diet and happiness

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Let’s talk for a minute about the choices that we make about our health. Why are so many Americans so unhealthy? Even when given a choice of whether or not to be healthy, people often choose to be unhealthy.

Why does this happen? And why is it so common?

I’m not talking about smoking, taking illegal drugs or drinking excessively, everyone knows that stuff is bad. I’m talking about the standard American diet.

I cannot count all of the times that patients have told me, “I feel great when I eat really well and avoid all of things that are bad for me. But I can’t eat that way all the time. No one can expect me to do that! I want to have a life!”

Why not!? Why can’t we eat that way all the time?
Is it peer pressure? Is it advertising? Is it cultural history? Are those foods addictive? Is it in our genes?

There are plenty of excuses, but we seem to equate having a full life with eating sweets, drinking alcohol, and enjoying the pleasures of rich food. And the worse we feel the more we seem to want to do those things.

Why do we equate being healthy with being cheated out of something? We look around for excuses to do what we want to do, and eat what we want to eat. We compare ourselves to others and assume that because someone else appears to be ok eating a poor diet that we should be able to do that too.