I was reading an interesting article the other day that made the argument against willpower, on its own, being enough when it comes to healthy living in today’s world. It’s not a new argument, of course. But this article summarised it really nicely.
The author argued that mountaineers don't scale Mount Everest just because they want to; they need the requisite skills to do so, too. He likened the quest for healthy living to an uphill climb. We need to be armed with the right skills to be healthy – particularly when our environment is loaded with trappings and temptations and confusing, sometimes misleading information.
I think he’s on to something.
The NSW government’s 8700kJ campaign, aimed at educating us about what the average adult needs to consume in terms of energy each day, is a great start. It will certainly help people interpret the kilojoule labeling SYSTEM that’s recently been introduced in many food chains, and to make smarter choices if they want to do so.
But while this nutritional labeling may help us make better decisions in the food court, we don’t live there and (hopefully) don’t consume all of our meals there. Beyond this, there’s still a gap between knowing your recommended energy intake per day, and consistently putting that knowledge into practice by preparing and eating healthier meals at home. Obviously, if there was an easy answer, it would have been figured out by now. But part of it surely is about learning the skills you need to be healthy. How to cook healthy meals, with healthy ingredients. Cooking methods that don’t need lashings of fat or salt to make the food taste great. Portion awareness. Choosing when to indulge – and when not to. Knowing which healthy foods will help fill you up, and which are nutritionally empty. The list goes on!
What are your biggest challenges to healthy eating and healthy living in general? Is it the easy availability of unhealthy foods? Is it a case of information overload? Do you have trouble knowing where to start? Maybe you have the best intentions, but they get derailed after a stressful day at work, or because of time pressures?
I’d love to hear from you – comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try addressing some of these challenges in the magazine in coming months.