Everyone knows the bedrock of a healthy diet is quality protein, fat, and vegetables…so why are so many of us overweight and obese?
Let’s be clear about one thing…
You Don’t Have to Become a Food Monk…
I personally have a love affair with ice cream. Pizza, nachos, Thai food, sushi, and a quality cocktail are up there on the list of treats that I don’t go without for long. And eating healthy doesn’t mean you don’t have to go without them either. Whether you want to lose weight, get stronger, or simply stay healthy, what you need is a gameplan, a strategy, and an understanding of the basics.
Healthy eating is one of the most challenging aspects of life these days. We’re constantly tempted by manufactured food that is specifically designed to prey upon our desires and addictive tendencies. Throughout the majority of our evolution, we’ve had very limited access to highly caloric foods that contain sugar, starch, and fat. Our ancestors’ survival oftentimes depended on seeking out and consuming these foods with reckless abandon in order to survive. That reward system still exists in our brains today….unfortunately for us, foods high in sugar and fat are now easily obtainable. In an ironic twist, eating those foods with reckless abandon today jeopardizes our survival rather than prolonging it.
Food companies and restaurants are deliberately trying to make you eat more. It’s simple economics. More product sold per customer = more profit. They have millions invested in ensuring that their food is tempting and rewarding enough that you will buy it, buy it again, and then buy more of it.
Establishing a healthy diet today doesn’t just mean making the right choices. More accurately, it’s a battle to avoid the wrong choices. Everyone in the world knows that it’s healthier to eat quality protein, quality fat and a well rounded assortment or fruits and vegetables. Then why doesn’t anyone actually do it? Why are millions of dollars spent on diet plans, books, and expert consultation when the solution is so simple and clear?
Because there’s so much more at play than simple knowledge of what’s right and wrong. It’s a complex mix of marketing, psychology, social cues, habits, and basic evolution that you have working fully against you to create a poor strategy for a healthy diet.
Modern Processed Food is a Drug….
There’s no simpler way to put it. The combination of touch, smell, taste, mouth feel, and perceived reward creates neurotransmitter activity that is on par with cocaine and other elicit drugs. Except worse…because processed food is legal and right under our noses all day long, whereas cocaine you can avoid for the most part. Any food item draped in packaging or devised in a restaurant has been designed to tap into your brain’s pleasure and reward system so that you buy it, enjoy it, and make it your routine to buy more of it.
In fact it’s a very apt comparison because eating and drinking processed food all or most of the time will likely kill you in the same way that a chronic drug user or alcoholic will die from their addiction.
….As With Drugs, it’s All in the Dose
Let’s get a few things straight: true alcoholics and cocaine abusers don’t LOVE alcohol or cociane anymore. They have a chemical dependency and it has become a part of who they are to abuse their drug of choice. Neither does someone who is 150 pounds overweight and drinking a gallon of soda a day LOVE soda.
For all these folks, something that is enjoyable and mildly hedonic in small doses becomes an all consuming, negative piece of who they are in large doses. If you read David Kessler’s ‘The End of Overeating”, your heart will ache for folks who are helplessly trapped in a cycle of addiction to processed food (believe me, the science backs up the ‘helpless’ part). And based on the staggering numbers of overweight and obese folks in our country, these cases are not outliers.
Getting Off the Crack…
Here’s the thing…you don’t need to eat perfectly to stay healthy or be fit. What you need is foundational knowledge, good habits, and a dependable support system. Once you have those things firmly in place, you can indulge once or twice a day like I do and still maintain outstanding health. During my last blood draw, there wasn’t a single area where I could improve my risk factors for obesity, heart disease, or diabetes. My energy is great, I’m sleeping well, and I don’t get sick often, if ever. I also do ZERO steady state cardio exercise (for more info about quitting cardio, check out my Private Training page or contact me)
Food shouldn’t be the enemy, it should be enjoyed.
I’m happy to share my knowledge and experience with you to help you build a plan for success. I’m available for nutrition consultations either over the phone or in person in the San Francisco Bay Area. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk with me directly and get more information.