Hijacking Your Food Choices
You might consider yourself mentally strong, but everyone has a breaking point. We all reach decision-making fatigue at some point. When it comes to food, there are an overwhelming number of decisions to make if you have no guidelines to dictate some answers for you. The food industry has figured out how to urge you to buy and eat more than you need. Your psychology has been overridden by external factors. The food industry and social norms are hijacking your food choices.
Socially Acceptable Is Not Necessarily Nutritionally Acceptable
I don’t explicitly think that strict macro-nutrient calorie counting is necessary for everyone at all times in their life. What is necessary are some guidelines that keep people from eating all of their Halloween candy in one sitting. It is possible to eat too much. It is also possible to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner and get no actual quality nutrition due to poor food choice.
How your mind is wired will dictate what foods you crave and how much of them you desire. Food culture in America has wired us to constantly crave food (usually shitty food) in every possible occasion.
- 3 square meals a day
- Breakfast in bed
- Keeping your metabolic fire stoked by snacking small*
- Dinner and a movie
- The ubiquitous candy dish
- Birthday cake party at work
- Popcorn as an after dinner TV snack
- Hungry? Grab a Snickers
- Appetizers/ Hors d’oeuvres
- Midnight snack
- Bodybuilder diets including a minimum of 6 meals a day
- 10,000 calorie challenge
If we borrow just a few of these we find ourselves eating all day everyday.
The beauty of these conventions is that you don’t have to strictly follow any of them to become a victim of their allure; you just need to be aware that they exist. By acknowledging their existence you leave the door open for them to enter your eating habits.
Take the following scenario as an example.
Wake up: eat breakfast,
Go to work: grab a candy off the secretary’s desk.
Mid morning hunger strikes:** go grab a frozen burrito from the vending machine at work.
Lunch time comes around: you have Subway*** because you want to be “healthy”.
Back to work: Oh surprise! It’s Debbie’s birthday, guess you are having some cake.
Home for dinner: and it’s actually a healthy meal that your loving husband made for you****.
Time to sit and relax with some TV: Why not some popcorn and a glass of chocolate milk, or whiskey as a TV watching snack?
Ugh midnight and you can’t sleep: maybe if you have a couple of cookies, you’ll sleep better.
The actual amount of food consumed aside, this is a crazy way to ingest life-sustaining nutrition. Under this model, you can justify eating anything at any time of the day for a number of reasons without any rhyme or reason. A great one that I’ve heard people use to justify a mid-day candy bar******? “Bodybuilders eat six times a day; that’s all I’m doing to keep my metabolism churning”. Sure, bro.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with a mid-day candy bar if you have planned for it. In the past, when I was watching all my macros, I actually calculated in a buffer for my standard end of the day drink while my partner and I watched old episodes of 30 Rock. I was in great shape then and never felt guilty about it because I had planned for it.
When you leave the door open anyone could walk in
We each make over 200 food related choices a day******. The easiest way to choose incorrectly is by not having a plan. Set yourself up with some rules to live by. With a plan you can leave the guilt to the Catholic Church and enjoy every bite of food you shove in your largest face hole.
Need help making some rules to live by? Check out my coaching page and get some one on one love.
**probably from ghrelin, the hormone that regulates your eating patterns, if you usually snack your body will grow to expect it. This is easily defeated by short fasts.
*** Subway can easily be as terrible for you as McDonald’s
****You thought this was a straight man the whole time didn’t you? Surprise it’s not. Might be gay. Might be a woman. Who’s to say…
*****I include in the category “candy bar” all the health food and protein bars that are so popular today. They have just as much sugar and calories for the most part, with a nice shitty aftertaste. If you are gonna have a bar, just have a Snickers and enjoy it, rather that trying to trick yourself that you are eating something healthy.
******Thanks Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink