Do you think you can help me figure this one out?
I have always been fascinated by what drives people, what motivates them. I want answers. I want to know why people do what they do.
I want to know why some people are still eating crap on the regular.
So, it’s 2015. Considering the age that we live in, it’s hard to plead ignorance when defending our unhealthy eating habits. Information is readily at our fingertips. On top of that, many of us read the read the health labels on our food, read the news reports, and watch the documentaries on how food affects our bodies.
There have been a few arguments put forward regarding the explanation behind a consistently junky diet.
The first one that comes to mind is that healthy eating is more expensive. Is this true? Yes. But to put this into context, we need to ask how much more expensive it really is. This report indicates that eating healthy isn’t too much more expensive; in fact it only costs an extra $1.50 per day. And I’m a big believer that if you plan your meals right and keep your eyes open for deals, that its really pretty much on par.
The second argument used quite frequently is convenience. But this isn’t the 90’s anymore! Most convenient food vendors and fast food joints offer healthier options, you just have to know what they are (skip the ceaser salad by the way, you might as well get the burger). I enjoyed this article on Buzz Feed because it breaks down healthier options at some of the most popular fast food restaurants.
So what is it really? My intuition tells me that the answer is something much deeper. Because we know that pizza offers little nutritional value. You know what pizza is great for? Filling a void. A hunger void. And sometimes an emotional one. But a void none-the-less. Yet it remains a staple in the diets of most North Americans.
Eating healthy is medicine. It fuels the body properly and reduces the chance of illness. A healthy diet means you will ingest the nutrients required to keep you operating at your best. And if that isn’t enough, eating healthy is also a preventative measure against:
- Heart Disease
- Cognitive Impairment
So despite knowing the power of a healthy diet, we still choose to deny it for ourselves. We still incorporate a large amount of junk and fast food into our diets. I want to know why.
I’m not posing this question because I’m a saint and therefore couldn’t possibly understand the “other side”. Quite the contrary. I want to know the answer because I have been there; I do go there. Don’t we all?
So to understand the answer to my own question, I’ve tried to dig into my own reasons for falling off the wagon and having a bad week nutritionally. And I think I’ve found the culprit: apathy. I’m indifferent to eating one bad meal because in my mind, it doesn’t matter. It’s just once.
The problem here is that the issue seems to snowball. We don’t realize how much junk we are eating weekly. We live in a fast-paced society in which our attention is so constantly divided that my only concern is making it hour to hour. So when I’m ‘splurging’ on a sugary latte and a muffin at starbucks to make it through a whirlwind of an afternoon, the last thing on my mind is the A&W Teenburger I had yesterday.
It’s part of our culture. Being busy is a status symbol. So we bombard ourselves with immense amounts of work, socializing, and other hobbies and functions. We take little time to stop. When we do stop, our attention is taken over by social media. We’re not living slow. We’re not thinking anymore. We’re not conscious enough. And therefore we’re not facing reality.
We are, in fact, so busy that we’ve almost lost touch with the reality of our diets; we’re not seeing how bad our eating habits really are. We’re in denial of our current situation.
So here’s what I think:
apathy (for current bad choice) + denial (of previous bad choices) = continual justification for unhealthy eating choices.
It’s just a theory. In truth, I believe that the reasons behind it really come down to the individual person, with varying degrees of different factors at play.
But I think that this equation would pretty much nail it for me.
What do you guys think? What causes you to fall off the wagon?