Food Marketing Lures Us To Say “Yes” At Every Turn
Have you noticed that at every turn you are presented with an opportunity to eat?
It dawned on me recently as I stopped at a gas station to fill up on my way home from a weekend at the beach. The signs on the gas pumps were advertising snack specials — soda, potato chips, heatable sandwiches (Yuck!). Once inside the gas station I stopped and looked around — it was mini market full of junk food! There were aisles of junk food, sugary soda fountains, freezer cases of more junk food, sugary “cappuccino” drinks, the requisite candies at the register, layers of impulse items littering the counter.
The only clue I was at a gas station were the gas pumps and sign outside. Shocking.
I started to pay attention.
The results were eye-opening: We are inundated by food and food marketing all day long.
We go to the gym and have to walk through the juice bar on our way out. Juices, smoothies, “nutrition bars” — all foods marketed to our healthy nature. It’s going to help with our muscle repair, right? The food bars at a gym are nothing more than a cash cow, boosting the bottom line, by praying on our quest for health.
We stop in for our coffee fix on our way to work and walk out with “a little something” to go with it. Hey, we worked out, it’s okay, right?
At work we now have “perks” like a kitchen, replete with pick-me-up-snacks. A client last week told me that they received donuts two days a week from different vendors. Another client told me their company is besieged by sugary snacks every day as sales people try to “win” their account.
We walk into a reception area of a “service provider,” like a hair salon, only to find a giant bowl of chocolates on the counter.
Stepping out for lunch? It’s nearly impossible to walk into a deli or even a “healthy” fast food establishment, and not feel completely lured by the chips and cookies surrounding the registers and cashier lines.
And then between 3-4pm we feel that afternoon dip and the only thing we can think of is the cookie that we passed up at lunch. Of course, we “need” just a little something something to go with our afternoon coffee.
Think about it … we are confronted with food choices all day long. From the salad and juice bars in grocery stores (the ultimate in “convenience”), to the cafes inside book stores, to the way popcorn is priced at the movie theatre, our resistance is whittled down bit-by-bit throughout the day.
How many times can we say “no” before we say “yes?”
It’s no wonder we think we have no willpower.
What we have is a complete overload of food marketing that short circuits our ability to make ongoing healthy choices.
Do you sometimes fall for the “yes” when you really don’t want that sugary snack?
Here’s what I say … It’s not your fault!
5 Ways To Resist Food Marketing Overload
1. Pay Attention — This is the first step. Start being actively aware of everywhere you go. You might even consider choosing one full day of awareness. “Everywhere I go today I will pay attention to the food that is placed before me.” How many places and how many times are you put in a position where you have to say “yes” or “no?”
2. When Confronted With A Choice, Make It Consciously –Ask yourself, “What’s going on right now? Am I thirsty? Am I hungry? Am I tired? Am I happy? Is this just habit?” Put a name to it. Often just naming it takes the power away from the food.
3. Reconsider Where You Shop — Do you have a hard time resisting snacks and treats at certain stores or at certain times of the day? Choose not to go. You may even want to scope out healthier choices in advance.
4. Carry Snacks With You — Nuts, seasonal fruits, sturdy veggies like baby carrots or sugar snap peas, hummus or even an almond butter and banana sandwich.
5. Eat Real Food — When you eat, choose high fiber, low sugar, healthy fats and protein. If it comes from the ground it’s a sure bet. If it comes in a package, think twice.
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