By LMQC Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell, St. Ambrose communications professor, RAGBRAI-er, pizza lover and longtime weight watcher.
Thinking about your next meal? If TV, Facebook and magazine ads are any indication, the answer is YES.
Pictures of food – and words about food – are put in our line of vision almost from the time we wake up until we close our eyes at the end of the day.
Heck, you can’t even pump your gas these days – which is what I was doing in the above photo – without an invitation to eat, visible either on the TV screen at the pump or the poster on top of it.
Pumping gas is a 3-minute exercise in boredom. You’re often desperate to look at something or read something to break the tedium. And marketers know it. But deep-fried chicken and waffles?
The ads don’t show spinach, strawberries or beans. They show processed, fast, heat-and-eat “foods” laden with calories, sugar and a long list of ingredients (most of which you need a chemistry degree to pronounce, let alone to identify).
It’s no wonder that we’ve all got food on the brain. We have MORE THAN 24 hours of food programming every day, across several channels. We’re force-fed our food obsession.
How to look the other way
The trick – for me – has been to fill up on good nutrition. I don’t leave myself hungry and susceptible to these awful marketing ploys.
I realized this when responding to a former student who was stalled after a 30-pound weight loss.
I was giving her a pep talk when I suddenly realized, mid-talk, I really don’t spend much time thinking about food anymore.
That was an astonishing revelation, especially for someone who used to start planning dessert during his early morning run.
Now, I’ve eaten my share of fried chicken and waffles, ice cream and Little Debbies.
But that was before I found nutrition religion and turned my thinking around.
At that gas station, I was on a slow pump. I had plenty of time to stare at that deep fried chicken sandwich on a waffle bun.
But today, I can look the other way.
What genius, I wondered, thought of this combo, and what was the reaction at the meeting where the idea was introduced?
Makes you wonder what these these junk food pushers think of their audience.
I like food. I eat food. But after spending a lot of time narrowing my diet down to good, nutritious food with simple, basic ingredients, I find myself (mostly) happy not to have more tempting choices.
My stomach isn’t grumbling when I’m bombarded by this marketing.
How about you? How susceptible are you to these marketing ploys? How often do you win the battle? How often do you give in?
|Meet Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell. Alan is a communications professor at St. Ambrose University and a former reporter for WQAD-TV who has exercised – and dieted – his entire life. Read Alan’s other blog posts.|