Everyone knows why eating healthy food is essential.
This is a known fact, but why is it still so hard to follow and keep up with a healthy diet? And why does it always feel like a struggle to sway away from bad habits whenever it comes to a healthy lifestyle? And why is it easier to eat unhealthy food or why is eating healthy so much work?
This brings us to the fact that it is not the reason why eating healthy food is so difficult. as much as it’s why developing new habits or replacing old ones is so much work.
To understand the why, we must first understand how the human brain works. Start dealing with your brain as an addicted teenager.
All brain receptors are based on the praising system, and all the chemicals and neuroreceptors in your brain work to get a dopamine shot at the end that will give you the feeling of satisfaction.
Have you noticed before how good you feel when you receive too many likes and views on your latest Instagram reel? As meaningless as this actually is, it plays on the reward receptors in your brain and activates this dopamine release, and before you know it, you’ll be anxiously looking for the results on the next reel you share.
The same thing happens with fast food, mainly because it’s cheap and easy to get, and it caresses your taste buds in exactly the right way. Not caring about the effect it has once these materials get into your bloodstream, you’ll give up the long-term negative results in return for the instant pleasure it gives you.
So, understanding the above, we now know why it is easier to eat unhealthy food and why it is so hard to stay on a diet.
We now have to set up our strategy to avoid the feeling that eating healthy food is impossible and work on ourselves until we know how to stay motivated to eat healthy food and how to build up on the newly developed habit so we can change the question of why eating healthy is so hard into a natural daily habit that we actually crave, and to be more aware of why is eating healthy important for your mental health.
Why is it so hard for me to stick to a diet?
First, we have to agree on something important. It’s not only about diets; if you trace all your daily habits, you’ll find you’re always struggling to give up bad habits.
Are you a smoker who knows how badly this is affecting your overall health? You’d probably light up a cigarette to think deeply about it.
Do you want to reduce screen time before bed every night? “Just one more episode…” you say to yourself.
Struggling to eat better? You are not alone; fast food and processed foods are extremely addictive. According to a 2010 study that appeared in Nature Neuroscience, rats that routinely ate fast food experienced negative changes in their brain chemistry.
The rats got fatter and couldn’t tell when they were hungry anymore (even when they were given electric shocks, they would still eat fatty foods).
When put on a nutritious diet, they actually refused to eat. Further studies have revealed that food may be just as addictive as drugs.
As much bad news as this might sound, there’s still a half-full part in your cup; it’s not anymore about “I don’t care about eating healthy” or that it seems that eating healthy is impossible or hard for you; you just have to address the addiction problem you have.
Keep in mind that developing new habits, both good and bad, takes time. It’s reasonable to think that you’ll struggle to maintain your healthy diet if you suddenly go from frequently eating French fries to only eating salads. Small, gradual changes are what truly work for you.
Replacing your everyday afternoon sugar bar or dessert with a healthy sweet snack is an essential starting point. After that, focus on another aspect of your diet, such as your soda habit.
How to eat healthy when you don’t want to?
Mainly, we do not desire to eat healthily because of the following reasons:
- We are afraid of going without our favorite meals
- We dread having to consume boring healthy food
- We worry about removing a coping strategy
- We are concerned about the necessary effort to change
But we all know why is eating healthy important; we know that keeping a healthy diet is the only way to prolong our lives and enjoy the most of our years.
This is not the issue; the main issue is how we move from the spectrum of a bad habit that we’re used to and addicted to and start replacing it with a good one.
We need to start gradually accepting adding more greens to our meals and reducing processed food and meats until our brain starts developing the same level of addiction to the new ingredients that we’ve introduced and all our taste receptors start favoring these new ingredients instead of the old unhealthy ones that we’ve been used to.
Only then, when having our habits developed, will we be able to answer the next big question, which is “how to stay motivated to eat healthy,” because by then our addiction behavior will be well utilized for our own advantage, and by then we can start transferring our focus into preparing the perfect meal and making it better and better every day, and believe me, once you notice the change reflected on your body and your overall health and stamina, you’d never want to go back.
How to stay motivated to eat healthy food?
It’s okay to wake up someday and decide that today is not the day to fight your bad habits, so don’t give yourself a hard time if you feel like failing or swaying away from the road you’ve paved for yourself.
It’s okay to have mishaps, and the fact that you don’t go really hard on yourself when doing so will help you get back on track.
Is it healthy not to eat?
Not eating for 24 hours at a time is a form of intermittent fasting known as the “eat-stop-eat” approach.
You can only eat calorie-free beverages throughout a 24-hour fast. You can start eating normally again once the 24-hour window has passed until the next fast.
Intermittent fasting can help you lose weight, improve your metabolism, improve your cardiovascular health, and more. You can use this method once or twice a week to get the results you want.
Even though this method can appear simpler than reducing your daily calorie intake, you might have an extreme “hanger” on fast days. People who already have certain medical conditions may experience significant side effects or consequences.
This approach still needs more research in order to know for sure that it is beneficial to our bodies, but in conclusion, it can help with:
- Weight Loss
- Manage your cholesterol and sugar levels
- Reduce your risk for coronary artery disease
It can also help with reducing inflammation, the risk of certain cancers, and the risk of neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Why is eating healthy so expensive?
Unhealthy food is usually cheaper, mainly because the main ingredients can be mass-produced and these products can be made in a non-perishable form. In our current environment, it is very easy to purchase calories with very little nutritional value. Whereas the same is not true for some of the more nutrient-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables.
According to a subreddit called “How to Eat Healthy When Poor Reddit,” some healthy food enthusiasts have dedicated a lot of topics and comments to debunking this myth, demonstrating and proving that if you do enough research, according to your country, you’ll find a lot of ingredients that are extremely healthy and also cheap.
“I spend maybe $80 a week on groceries for a full bodybuilding meal prep; eating a normal amount would be half that cost,” a Reddit user said.
While another said, “It’s a lot cheaper for me to eat healthy food, but it’s all stuff I have to prep and cook; nothing is microwaveable or comes frozen.” This week, we spent $105 on five days of lunch and dinner, plus a few snacks, milk, and water, and these are, in my opinion, “higher-end” meals—not spaghetti or standard “cheap” meals.
The subreddit goes on and on about why is eating healthy important for your body and how to stay motivated to eat well and exercise. It’ll be fun research to get busy with for a while before deciding on your strategic steps towards a healthier life.
It’ll be hard to move from a bad eating habit to a healthy one; the road is unpaved and has a lot of myths attached to it, mostly built up in the back of our minds because of bad fast food advertising.
For example, you can pump into an article about the healthiest junk food.
But once you manage to get a hold of the new habit and make it your new daily norm, you’ll never regret it, or see that eating healthy is difficult anymore, so set back, grab a fruit, and reward yourself for reaching the end of the article.
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