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Friday, May 6, 2011

18 Inches

Dietitians and other health professionals often speak out on the need for everyone to choose a healthy diet. In what often comes across as condescension these health elitists speak about the food choices of the general public very negatively. In essence they miss the real issue by 18 inches. That is the distance from the head to the heart. The head or the heart can help formulate a response to something but the nature of either of the two is vastly different.

The head responds in an all too linear fashion to many choice related matters. For example it may be objectively true that eating too much butter can lead to certain diseases but that will do little to stop people from consuming it if they like it. It might also be true that too many sugary foods can impact health negatively. However constant finger wagging and the reciting a litany of scientific data will do little to turn folks from their favorite sugary foods.

The heart on the other hand understands the why behind the choices a person makes. This perspective considers the feelings that a person has toward a food or manner of eating. Though mortality rates and other scary data can motivate some it will never get to the heart of an issue. In truth the heart of the matter may just be “I like that food and I intend to eat it despite the consequences”.

So if you are a health professional bent on changing the world remember that unless you win the heart you’ll never change the mind. The way we eat is much more closely tied to the heart and than it is to the mind. So instead of berating people for what they eat or how much they weigh and what their cholesterol level is just give some good information and beyond that let it go.

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