I hear it all the time everywhere I go...the food industry is making us all fat...the fast-food companies are to blame for the rise in obesity, especially in our children...healthy food is more expensive...accessible food is unhealthy...there is a government and food industry conspiracy to make us sugar and fat addicts...etc.
Perhaps there is some truth in these statements, but rather than go there and look for someone to blame for the unhealthy way we eat, I would like to pause and look at our individual decisions and behaviors for what and how much we eat. And here is why. If we are waiting for the government, food industry, FDA, or anyone else to swoop in and save us from our obesity crisis, we are in big trouble. It isn't to say that each of these shouldn't do their part in contributing to a meaningful solution as we move forward, but like many things in life, it's complicated. What is less complicated and more empowering and something we can have some control over is how we decide to interact with our currrent food environment and how we behave relative to the food we choose to buy and consume.
I am a people watcher...and everywhere I go I watch people make food buying decisions and then watch them eat...yes, maybe I have even watched you in some random airport or restaurant in my travels. I watch as people buy the chocolate bar instead of the fiber bar or the soda instead of water. I see as people eat the entirely too large of a portion in one sitting without even leaving one bite of food behind. I see the value meal order being placed without even thinking twice. I see the parent ask for fries instead of apple slices in the kids meal, hoping to snag a few. And perhaps I have made some of these choices myself along the way. After all chocolate does sound better than fiber after a long day of delayed flights and crowded planes.
We are so quick to blame others for our weight issues, bad food choices, and inability to stop eating when we have clearly had enough, but not as good at taking responsibility for our choices, our decisions, our behaviors. Taking responsibility for what we do is not meant to be a guilt-trip or punishment, it is to put us in charge of our lives and our destiny. It is an important and empowering step towards change and knowing that no matter how tough the external environment of food becomes, we can make choices that help us feel good about ourselves and bring the results we want. It feels good to say no when we need to. It is even more satisfying when we make a good choice in a sea of bad choices. It feels great to succeed in an environment that sets us up to fail.
So you know what I say....go ahead...fry it up, slather it in fat, salt and sugar, double the portion-size, drop the price, serve it a pretty package...I dare you! I don't have to fall for it or give in. I am in control and will choose what I want to eat and in the amount that I want to eat it, so that I can live the healthy life that I (and my loved ones that depend on me) deserve...and there is nothing you can do about it!