Why is Eating Healthy is a Challenge?

It seems like everyone you talk to these days is trying to eat healthy, on a diet, or at least thinking about it. So why is it that the United States is the most overweight country in the world? Let’s take a look at some of the barriers that inhibit people from eating healthy.

Time

The average American family is so busy that having time to shop, plan, and cook healthy meals. Now that most families have two working parents it is much easier to hit the drive thru after a hard day’s work then come home and cook for the family.

America has become a society of convenience. There is a “microwave mentality” that everything has to be done quickly and easily – including our food. Many food items at the store are designed to be prepared quickly in the microwave, and are filled with processed ingredients that are not healthy.

Money

Many people believe that eating healthy is more expensive. In reality, it is much more costly to eat unhealthy foods. The average family of four who goes to a fast food chain will easily spend $35. That amount alone could buy fruits and vegetables for the entire family for an entire week.

Also consider the hidden health costs that come with poor diet. People who eat foods with high fat, sugar, and cholesterol are much more likely to get sick. Sick people have to pay for visits to the doctor, over the counter and prescription drug costs, increased insurance premiums, and lost wages. Those costs can add up to thousands of dollars over a lifetime.

Knowing what is healthy

Ask people what “healthy eating? is, and you are likely to get ten different answers. Everywhere you turn there are people proclaiming the virtues of eating fat free, low fat, low carb, gluten free, and more.

All of these mixed messages lead to confusion when trying to select the proper foods when shopping. The average American family is so busy that having time to shop, plan, and cook…

Fast Food Everywhere

Fast food advertisements are everywhere. We are constantly bombarded with television commercials, billboards, print ads, and websites marketing to us the newest juicy hamburger or cheesy pizza. Restaurants spend billions of dollars marketing to us, which has resulted in lighter wallets and heavier numbers showing up on the scale.

Take the time to notice how many restaurants are in the town or city you live. Many times there will be a restaurant on each corner. How could these businesses survive unless people were eating at them? The average family eats out three meals per week. If each meal consumed is 1,000 calories each that’s an extra 156,000 calories per year.

To put that into perspective, you have to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat.

Cravings

Let’s be honest. Foods that are unhealthy taste good! How many times have you ever craved a carrot stick or some broccoli? We constantly crave foods full of fat and sugar. Some experts have studied the effects of food on people’s brains, and compare it to drug addiction.

There are a growing number of people who are addicted to fast food. Outpatient rehabilitation clinics are springing up all over the country, and are helping people with their addiction. The difficulty with food addiction is that you need it to survive.

Emotional Triggers

Many people turn to food for comfort when they are stressed out. After a hard day’s work it’s so easy to plop down on the couch, turn on the television, and eat a bowl of ice cream to unwind.

Social Pressure

Unhealthy food is constantly put in front of us, whether it’s at the office or with family and friends. Many people who want to eat healthy give in to their cravings or feel too afraid to be different by saying no or brining their own healthy foods.

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