Published in El Pais, 22 December 2018.
Throughout in the year and especially at end of the year parties, one feels the pressure to eat beyond the healthy limits. One may think that stop eating later will cause one to return to the ideal weight. However, stop eating is a method that is not sustainable over time. Eating healthy not only depends on an individual resolution but also on our environment. If society thinks “fat children are healthier”, “taking care of what one eats is torture”, “living without sweets is a boring life”, trying to maintain a healthy life will be more complicated. Has it not happened to you that when at work and you feel hungry your colleagues are willing to ask for “salteñas with a soda” or “sandwich with everything on it and super sweetened drinks”? Feeling hungry in the workplace may involve a whole new meal between meals. And what if you do not feel hungry but the entire work team is going to ask for something to eat? Eating fruit, drinking water or a tea, eating nuts is not in the plan because it is too simple. Many colleagues can accept this idea once but then they will continue buying something more elaborate.
In our environment it has been difficult to choose healthy options. Many things, even, those that seem healthy contain in reality a lot of sugar or a lot of salt. Those who prepare feel the obligation to put extra salt to highlight the flavor, or extra sugar because otherwise the client would think that it is not nice. The same thing happens to us when we invite people to our house. We are obliged to buy cakes, snacks and drinks so as not to risk that our guests get bored eating something healthier. And as guests we feel the duty to eat what they offer us, better in great quantity, so as not to make our host feel bad and worry when seeing us eat little.
Yes!, the environment is very important when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet. The expectations of society, our expectations, are formed through culture and customs. If our environment does not favor healthy eating, we can not do it alone in an easy or sustainable way. To achieve an enabling environment, the participation of the government with education and health promotion policies aimed at offering a healthier environment is important.