We have this idea in our heads that moving towards a healthy diet is about making choices. We choose what to pick out of the fridge in the evening. We choose what snacks to grab throughout the day. And so on.
But there is a growing chorus of people who are saying precisely the opposite. People in public health have for years been arguing that choice doesn’t even come into it. They blame our lack of healthy diet on our environment. And they don’t see much of a role for individual choice at all.
They argue that our environment is obesogenic, or obesity-causing. There’s a fast food outlet on every corner. Some neighborhoods are devoid of stores that sell produce. And people live lifestyles in which preparing food from scratch is no longer an option. On top of that, many make the argument that healthy food isn’t even affordable. And all of that comes together to make healthy diets impossible for all but an elite few.
It’s a miserable story and one that denies us each control over our lives. But is the public health message even true? Or is it still down to individuals? We know that some people can make changes in their diets. Heck, we see fabulous weight loss stories all the time. And it’s not just by chance that they’ve managed to lose weight. They’ve usually done one of the several things to ensure that the weight comes off and stays off.
They Prepare In Advance For Temptation
Avoiding temptation in the present is a losing battle. If there’s a bag of Oreos in the cupboard, guess what? You’ll ultimately end up eating them because you’re going to be relying on willpower. The people who are successful in changing their diets plan for the future. They don’t go out and buy Oreos at all. Neither do they walk past fast food stores on the way to work. And neither do they go on long trips without taking a packed lunch.
These people understand they need to do everything they can in advance to reduce temptation in the future. Right now they’re motivated to cut out the junk, so they make the most of it. They buy the equipment they need to make their own healthy convenient food. Things like spiralizers and blenders, like the Ninja BL660 (review of it here for those interested). They get dehydrators, cookbook stands and so on. And they do all this because they know that, come Friday night, temptation will come knocking.
They Stick It Until Their Taste Buds Change
Changing to a healthier diet is like going cold turkey. You just have to cut out the rubbish or it will continue to corrupt your taste buds. Most people think it takes about three weeks for your taste buds to adapt. And once they have, healthy food becomes a lot more enjoyable.
It’s that three-week window that is so crucial. If you can manage it, you’ll start to miss the junk less and less. And the healthy food will not only taste OK; it’ll taste great.