What are you currently eating, and can you make it better? Are there things you may be doing that are making it worse? The answer to both questions is YES. Healthy eating stems from conscious decision-making and forming good habits. How many times have you tried a new plan, bought new foods, and stuck to the new menu for a few weeks, only to fall right back into your old habits—and waistline? Unfortunately, it’s far too easy to slip up given what the food industry is offering us.
The Standard American Diet
Most folks go the route of restricting calories to lose pounds, and that’s not completely wrong, but it’s not completely right, either. This strategy will work if you incorporate a ton of vegetables into your diet, to add bulk and satiety—telling your brain it’s received enough nutrients. But that’s not what most people do, is it? Most people just eat less of what they were used to, typically following the Standard American Diet, and SAD it is.
The Food Industry is a Sham
Our diet here in America is full of unhealthy foods that have an unfair advantage. You’re being tricked, and it starts with the food industry’s knowledge of how our body works. We have 3 basic tastes we are hardwired for: sweet (a safe source of energy), fatty (a dense source of calories), and salty (a means of conserving fluid). Food scientists caught on to the fact that we respond strongly to these, and began modifying our whole foods to maximize those tastes. They replaced the water, fiber, and nutrients with HFCS, MSG, seed oils, artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors, to induce cravings so you buy more products.
As a result, we’ve become a nation of undernourished but overfed folks. Our collective waistlines continue to grow, as do the pocketbooks of the food industry. It’s a sham. “Persistent biological signals lead us to overeat sweet, fatty, salty foods, while keeping us malnourished. (It Starts with Food, Hartwig, 2012.)
I like to call these fake foods “food-like products,” because they really are just empty calories and chemicals. So when you eat a bowl of cereal, cookies, or candy, you are not doing your body any favors. Likewise with the engineered sweetened yogurts with fruity pie filling on the bottom. Muffins are cake for breakfast. Stop the madness and get off the rollercoaster. The more you ingest food-like products, the more you crave them, so you become addicted. Check your response as you read this. I bet denial and excuses are bubbling right to the surface.
Not a Nutrient in Sight
A few weeks ago, I watched my nephew eat a pancake with syrup and whipped cream, and juice on the side. So he ate sugar, some more sugar, fat and sugar, and sugar. Not a nutrient in sight. This is a growing body. His new cells are being made from that fuel. I said to my mom that it was not at all healthy, and she argued there was redeeming value in the pancakes. Well, not really, mom. They taste good, and if you are starving, the calories will ensure survival, but it’s not anywhere close to optimally nourishing. And optimally nourishing equals satiety. Your brain registers enough nutrition, so you aren’t hungry anymore.
It’s time to take a good hard look at what you are eating! Remember, H.E.A.L.T.H. = Healthy Eating And Living Through Habit.Set up a Free Fitness Consultation
Written by Melissa Abramovich, ACE CPT, NASM CGT, AAHFRP Medical Exercise Specialist at Elite Sports Club-River Glen
Melissa Abramovich went into Personal Training and Group Exercise instruction after successfully losing 140 pounds through healthy diet and exercise. Her desire to help others drove her forward into a career helping others to make healthier choices. She is an ACE certified personal trainer and now also a Medical Exercise Specialist (AAHFRP), helping clients with a myriad of health issues at Elite Sports Clubs. She holds a Bachelor’s degree, and many group exercise related certifications as well.