Why Eat Healthy Food?
At Appetite for Health, we write a lot about what healthy food is, how it may benefit your health, and where to find it. But perhaps the most important question is why to eat healthy food?
For some people the answer is obvious. I know many people for whom eating whole, less processed, fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, etc., is the only way to eat. Often, though not always, these folks were raised this way. It’s very easy to follow a healthful eating pattern if you’ve been introduced to this way of eating from an early age.
A great reason to eat healthy food is, of course, taste. Fresh, wholesome ingredients taste amazing when prepared right. But let’s face it, there are lots of not-so-healthful choices that also taste good: a cheeseburger and fries, molten chocolate cake, ice cream…. I think you get the point.
Health, obviously, is another important reason to make smart choices when it comes to what you put into your body. Everyone wants to be healthy, but when it comes to choosing what’s best for our health, sometimes there’s a disconnect. Don’t believe me? Try convincing a 5 year old that it’s important to eat fruits and vegetables to reduce the risk of heart disease or age-related macular degeneration. Oh… and it’s not just kids who have trouble buying the ‘health’ reasoning… I know lots of adults who know that some foods are better than others when it comes to improving health outcomes, but they regularly make poor food choices.
When I was pursuing my master’s degree in nutrition, I took a fantastic course in nutrition counseling. What I learned from this class is that knowledge does not necessarily lead to behavior change.
Lots of people know what healthy food is, where to find it, how to prepare it, and how it may benefit their health. Yet too many of us, despite this knowledge, opt for foods that have no business being on our plates.
But I also learned that the key to instilling behavior change is finding the right motivators for each individual. With the right motivation… change is possible. And there are almost as many motivators as there are people. I’ve counseled morbidly obese patients who fully understood that continuing with their poor food choices could lead to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even an early death. But those things, in many instances, just didn’t lead to a change in eating habits. So my job was to uncover something that would trigger real, lasting change. Sometimes what really got people to change was the idea of fitting into “skinny jeans”, looking fabulous at a wedding or college reunion, or living longer to watch a grandchild grow up.
If you are struggling to make healthy choices when it comes to food, don’t beat yourself up. First take a look at why making healthful changes is important to you. Uncovering your real motivation(s) is often the first step toward making permanent changes. And don’t worry if your reasons seem vain or superficial… it’s often the idea of looking better, wanting to feel sexy, or impress that boy from high school you’re about to see after 10 years that can get you moving.
TELL US WHY YOU EAT HEALTHY FOOD!
If you’ve made a change for the better, please share (in the comments section below) what prompted YOU to change. You may be an inspiration for others!