It’s so easy to be snarky about nutrition. The food environment we live in is like a minefield. There are so many books, gurus, programs, diets and systems. There are foods labeled “diet” that will make you fat and sick. Some of these things will only make you lighter in the wallet. Meanwhile, for food companies your tastebuds are the most valuable real estate since the California gold rush. I’ll admit, the whole thing is bewildering.
I can understand why people would want to throw all this stuff in the air and exclaim that the answer is: “Everything in moderation!”. Unfortunately, that’s not really a roadmap to health but it lets people off the hook for being responsible for what they eat. Or people will cry out, “Portion control!” which is not untrue but I think everybody understands that 200 calories of M&M candies and 200 calories of Broccoli aren’t going to do the same thing for your body.
Then there are people who just pretend not to care. They are thoroughly annoyed by the whole idea that there are things that they should or should not eat. They are looking at the moment and saying things like, “Well, I’m not dead and I eat this stuff all the time.” I say they pretend not to care because, really, everybody does care. People want to protect their personal safety which is why they don’t drive into oncoming traffic and things like that. What these people may not realize is that decline health is a process, not an event.
Some people think good nutrition is lame because after they finish their “diet” they will go right back to the way they were eating before and put the weight back on or start feeling bad again. So if this is the way it’s going to be then why try? This is a valid concern because it can be so difficult to get clean and stay clean. Remember, your taste buds are valuable real estate and vegetables and fruits and nuts, etc. don’t have the same addictive qualities as foods loaded with sugar, salt and unhealthy oils. It’s a difficult, uphill battle.
Having gone through the full range of attitudes above at some point in my own life, and after years of experience and education, I can assure you of these 10 things:
- You care about whether you are healthy or not.
- You know that what you eat affects how you feel.
- If you have difficulty with nutrition it’s not because you are weak or stupid, it’s because you live in a hostile food environment with many tricks and traps.
- Real food is grown or raised, NEVER manufactured. (This includes “diet” foods)
- It DOES matter what you eat, when you eat and how much you eat. Anybody who tells you otherwise is just wrong, and they will never be right because your biology will never change.
- If you have trouble getting healthy food because of your busy schedule (ie. you don’t have time to eat healthy) the problem is your schedule, not the healthy food. In other words, convenience will never make a bad food a good choice.
- It is impossible for exercise to compensate for bad nutrition. An active lifestyle is important but it is not a replacement.
- Being overweight is not a state of health.
- Being at a “healthy” weight is not a guarantee of health. Skinny people need good nutrition too!
- There is no one diet that is best for everyone. Each of us is an individual. That being said, all of the points above still hold true.
Overall, hang in there. It isn’t always easy in today’s world to make the right nutrition choices. However, there are few things that are more worthwhile.