fact, there’s a book with that name and talks just about it. It shows that there’s a sweet spot of those 3 ingredients that make you feel good. They tried with rats, and they became more addicted to sugar than to cocaine.
Also, crisp, smell, colors, and shapes of food, increase the appetite for that food.
That brings us to the next thing…
The factors of the market
The market plays a big part in why is hard to eat healthy. Most of the food advertised is unhealthy because of the income, knowledge, and interest people have around health. Because of this, you’re constantly exposed to ads that advertise food. They optimize these ads to cause an emotional response in you through various tricks. One of them is tweaking the modalities, like adding brightness to the image, making the food contrast with the color of the background so it stands out. Sometimes they use red which incites eating, adding smoke to the image, so it triggers the memory of food is ready. Another trick is engineering emotional events and slogans with catchy verbal sounds and words that make you imagine. This get’s a message stored as long term memory. Then you’re more excited and remember the food more often.
And these ads appear in places where people relax after a lot of work, subways, football matches, tv at night and more. Those moments our minds are much more sensitive, the scientific term is suggestible. If we receive a message while we’re suggestible, we don’t argue with it; we accept it and it becomes an impulse, then an action, a sale…
How fast food ads make us act
The repetition of the ads is key. When you see something often, it becomes more comfortable to choose it. After so much repetition, the mind has imagined itself eating those foods multiple times. Scientific studies show the brain reacts the same way imagining something as doing it. Imagining yourself doing it develops a habit as fast as doing it, and if you’re in a suggestible state is much faster than even doing it. So after a while, the wish becomes a biological urge.
But do not worry, the ads can only affect you if you don’t notice it, or don’t know the techniques I’m showing you. If you see the fast-food ad, for example:
Then you’ll understand, the food is well illuminated; It has smoke that makes it look recent, and even make you imagine it’s the smell, it has a red background which makes it more desirable; It has a slogan that makes it feel like it’s already yours. And as you know, it will not influence you. You can also catch how your mind imagines yourself eating it, or the smell of it, or the taste of it. This will counteract the effect of it, this technique only affects you if you don’t know them…
There are sources where you can learn about the elements that make fast food advertising persuasive know them so they can’t affect you:
Isn’t this unfair?
You may think now, “the food companies are evil, and they’re doing a crime to humanity!”. But they’re following the basics that any business uses to survive, whether they’re selling junk food or Lamborghinis. All businesses optimize the parts of their product people respond most, when, where, how, why.
The culture is as responsible as businesses. Most people don’t get curious about their health and wellbeing. One has to become conscious of the downside of not caring or the benefits of caring. You can’t find someone to blame, because there’s always something before the effect.
Another part of the market that makes losing weight difficult is…
The diet and healthy food market
Diet and the choice of foods is another reason why it’s hard to eat healthy for people. If you have to lose weight and searched for a diet, you may have felt disappointed. Diets even though they have good intentions behind, can be confusing..
Almost every year there’s a new fad diet. Most diets are hard to execute. People become guilty because of not keeping up with them. It is important to have a clear motive, the reason to do things, instead of just doing them. All unsustainable efforts come from reasons that come from reacting, instead of intending.
Also, food seems complicated and healthy food is expensive. But don’t worry, don’t over-complicate things. A diet must adapt to yourself and your situation. If you’re ambitious, then you can build over time to that point. But don’t go faster than you should so you don’t hurt your mindset. This post talks a bit about that.
And as it relates to food, if you only focus on buying the thing that is the closest to natural as possible, Or with the least ingredients. That’s enough for what to buy. Forget about organic food or any expensive stuff unless you can afford it and it does not demotivate you.
Don’t feel like have to do it, just because you want to escape your situation. Any action taken from a place of running away from something will hurt your psyche long term, and you may sabotage. Instead, focus on finding what you want to achieve that requires that action. After you see that, you’ll be able to sustain the change and focus making gradual increase until you have the body you want.
The advertising factor and the minds of every individual then influence the next factor…
The social factor
Your social circle has a lot of power on your food preferences, dictating whether it will be hard to eat healthy. When marketing is potent enough, then it affects us through the people around us. Studies have shown that our brains have mirrors designed to copy the behavior of others, called mirror neurons. What these neurons do is they fire by seeing other people’s behavior acting as if you’re the one doing it, neurologically. This explains why we copy other people’s phrases, expressions, etc… also eating habits. They do so with feelings, they make choosing the foods you see others around you eating more feel better… Because of that; you choose them. Therefore social factors and the environment are some of the biggest factors of health.
Be conscious of what the surrounding people eat so you can choose not to instead of reacting.
Also, choosing health-conscious friends, or even inspiring figures, can change your food preferences. It’s normal to be uncomfortable around people that are very healthy when you’re not. But if you don’t get rid of the discomfort by leaving, you will by getting rid of the fat, which will make things easier for you.
And the last and most important part…
The self factor
We come to the most important factor determining if it’s hard to eat healthy. This is the factor of you and your psyche. This is the biggest determinant of weight loss. The only way the earlier factors work is by influencing you and every individual to eat unhealthy or fast food.
This relates to the content of your mind, where impulse and preference are born. For most people, their content is influenced by the above factors. But you can take control. It about being aware, knowing and noticing any of the listed things, any psychological tactics use against you, so they can’t affect you. It is the simple act of knowing what is happening and rejecting what doesn’t serve you the only thing you need to do.
An important part of your self is the intention you have, who you want to be, who you look up to, who your friends are, etc… will influence you to change the direction you’re taking. You must know what you want, why, then focus by changing your surroundings. What makes eating healthy difficult now you can use it to make it easy. Don’t worry about what you prefer, every one of your preferences is dictated by the above factors. Do that, you’ll get there. The only thing that can stop you is what I have said above, those things if you’re not aware of them you will feel bad about yourself and that will cause you to self-sabotage. Don’t beat yourself up, keep setting intentions and being aware of all the obstacles and they’ll go away because it’s about your emotions, not whether you can, or whether the food tastes great or any of that. Those are the effects of your emotions that grounded on your intentions and self-image, and whether you’re conscious of the things listed above or not.
Our eating preferences are conditioned by external factors, those cause eating healthy to be hard. This can only affect you if you don’t notice them. You can intent your way into what you want. Don’t be hard on yourself. Your surrounding is influencing you, to eat unhealthy out of your awareness by dictating your preferences. If you focus on noticing those things, both in your thoughts and your senses, you will counteract any persuasion techniques. Be patient, move forward at your own pace, understand the techniques used to you, so you become immune to them.