In this installment of my series The real reasons diets fail let's explore how celebrating too much puts you in a weak position to fend off the constant temptations to eat poorly.
Do you ever feel like there are always activities going on at home or in the office where you are offered that cookie, cake, pizza, candy, doughnut, pie, cake, brownie, cake, holiday feast, cake, birthday party, cake... I think you get my point. How can you resist!
We have been conditioned to go with the flow
Over the last 60 to 90 years we have been sold on products, ideas, and ways of living that mold our culture at a granular level. Look at how the law is written (very granular), look at how we live our lives today. Everything is regulated down to a granular level. Governing authorities want us to live our lives to a point where "good judgment" is no longer needed. They want people to feel like they are in control but in reality they tell us what to do, how to think and what to believe... Even though many people resist, most of the time they accept everything presented them because of a feeling that it is impossible to make change. Remember big business puts those authorities into control when they lobby and finance the marketing efforts to persuade your votes. So most people have been conditioned to just go with the flow.
Constant Line of Fire
So it is no surprise that we let ourselves become engrossed in consumerism delivered through marketing and greedy companies. Just go with the flow and we accept every reason presented to us to buy or celebrate. So today we celebrate EVERYTHING and ANYTHING printed on a calendar, mentioned in the media or dreamt up by some organization or cause. (Maybe not so much at home but certainly in the workplace)
Aside from all of the national and religious holidays, birthdays (almost weekly) or events which seem to regularly tempt us to eat poorly. You also have new holidays which seem to be constantly popping up every year! (this is where the mediocrity comes in) Here is a pretty good list of holidays both mediocre ones along with the traditional ones.
Then add in things like:
- World Series
- Local Sports Championships
- Taste of (enter city name here) events
- Fundraisers (Buy my kids candy please so they can raise money for this or that!)
People trying to live a healthy lifestyle are in a constant line of fire with temptations.
These "celebrations" are almost always accompanied by unhealthy foods... It is good to indulge sometimes! However, how easy is it to make "some of the time", "all of the time!" These activities happen so often that, even if you have an "iron will" to resist it today, that will power is eventually eroded to the point where it becomes easy to fail. Society has built in a temptation engine that runs all year round.
Balance is the key! Tony Horton, famously known for his P90X/BeachBody techniques and philosophy goes with a 90/10 rule. 90% healthy whole foods and 10% of "bad snacks". No lifestyle/diet should focus on deprivation. But make sure while not depriving yourself you do not relapse into that addiction to bad food again.
All of these events and holidays are pitched to make people feel special. What are the true effects other than making the economy go round as well as our waistlines? I'm sure there will be a study on it someday if there isn't one already.
Do not criticize those who fail often when they are faced with constant temptations. Not everyone has the "iron will" to resist. Offer steady support to get them back on the wagon and to try something different than what they were doing before. Diets fail for many reasons... that is why lifestyle adjustments are always recommended. But even adapting a lifestyle change is difficult when society has built in many points of failure to stumble us on a regular basis.