I think it was Brian Tracy who once said that humans are fundamentally greedy, impulsive, and pleasure seeking.
Seems true for most of us most of the time.
The massive marketing machines that drive the food companies (particularly those in the junk food industry) use those fundamental human traits against you every single day.
And, they’re gambling with your life when they do.
They’re betting you’ll fall for their marketing hype, buy their unhealthy foods, and make them rich.
There’s plenty of evidence that we’re greedy, impulsive, and pleasure seeking.
For example, some people run up so much credit card and other debt they end up in bankruptcy. They are so focused on short term enjoyment, excitement, and comfort that they fail to consider saving or investing for the future.
We all do many things on impulse – pure emotion – without a moment’s thought for the longer term consequences.
And when it comes to food, drink, and our health, we’re all aware that as a nation we’re overeating ourselves into unnecessary illness, disease, and early death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 70% of us are overweight or obese. That increases our risk of:
Coronary heart disease
Type 2 diabetes
Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon in particular)
High blood pressure
Lipid disorders (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
Liver and gallbladder disease
Gynecological problems (abnormal periods, infertility)
And, that’s not to mention premature death.
You’ve probably heard all of this a million times before.
So why am I pointing it out again?
I’m pointing it out to ask you what’s wrong?
In the hope that you’ll think about what’s wrong.
Because something is terribly wrong.
For example, we Americans eat over 4.3 Billion a pounds of snack food a year. According to a High Beam Business Report – Industry Snapshot, the “salty snack” industry racked up nearly $25 Billion in sales in 2005.
Except for people living under rocks, everyone knows that none of those salty snacks are good for you and all of them can go a long way towards making you fat and lead to the debilitating diseases listed above.
Are we, as a nation of individuals, simply weak willed?
Are we really so susceptible to the insidious marketing of the food companies that we simply allow them to gamble with our health without even giving it a moment’s thought?
Are we so greedy for instant gratification from so many harmful foods that it blinds us to the adverse consequences?
Are we so gullible that we’re willing to damage our future looks, health, and longevity for a few chips, a couple of beers, a dish of ice cream, and a piece of pie?
When it comes to planning for our long-term sexy bodies, good health, and a long fruitful life, we’re like a little children who live only for the moment.
Most of us are capable of long-term vision and effort. In much of our lives we plan and deal with the present while being able to keep an eye out for the future consequences of today’s choices and actions.
For example, you might readily work at the same job or in the same career for 20 or 30 years in the hope of being able to enjoy your older age and retirement goals.
Or, you might create new businesses, learn new skills, develop relationships, raise children, and raise and keep a family in intact over a lifetime.
We’ve experienced success after success now and into the future in so many ways that we know we can do it if we want to.
And yet, about 70% of us fail miserably at doing the simplest thing we can do no…eat and drink in ways that will maintain our good looks and good health in the long run.
We’re inundated with ads from food companies for unhealthy foods…and we seem to inexplicably fall for them time after time at considerable risk to our futures.
They’re gambling with your health and betting you’ll fall for their hype.
You’re gambling with your looks, health, and longevity every time you do.
How To Protect Yourself
1. Be Aware.
There are two things to be highly aware of and sensitive to.
First, accept that the food companies are going to aggressively keep trying to convince you to eat tons of foods and drink gallons of drinks that are unhealthy for you and will make you fat.
You know how there’s a warning on every cigarette pack that reminds everyone that smoking is dangerous to your health?
They should have to put the same type of warning on bags of chips and other unhealthy food and on sodas and beers and other unhealthy drinks.
Second, just be aware, on a meal-by-meal and snack-by-snack basis of what you’re doing either for or against your long term health.
Look, one bag of chips now and again isn’t going to kill you. Some ice cream and a piece of cake on your birthday won’t kill you.
But a bag of chips and ice cream and cake every day for years just might.
2. It’s cumulative.
One of the main problems we face is that the consequences of our eating and drinking actions are not immediate.
Think about it like this. Let’s say if you ate a bag of chips you would then immediately have a heart attack as soon as you finished in the last chip in the bag. If that’s how it worked, it’s unlikely you (or anyone else) would be eating chips.
But when the effect isn’t immediate – in fact when it takes many years of accumulation to rear its ugly head – you, we, and all of us tend to bury our heads in a sand pile of denial.
3. You Are Not Invincible.
“Oh,” you say to yourself, “I know chips aren’t exactly a health food. But I don’t eat that many, I feel fine, and I’ll be OK.”
Don’t fall for your own marketing hype or self-delusion. You’re not immune to the cumulative effects of an unhealthy lifestyle. And you are not invincible.
4. You Have No Natural Right To Good Health. It’s Not Automatic.
Many of us seem to assume we have a natural right to good health and are automatically entitled to it. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
Good health is a do-it-yourself project and you are in charge of it. You’re well advised to be actively in charge of it every day.
Those who look their best, feel their best, and live with vitality typically have clear goals about their health and want to accomplish those goals so strongly that nothing will stop them – especially not a few six packs of anything or a couple of bags of chips.
5. Be True To Yourself.
You were born with a built in personality, temperament, and set of behavioral preferences…your “natural tendencies.”
When you’re aware of your natural tendencies, in tune with them, and doing things in ways that are consistent with them, then whatever you’re doing seems natural and easy to you. And you’re likely to like it and be good at it.
When you’re fighting your natural tendencies or doing things in ways that are inconsistent with them, then whatever you’re doing is uncomfortable for you, feels unnatural, and is more difficult than it needs to be. And you’re likely to not like doing it and won’t be as good at it as you could be.
While losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight, whether you do it by just being sensible about eating, by devising a homemade diet, or going on a respectable and legitimate commercial diet program, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to stick with it long enough to meet your goals.
The problem is that it’s impossible to stick with it if you try to implement your diet and stick with it in ways that are contrary to your natural tendencies.
That’s like fighting against nature. And you can’t ever win a fight against nature.
If you use your natural tendencies as you go about losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight, it will be easier for you in both the short term and in the long run.
It’s just a matter of being true to yourself.
In this day and age your food choices in America are boundless. Variety is endless.
There’s no reason to fall for the marketing mania the food companies use against you nor to eat and drink anything that is detrimental to your health. You don’t have to be a fanatic about it, but beware the fancy marketing hype and the human tendency to be greedy, impulsive, and pleasure seeking when it comes to eating and drinking.
The food companies are going to continue making food and drinks that are bad for your health. They’re going to continue aggressively trying to get you to buy it.
As they do those things they are literally gambling with your life.
Please don’t gamble with your own life, too.
You can give yourself the edge by following the 5 ways to protect yourself listed above.
Who’s going to win this gamble?
The food companies?
Dexter Godbey is the Founder of Dieting Laws. For over a decade he has worked with individuals, businesses, athletes, and sports teams in the effective recognition and use of the power of personalities to achieve goals and get what you want in simple, easy, effective, and successful ways.