March is National Nutrition Month.
Food is often the cultural glue that brings people together for celebrations, holidays, mourning or just special family time. Our taste for food is one of the strongest senses that brings us back to our childhood or invokes a special memory from our past. Yet, as familiar as we are with food, gaining an understanding of how food fits into a healthy lifestyle continues to be an elusive goal for most of us. Daily we are bombarded with new fad diets and a contradictory wild west of do’s and don’ts. Is all sugar bad? Should we eat animals? What about GMO’s? Should I go organic? It’s no surprise there is so much confusion.
What’s not confusing—and what the research has been very clear about—is that weight cycling and crash diet programs are not helpful, and, in many cases, they are harmful. We need to take a long hard look at our biggest loser challenges—there is a better way. We need to focus on reshaping the culture around food. Food is not—and has never been—the problem. The traditions that we share around food are beautiful. Experiencing new flavors and textures and tastes are part of living a thriving life. We need to examine the why behind our unhealthy relationships with food. Could it be that our poor eating habits, overeating, and other lifestyle choices are symptomatic of other very real issues that we are facing?
I have had the opportunity to work with many organizations around the country as they develop their approach to worksite wellness, and food always seems to be one of the most difficult nuts to crack. Should fryers be allowed? What about desserts? Should we implement a surcharge on soda? As adults most of us don’t like to be told what to do or what to eat—especially when we are faced with much weightier issues like dealing with aging parents, raising teenagers, making ends meet or fulfilling our career goals. So how does a health promotion practitioner create meaningful opportunities to help employees eat foods that nourish their bodies and help them thrive? The answer lies somewhere within a balance of choice, education and policy. We should always assume that people already want to make a healthy choice, offer affordable healthy meals, and help employees build skills that help them be successful in achieving their goals.
With nutrition month around the corner I encourage you to personally purge yourself of the word diet and look to make some more reasonable and sustainable lifestyle changes. Be the example to your friends, family and colleagues. At WELCOA we are here to help. We have great resources to get you started and help you and those you serve discover a new relationship with food—one that gives you strength, happiness and health. Here are a few to get you started:
ON SALE: starting 2/12/18!
*Sale dates are Monday, February 12 through Friday, March 9, 2018. All discounted purchase prices are listed online. Offer applies to new online orders.
Ryan Picarella, President