After getting the mail this morning I actually took the time to look at the flyers in the “junk mail.” There were 5 flyers and here is what they offered. Not one flyer offered a healthy picture as an option. You can click on each photo if you want the details.
This type and quality of advertising is making it very difficult for the consumer to balance their eating habits. It is clear that obesity has become a major growing problem destroying the quality of human life at an astronomical cost physically, mentally, emotionally and financially. How do we overcome the advertising blitzing campaigns these mega corporations inundate us with on a daily basis? Do they care that obesity destroys people while using their money for self gain? What can the consumer do to reverse this trend?
Just like any addiction, we need to recognize that food addiction is a reality. It controls our minds and dictates our actions. We know these “food” choices are bad choices, yet the addiction compels us to repeat the same behaviors over and over again. We can lay blame on the corporations, but the reality is they are providing a product the consumer wants.
Grocery stores take full advantage of this knowledge. There stores are designed to “feed the frenzy”. What type of foods are located at the registers? The healthier foods are usually found around the perimeters of the store. Consumer traffic is monitored to gain advantage for best food sales. Have you ever thought what percentage of food in a grocery store is even healthy? So, how do we turn the tables around to expose ourselves to a better quality food in a friendly environment while supporting our local businesses that continue to meet our needs?
Throw away coupon flyers for food. Don’t tempt yourself with the “low cost discounts”, because they don’t save you money in the long run. If you need prescriptive medications; if you can’t perform basic activities because of your weight or your health; if the result of these foods require surgery or kill you, they really weren’t discounts after all.
If you need heart surgery, you don’t go to your family medical doctor for the procedure. In the same thinking, if you need meat, go to the best meat source, the butcher. If you need produce, go to a farmers markets. Use grocery stores as the “fill in” rather than “FOOD CENTRAL.” This will take you out of an environment filled with temptation and place you in a smaller, more personable environment with healthier choices, better customer service and better selections to choose from.
Reduce the frequency of using fast food restaurants. I use the term BALANCE all the time. It’s not about abstaining; it’s about redistributing the frequency and quantity of less healthy options. This will force the fast food industry to modify their business model offering better food choices to the consumer. This has already begun with the new restaurant classification of “casual fast food.” Chipotle is an example of this new category. Fresher foods, non GMO products are all part of this new wave.
Dare I say, prepare some meals at home instead of eating out (or ordering take out and delivery.) You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to eat at home. Concerns about food preparation and time does NOT have to be a concern. Become innovative. Learn to multi-task. Bake or broil foods while you handle other responsibilities at home. Learning this skill can save you enough money over a year to to purchase a really nice VACATION. Is McDonald’s multiple times a week worth giving up a cruise or land vacation to the Caribbean Islands?
Play a game I call “Trade a Meal.” Exchange 1 unhealthy meal or food choice 3X/week with a satisfying, yet healthy alternative. As you continue this process over time, your alternative food selections become the standard food choices. Since the process is gradual, the feelings of deprivation are avoided. This also reduces cravings because hormones that trigger cravings are no longer activated.
All of these steps lead to better SELF CONTROL. Improving self control leads to an increase in SELF CONFIDENCE. Instead of the vicious cycle that most of us follow, this new road will be more palatable (excuse the pun) and easier to achieve than trying drastic measures that either fail or produce short term results.
Since many of you have helped in the past, I’d love to hear your suggestions that could be added to the list to reduce the overwhelming unhealthy food choices we’re exposed to today?