There’s just something about going to a swanky healthy café/restaurant, ordering a healthy meal and pulling out your phone to take a snap. I don’t think anyone wants to be that person but everyone does it anyway. So why do we do it?
The human race is interesting. For thousands of years our environment has shaped us, hundreds of years ago, humans literally spent their days chasing their food. Then we eventually decided that settling down and growing food was best. Until technology came along.
It’s safe to say the world we see today is dramatically different. Following extreme technological advancements that allow our food to come straight to our door with little effort at all, humans now shape the environment.
Funnily enough, with the speed of such technological advancements, our bodies and brains simply have not had time to catch up. Which, as several studies have shown not only explains a series of behaviours in our relationships but our diets most importantly.
Here’s the thing.
Before all these technological advancements; sweet, salty and fatty foods were rare. Yet carbohydrates, sodium and fats are essential for proper bodily function and finding these in nature were particularly difficult. Which allowed for a ‘reward system’ and positive reinforcement to be created in our brains when having these foods.
Yet, the problem is that acquiring sweet, fatty or salty foods today is no difficult task.
So, the theory is- if we currently have brains that link fatty, salty, sugary foods with instant positive reinforcement, what happens when we have fruit and vegetables?
Why is it that we get an instant happy feeling when eating chocolate, pizza and other high fat, salty and sugary foods but not so instant gratification when eating a salad or a bowl of vegetables, despite feeling much better in the long run?
Essentially this evolutionary mismatch doesn’t allow our brains to link immediate positive emotions after eating so-called ‘healthy foods’ or exercising because they were behaviours that our ancestors never needed any additional motivation to perform.
In other words, eating fruit and vegetables is built into our system.
Hence, we have no inbuilt mechanisms to help us with the diet problems we may face today.
Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are such easy platforms to receive positive reinforcement for that #healthlife.
Psychologically they might just fill the gap and give us that endorphin hit that working out and eating vegetables might not give us in the same way.
So, social media might just be our brain’s way of hijacking our general learning mechanisms in ways that promote healthy behaviours and might just explain the ever-growing culture of food photography and Instagram fitness trends we see today.
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