Thursday, May 11, 2017

Making Smarter Food Choices

Why is making smarter food choices so hard? Is it because we think healthier food isn't as fun or as satisfying? Certainly there's an element of doing something "bad" or forbidden. There's also research that shows that fats, sugars, and salt can generate cravings to eat more of the same.

It's hard for me to remember that a treat is and should be an occasional thing. Not occasionally in a given day, but occasionally in a month or even less often than that to make it truly special. What complicates this is how much I travel for work. I don't always have much control over what and when I can eat. In addition, when traveling to developing nations, fresh produce is likely to end up making me sick, which also limits my food choices.

I also know that when I get stuck on a hard problem or stuck doing a task I don't want to do that I'll go find something to eat as a distraction. When I get bored at home I might cook a meal to help fill the time. These behaviors are not serving me well and need to be stopped. I'm re-reading CHarles Duhigg's Power of Habit to help figure out how to restructure this habit into something constructive. I am glad that I at least recognize the issue now.

What I need to remember every time I have food options available to me is to make the healthiest choice possible. It's not a function of what is fun. It is what is best for my body and for my current and future health. As Wil Wheaton recommends, it's making a choice for which my future self with thank me.

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