6 reasons eating healthy is challenging (and how to fix it)
by John Bauer – August 24, 2016
The real reasons why diets fail
One assumes that diet fails because people cannot resist eating the “wrong” foods. I bow to the fact that our junk food masters make unhealthy food so very tasty and tempting, and also acknowledge that the sweet treats are enticing. Let me pose an alternate theory however.
Unhealthy food is not nearly as tempting when you have just satiated yourself with a tasty and healthy real food meal. Why diets truly fail in my opinion is usually non-food related issues – we want convenience, we don’t have time, it costs too much, etc., etc.
The truth is we need to set ourselves up with planning to succeed – diets are no different. Planning and executing implementation with as few complications as possible goes a long way towards staying with it long enough to build habits – once that is done it is much easier to transition from “on a diet” to “living a lifestyle”.
6 challenges to a healthy diet
I am linking below to a very thought-provoking article which illustrates all this perfectly. James Heathers, PhD has written a post at precisionnutrition.com titled “6 reasons eating healthy is harder than you think” in which he discusses the things he learned doing a “food stamp challenge”. James has a background in psychology, and this discussion opened my eyes, to say the least.
I am not going to engage in a lot of discussion as I prefer you read James’ excellent article for that. To give you a flavor however, here are some of the major areas he discusses from the article:
Reason #1: You need a good market.
Reason #2: You need time to shop.
Reason #3: You need to transport all the food.
Reason #4: You need time to cook.
Reason #5: You need equipment, seasonings and ancillary ingredients.
Reason #6: You need cooking skills.
Notice anything here? These are all issues not related to choice of food as we discussed at the beginning of these article. These are all those things which enable our ability to actually do a healthy diet, and I maintain some of our hidden saboteurs lie within these.
Some of these many of us take for granted – transportation for instance. But for a significant amount of the population this is a valid concern. Others revolve around time management issues – we all lead very busy lives and this I think becomes a huge issue.
How to deal with some of this
It is true these are challenges, maybe more for some than others but I bet you saw yourself in at least one of the six to some degree. All is not lost, these “problems” are just issues which need to be planned for and made manageable.
James’ article goes on to suggest some of the possible solutions, as before I leave it to you to read the article for the detail on these. Here is another list of things discussed as taken from the article:
Embrace the struggle.
Build a kitchen toolkit.
Schedule your shopping and meal prep.
Prioritize stress reduction
I think you will find some of the discussion around these helpful – it is liberally sprinkled with links to other PN blog posts with a lot more on that particular topic as well.
This is how diet success is achieved. Food choice is still number one, but actually that is the relatively easy part. The real key is planning for and managing all the ancillary issues which make it harder to follow the diet than it is to “cheat”. Willpower always loses eventually, the trick is to make your actions easy enough that willpower is not required.
For some, that may mean working with a coach. For others willing to invest some time, there are tons of resources available to help understand and manage these issues. As with alcoholism, the first step is acknowledging the problem exists – then you can move on to fix it.
Let the article stimulate you as it did me!
Link to PN article: