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It's not solely on you...How your food environment can determine your food choices

I will be the first to say that our struggles with healthy eating are systematic. There is not a singular reason to why a person may become obese or; diabetic; it is an issue with many culprits. So I am writing to you today to relieve some of the pressure on your back and say It is not solely on you. Your dietary habits and choices have been scientifically proven (for the doubters out there) to be tied to the environment we find ourselves in. Now, this is not an excuse not to try and change your relationship with food, but it is an attempt to make you more aware of what may be contributing to your difficulties.

I was listening to a podcast the other day, and the guest host, Dan Buettner, was speaking about a term he created called "Blue Zones." Blue Zones essentially refers to five places around the world where people live longer and healthier, a.k.a free from chronic diseases. He found during his research that the people living in the Blue Zones didn't necessarily have better food behaviors than Americans, but they just had better food choices to choose from. Their food environment wasn't full of overly processed foods and junk, so what they ate tended to always be good for them.

Go figure, huh? There's a convenience store or a fast food place down the street everywhere you go. There are chocolate bars, sugary sweets, and sodas, just begging you to buy them at the registers. Even the way grocery stores are designed, with all the processed food in the central aisles, no wonder you may find it a struggle. Our food environment is built for us to make bad choices. So what am I trying to say? Give yourself some grace. Your behavior with food is not solely on you, your environment plays a huge factor. Changing habits can be difficult, but it is not impossible.

  • Take a look at your food environment at home. Is it conducive to where you want to go, not only what is in your fridge but what lies within your cabinets or that secret snack drawer? How can you begin to shape your immediate ecosystem to fit where you're trying to go?

  • Acknowledge and plan for potential bumps in the road that may be encountered during the process of executing any change in food choice.

  • And if you are somewhat of a community activist or plain tired, make changes within your community by speaking with your local government about the importance of healthy food environments, and even things like billboard signage can contribute to unhealthy eating habits.

Let's regain autonomy when it comes to our food.

With all my love, Kayla

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