We develop our eating habits over a lifetime, and those habits start forming early in life. Of course anyone who has the willpower can overcome bad eating habits, but if it were easy, we wouldn’t be facing the obesity crisis we face today. And one of the toughest ways to go about tackling bad habits is to stop what you’re doing cold turkey. That’s not only with food. That’s with anything you have a desire to change. In my experience, slow, incremental changes create long lasting new habits. That’s not to say no one can change bad eating habits at the drop of a hat. I’m simply saying most people do better by making slow changes.
One of the biggest enemies of maintaining a healthy diet comes in the form of processed, packaged foods. So many of these products are loaded with preservatives, food additives, dyes, salt, trans fats and other ingredients that your body simply does not need. And if you don’t clue yourself in to what’s in a product, you’ll never know these ingredients are there. And it’s not simply the ingredients that do you in. It’s the serving size. You may run through a small box of crackers in two settings not realizing that the box actually contains eight servings. So each times you sat down to munch on those crackers you ate four times the calories, fat and sodium that was listed on the nutrition label. That’s scary and unhealthy!
With all of that being said, a major component of a healthy eating lifestyle comes in the elimination of processed foods. When you eliminate processed foods, you develop a much better idea of what is going into your body. Do you have to cook? Do you have to shop differently? Do you have to prep meals? The answer to all three questions is yes. You lose the convenience factor when you remove processed foods.
But what do you gain? You gain more control of your health and wellness. And that’s important. As we always say… Control what you can control. Stay tuned. Next week we will continue this series and help you create a plan of action for reducing your intake of processed foods and embracing real, whole foods.