In today’s modern world, most people don’t eat anything like their hunter-gatherer ancestors, who only had access to fresh, healthy food. With so many junk and convenience foods easily available, it can be hard to maintain a healthy diet.
Instant Gratification of Cravings
With snacks a short walk to the fridge or pantry away, giving in to cravings is a big problem for most people. Snacking too much can cause you to feel hungry, even when you’re not truly hungry. Low blood sugar, tiredness, and difficulty sleeping are all common side effects. One way of resolving this is to make a point of setting a food plan to follow. Eat at designated meal or snack times, and don’t cheat.
For some, it’s hard to lose weight because they don’t feel full when they eat smaller amounts. So, a few hours after meal time, off to binge on snacks they go. The problem with not eating enough is that your body goes into starvation mode and creates a desperate need to eat. The solution is a balance of good quality foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and proteins, with only a small quantity of empty calories, such as sugars and fats, to help the brain stay out of starvation mode.
Less Fresh, Healthy Food Available
Some research suggests that the modern food environment has removed access to fresh, healthy foods. Before the advent of large supermarkets, people ate nothing but home grown or wild harvested food, and had more opportunities to eat fresh and healthy. Going out for food was a social activity, with people eating together at the butcher, baker, or deli on special occasions.
Nowadays, there is limited access to fresh, seasonal food. You’ll find more foods with lots of artificial ingredients and a huge variety of foods – but often with little nutritional value. Instead, most of the population eats a combination of highly processed foods that are low in protein, fiber, and micro-nutrients. To make matters worse, you’re bombarded with ads for sugary foods, frozen foods, and other convenience foods while you shop. The constant exposure to these food choices is more than most can manage to control.
The Idea of Needing a “Diet Plan”
There is a real difference between limiting the amount of food you eat, and eating too little. If you follow a restrictive fad diet plan, you’ll likely find it works well for a time, but isn’t something that you can realistically stick to. This leads to an often endless spiral of failed diet plans.
Instead of jumping on the bandwagon for each new fad diet, sticking to a realistic diet by eating whole food from a balance of all food groups is much easier to follow, and better for your health. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the healthy eating equation.
Ideally, you should keep a record of what you eat and how it affects your weight, or you won’t be able to see what is working and what isn’t. By keeping a record, you can spot if you’re going wrong and decide whether to change your eating approach. You may find it useful to start small and focus on foods that you can easily change.
So, if you find it a challenge to stick to a healthy diet, try thinking more like our hunter-gatherer ancestors than a modern consumer. Eat when it’s mealtime, choose real food, and skip the fad diets.