Once again, I have gotten feedback from my readers about what they would like me to blog about, and here it is – the barrage of food images in the media that work to sabotage a healthy eating plan.
I know how hard these can be to deal with! I need to make a confession that will explain a bit more of my weight loss journey.
If you are new to my blog, you may not know these things about me. First I am an emotional eater and second I have a food addiction. I didn’t know this until I worked in the addictions field.
You see, years ago I worked in the addictions field, and I remember one day one of my colleagues saying that there was no such thing as food addiction. Apparently you can only be addicted to drugs and booze, according to him.
There used to be a quiz we would give people entering treatment to see if they had a potential addiction issue. For example “Do you drink alone? Do you drink and later regret it? Do you hide alcohol around the house?”
Well I said if you substitute eat for drink and food for alcohol, and ask those same questions, it shows food addiction is real. Do you hide food around the house? Do you eat and later regret it (meaning the amount or choice) Do you eat alone (as in hide and eat that bag of cookies)?
Every social occasion is built around food. Family dinners – food. Wedding reception – food. Office party – food. Watching the big game on TV – food. If people over indulge in booze, people will often try to stop the person or at least let them know they have over done it. Do we do that when someone is on their fourth bowl of chips and dip?
Then I challenged them to watch an evening of TV and make a note of every food commercial you see – whether for fast food, a restaurant, a take and bake, snack foods, etc etc. Literally to make a mark in a notepad and at the end of the evening, to count them.
They were stunned to see how often the images of food and eating was in front of their face. Try experiencing that with a full blown food addiction. Talk about triggers!
This was over ten years ago and since then, we have had a weird trend develop in the modern culture. Chefs are the new rock stars. We have developed a foodie culture. People feel free to post their restaurant reviews on sites like Yelp etc like they are an official restaurant critic.
How many of you have ever taken a picture of your food and posted it to social media? There seems to be a new rule. If you go out to eat – you have to have photographic proof of your meal.
We have a whole channel devoted to cooking and eating, including some really (in my opinion) gross shows that show the unhealthy foods you get at carnivals, or where a guy goes to restaurants and takes on their challenges like 5 pound hamburgers etc.
Drive through any town of any size and there are fast food places by the dozens, one after the other down the road. What happens to a person who is trying to make healthy food choices and see a long row of -let’s say – less healthy choices like burgers and fried chicken.
Look in magazines and the same images abound. So the question is how do you deal with these temptations when trying to eat healthy, never mind lose weight.
Here are a few things I do.
- First of all, every ONCE IN A WHILE just allow yourself to indulge. I have said it before but if you say I am never going to eat “whatever” again, that is the food you will end up pigging out on. Remember the 80/20 rule – eat healthy 80% of the time and allow 20% for indulgences. For myself I try to make that more like 90/10 but that’s my choice.
- Pre plan. If you are planning on going out for dinner, look online to see if you can see the menu before going. This will let you preplan for healthy choices.
- Order first when eating with a group. That way you won’t be influenced by their choices.
- Study the menu or menu board. Even fast food joints are catching on and offering healthy or at least healthier options. One of my favourite things to do in a burger fast food place is to order from the kids menu. A small burger, small fries and small drink is better than a 3 layered burger and large fries (washed down of course with a diet soda). If you go with a salad, watch the toppings. That’s where a lot calories hide.
- When the food commercials come on and the tummy starts to rumble, have a snack but make it a healthy snack. Healthy and tasty are not exclusive. There are tons of ideas. Google healthy snacks and you will be amazed.
- Try avoiding them. If you have a problem making healthy food choices, cooking shows are often not the best thing for you. We have a nation that will watch cooking shows for hours, and will eat take out while watching. People will watch for hours and yet can’t cook.
- If you are going to watch the cooking shows, pick shows that teach and are not just (to use the new term) Food Porn. I know Jamie Oliver has some great shows on basic cooking and even Gordon Ramsey had a show where he cooked good home cooking with his kids. Some of these shows are a few years old, but still show on places like The Food Network.
- Lastly, and I have said this before, that if the junk food is not in the house, you won’t be tempted to eat it.
So there you have it. The temptations are certainly out there. Sometimes the media can seem to be food pushers, but it is up to us to learn to deal with those temptations.
I hope you find some of these tips helpful in combating these temptations.
Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!