Why is it so hard to resist food that’s in front of you?
You know the feeling I’m talking about…
The irresistible, un-suppressable feeling. The half-guilty half just-this-one-time feeling we get when we’re trying to decide whether the food in front of us will end up in our stomach or not.
The truth is it’s simply hard to say no.
And it’s not all your fault.
Resisting the food that’s in front of you is actually going against millions of years of human evolution and design.
From a biological perspective, you are designed to eat the food that’s in front of you.
Back in our primal, hunter-gatherer days, things were a little bit different…
Food was scarce. It wasn’t so easy to come by.
It wasn’t the same readily available and ridiculously abundant commodity that it is today.
And when our primal ancestors happened to run down some game or stumble upon some wild berries, they didn’t dare say no.
Their choice was simple: eat or die of hunger.
They weren’t thinking in terms of longevity or ‘good health’. They were thinking in terms of survival.
Everything was about survival.
And it still is. The survival mode gene has been passed down through generations and has become an intricate component of who we are.
Fast forward millions of years later where food is abundant and readily available.
It is simply always there.
Quick fact: the average person (in North America and Europe) wastes about 209 to 253 pounds of food per person every year [source]. (Just imagine if this food was distributed to the starving populations around the world…but that’s another topic).
Here’s the issue…
Although our biological design hasn’t changed much, our environment has.
The environment we have created four ourselves is toxic. It is ill-suited for the design of our bodies.
And it creates a very disturbing and self-perpetuating problem:
We are creating and promoting an environment that is slowly killing us.
But let’s back up a second.
What exactly happens when there is food placed in front of us?
As you can guess, we have the exact same psychological make up when presented with food that we had millions of years ago.
Only now food is available all the time. It’s insanely abundant. And, worst of all, it’s insanely low on quality.
Our bodies are simply not designed to use them as fuel. And definitely not in the quantities that are provided to us.
The foods (if you want to even call them that) we come by today are not the same foods we came by in our hunter-gatherer days.
Not even close.
Today, we are constantly presented with highly processed, highly engineered, sugar-and-carb-loaded, nutritionally depleted foods that are wreaking havoc on our metabolic systems and making it extremely difficult for us to achieve optimal weight and optimal health.
Yet we still find it extremely difficult to say no to this food! Even when we know that it’s not doing us any good, we can’t resist it.
We are still eating as much of it as we want (or as much of it that is presented to us). Not because we necessarily want to, but because we’re biologically driven to.
You can see where the problem lies.
Everything is still about survival for us.
And when food is presented to us, we don’t dare say no to our natural instinct of wanting to eat it. Saying no to food is essentially your body and mind rebelling against the powers of mother nature.
Our bodies are still under the impression that a famine could hit at any point in time and this food we see can mean the difference between surviving through the famine or not.
So where does will-power fit into all of this?
That’s a good question and one that’s difficult to answer.
However, from my experience, I have found that it takes some serious work and practice to turn down the wrong foods (especially in scenarios where options are limited).
I have put in some serious dedication to be able to create very strong, negative images of certain foods in my head to be able to readily avoid them, even when no other options present themselves.
We all have our ways of developing our will power, but there’s actually an easier way.
I’ve found a light at the end of this tunnel (sort of).
We can use this biological principal to our advantage.
We change our environment.
Completely re-vamp it.
If we simply change our environment (or at least our immediate surroundings – that of which we can control), we give ourselves a huge opportunity to make much better food choices.
The thing is (for the most part), it doesn’t really matter what foods you put in front of yourself, you will biologically be driven to eat them (there are always exceptions of course).
And you have the power to choose what to put in front of yourself and your family.
Your (Simple) Task:
Remove all carb-heavy, highly-processed, highly-sugar-induced, junk-loaded, and nutritionally depleted foods from your immediate surroundings.
You’ll find that, with time, you will not be tempted to eat them.
Surround yourself with healthier food choices and make use of the biological factors that subconsciously drive so many of your decisions.
To build a better body, we first need to change our environment.
Do you find yourself always driven to eat what’s in front of you, even when you’re trying to ‘eat healthy’? Is your willpower strong enough to overpower biological drivers? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below.
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