I’ve decided I need to stop snacking so much. There are times when I surprise myself with my seeming lack of willpower. I’m feeling bored at work and suddenly I find myself opening the cupboards to find a cheeky snack.
No matter how much I intellectualize my snacking struggle, the fact remains: it’s a bad habit. And breaking any habit is never easy.
The hardest part of breaking a habit around food is that we have to eat; not only do we have to eat, but we have to do it a lot, at least three times a day! If we didn’t have habits around food our days would revolve around trying to figure out where to find food, how to prepare it and how to make it palatable.
As a result we create go-to meals and preconceptions of what makes a tasty, nutritious ‘meal’.
Like with so many behaviors, it is far too easy to become trapped by bad habits (often without even realizing it!) Particularly when retailers and advertisers do everything they can to tap into our habit-forming subconscious: placing sweets by the cash register and luring us in with images of healthy foods while offering a wide variety of addictive, unhealthy foods inside.
Dietary decisions cannot be disconnected from the influences of culture, food availability and our own subconscious. Through all of this we create and reinforce our own ideas of what we should eat. And for the majority of people in the ‘developed’ world, a meal is centred on one thing: meat.
Even a desire to stop eating meat (or even just to eat less meat) may not be enough: when actually confronted with the effects of our consumption habits, many people respond defensively.
It is imperative that these habit-forming tactics be used to promote what is actually healthy for us and the planet. This includes re-conceptualisations of what a meal is and, most importantly, strategies to support one another as we come to embrace these new, sustainable futures.
Perhaps I won’t eat a snack after all…