Most people believe they pick the foods they eat based on:
1) Their dietary needs
2) Their health and wellness goals
3) How good something tastes / desirable it is
Although not necessarily in that order.
Many people are confused today about what to eat, how to accomplish _____ goal, or really just what is good / bad for them these days.
What I have realized and learned through observation and working with a number of different types of private chef clients is, most people make their food choices, not based on what they “know,” but actually based on what is easy, convenient, and available.
“Most people make their food choices, not based on what they ‘know,’ but actually based on what is easy, convenient, and available.”
This is the most overlooked, yet crucially, the most important factor in long term health habit formation and change brought about by food choice. Most of us have a logical mind that functions at certain times, and an emotional mind that functions at others. It is almost as if the two minds can not simultaneously coexist in any given moment, but they can alternate rapidly, even after long stretches of one and then the other.
“Why is it so easy to overlook this crucial concept and how do we as individuals have not figured this out?”
The question then becomes, why is it so easy to overlook this crucial concept, and second, how do we as individuals not figure this out? The answer is that life is ever changing. What works perfectly as a routine one day may not the next. Monday and Friday may not have the same structure. Therefore we have to create lifestyle habits and best practices that are not time, and even not place, dependent.
“We have to create lifestyle habits and best practices that are not time, and even not place, dependent.”
For example, take brushing your teeth. You brush your teeth no matter what time you wake up (hopefully) or go to bed (hopefully). I’ve brushed my teeth with water from a water bottle while camping, at 3 am or 1 pm, whether in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nepal, or Brazil. The habit and routine is not dependent on anything. Somehow, some way, I find a way to brush my teeth, every day.
Yet, with eating, we have many of the same life variables, but we allow our food intake to sway about with the gusts of wind our day inevitably brings. Why? Well, why am I always able to brush my teeth? I simply make sure I have a toothbrush, toothpaste, and hopefully some water, but if I don’t, I go to a nearby store to store and buy what I need , or have one delivered, as soon as I realize I don’t have what I need.
The point isn’t actually to carry a snack or meal wherever you go, but rather to anticipate needing to consume something, rather than just strolling about merrily in your day thinking the perfect thing will come along just at the moment you feel so inclined to eat.
Rather, what happens in real life is most people, for no fault of their own, rarely think steps ahead in their day, especially around anticipating what they will consume. An athlete or physical competitor must do this as part of his/her training to maximize both their training sessions and the recovery / results they desire.
Because most people are simply out of practice with forming routines around their overall physical and mental performance, they make their decisions based on what’s available, and often at the very last minute. As a result they make “bad choices,” i.e. one’s not in line with their goals because
Their blood glucose is low, thereby impairing and slowing down mental function, (check out this article from Harvard about glucose and the brain – https://hms.harvard.edu/news-events/publications-archive/brain/sugar-brain)
Foods in line with their goals, no matter how strong their discipline / motivation is , may simply not be available (at least easily), at that place and/or time.
Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail!
Once we start to really examine and find this analysis to be true we start to realize making good food choices must be an anticipatory practice in order to make it a successful one! A planned meal is generally speaking, a “successful meal,” even if it is not a nutrition-driven one.