I never noticed how bad it was. Until I saw it through the eyes of our two-year-old.
Yesterday, as I was driving home from the bank, it was all I heard.
We passed a Starbucks. “Donut, Mommy?”
We passed a McDonald’s. “Mom, French fries?”
At a stoplight, “Smoothie, please Mommy?” I hadn’t even noticed there was a Dunkin’ Donuts at that intersection.
It made me realize just how cluttered our visual landscape is. With junk food.
I started thinking about that more.
What we see is what we eat. Right?
But, what would happen if we put our eyes on a diet of sorts?
When I see the Real Housewives, eating steak and drinking white wine at a drama-filled dinner party, I suddenly start wanting it. Not the back-stabbing and name-calling. But the food. When’s the next time the hubby and I can go out to dinner? Is the sitter free tonight? Because at that moment, I want that medium-rare filet and perfectly-chilled Chardonnay in the worst way. (Or maybe it’s just a night away from the kids. But I digress.)
But seriously, when I’m really being diligent, I actually have to stop watching some of my favorite shows. Top Chef. Anthony Bourdain. Even Mad Men. (Peggy, get me a martini.)
Think about all the food messages that you see, and ingest, everyday. And it’s not just commercials. It’s the shows. It’s the billboards. It’s pictures of food everywhere you go.
It’s in the junk mail I just took out of our mail box. Seriously. I literally just stopped writing this post to get the mail and this jumped out. Bam! It’s a legit visual assault!
Now let’s get something straight: there’s nothing inherently evil about wanting junk food.
We’re all human.
But are we making life harder for ourselves by looking at all those fattening, subliminal messages everyday?
Can you imagine what life would be like we were inundated with pictures of seared Ahi tuna, fresh kale and tall glasses of ice water instead of French fries, huge juicy hamburgers and super-sized servings of icy soda? How hilarious would that be? And how much easier to keep our cravings in check.
So let’s take inventory.
You can’t always control the fast food restaurants you’ll pass on your errands, or on your way to work.
But you can control what you watch on TV, or at what time you watch them. (Have you ever noticed that the late-night shows have all the pizza, Taco Bell and chocolate commercials? Yep, they know you’re weak. ‘Cause we all are.)
You can control where you meet your friends. Go on a walk together instead of meeting at McDonald’s or Starbucks.
You can control what you feed your kids. Try celery sticks and apple slices instead of things you’ll be tempted to steal, like Goldfish and tortilla chips.
Listen, life happens.
But it’s great to be aware of the food messages we’re slapped with everyday.
Because the more you know about your reality, the better chance you have at creating the one you want.
Title photo credit: Kellie Hero Photography