Skip to main content

Eating healthy and adjusting the palate.

The other day I posted on my Facebook, expressing my great joy after a lovely breakfast. Because that's what social media is for (seriously, see my instagram) a friend responded that they didn't find healthy food enjoyable to eat and it got me thinking.

I think a lot of people considering starting on a new health kick think of good food the way I think of spiders. Stay with me here....

I dislike spiders, the thought of touching them makes my skin crawl. I don't really like this situation, I'd rather be able to be comfortable around them. I have thought about those arachnophobia courses where you build up to being able to hold a tarantula. But there lies the issue, when I imagine my future self, merrily petting a giant 8 legged beast, it makes my skin crawl.  Which makes no sense, because future me would be fine with it. Current me doesn't want to be in that position.

I think we go through this same kind of process when we make major life changes. When you tell someone they are going to have to completely give up an unhealthy food habit, they imagine their life without it, and see it from their current perspective. It doesn't look so sweet (literally).

Making a change seems hard and uncomfortable, and it's difficult to imagine living with that change... but you can, and you will.

I think this is why people like the idea of "diets" and quick fixes. It's not just impatience, it's the idea that the adjustment is something to be endured for a short time, but like I've said before, short term fixes lead to short term gains.

I'm going to share with you some of my experiences.

About 12 years ago, I was trying to lose weight and read a book called "Only Fat People Skip Breakfast". I followed the advice therin (mostly) and lost a fair amount (and mostly kept it off too). One of the conditions of the program was giving up refined sugar completely.

I have a very sweet tooth, and that was hard. I enlisted the help of these little patches that smelled like vanilla to ward off cravings. I did it, it took a lot of grit.

Now I do eat sugar again, but in much smaller amounts, I also eat some bread and other things I "gave up" back then. However there are many foods I gave up then, that I still couldn't fathom going  back to, like sugary fizzy drinks and potato crisps. It just doesn't occur to me to consume them; when I've tried, I find fizzy drinks disgustingly syrupy.

I used to love chocolate. I still do, except for a while I deliberately restricted myself to high quality, raw chocolate. It's more expensive and intense in flavour so it's hard to eat a lot of. Now "normal" chocolate just tastes of grease and sugar, I really don't like it. I turned myself into a chocolate snob.

This is the thing. Your palate adjusts. But you also have to adjust your mindset. Find ways to enjoy eating well, think of it as a treat, if not for your tastebuds (initially) then for your vitality because you will feel better. Don't shock your system, take it gradually.

Try out a few healthy recipes that look good to you. Try halving your fizzy drink intake. Make small changes and let it creep up on you as you adjust. Gradually you will start to appreciate the amazing arrays of flavour and texture in good, wholesome food and start to find your old comfort foods bland and stodgy.

Eventually you will find yourself eating a diet which right now might seem unappealing, but, by the time you get there, I promise you're going to love it.

I want you to be able to eat the foods you love, with the people you love being around, and also be healthy, strong, and as lean as you want to be.

I help people achieve this with tailored online and in-person nutrition coaching, powered by Precision Nutrition's proven curriculum. See what it's all about here.


If you want support and advice about incorporating healthy eating into an active lifestyle for better health and wellbeing, subscribe to my newsletter.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Managing Fibromyalgia flares

I've written before about living with EDS and Fibromyalgia ,  much of my personal fitness and health practices are geared around managing those conditions and keeping me as well as I can be. When managing a chronic health condition, particularly one that involves fatigue and potential flare ups, pacing, good nutrition, good sleep and generally taking care of yourself is always the first priority. Ideally we want to have as few flares as possible. But sometimes they still happen, and when they do, it's good to have a strategy in place. And I'm going to be talking in fairly general terms, because while EDS and Fibro are my personal experience, there is so little understanding of the mechanisms behind these conditions, that most strategies are going to be applicable to a number of conditions where crashes of exhaustion and pain are a feature. So what is a flare? A flare is a period where someone with chronic illness suffers increased symptoms for a short while. The

My top apps for supporting a healthy lifestyle.

The hardest part of making healthy choices and lifestyle changes is making it a habit. It's easy to make a decision to "eat better", "exercise more" or whatever your current plan is. It's a lot harder to stick to it on the rough days, for long enough that it becomes a habit and part of your life that you can't imagine being without. I love a bit of tech. I am a super geeky science nerd and finding ways to use technology to support my health and fitness makes me very happy. So with this in mind I thought I'd give a quick run down of my favourite smartphone apps for developing and maintaining healthy habits. Habitica I'm starting with this one because it's mad and I love it. Habitica is basically a to-do list app, but it's specially for the gamers among us. If you are familiar with Dungeons and Dragons, and all the games that grew out of that system and fantasy world, you will recognise Habitica. The app allows you to create 3 t

Is being polite sabotaging your weight loss?

I've been thinking a lot lately about the barriers that make it hard for people to stick to healthy habits, or even take them up in the first place. My personal training clients are a lovely bunch, and one thing I can certainly say is that none of them have come to me completely uninformed about healthy eating. Most people have done some homework before they get to the point of hiring me, and while I always go over the basics (never assume anything) I know that when I tell them stuff like this, it's not new information to them: Eat less to lose weight Eat protein with every meal Eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day Consume high sugar and fat treats rarely and in moderate portions Drink water with every meal or snack Exercise regularly That's not rocket science, so why are so many people still struggling with it? Is it because "the rules" are more complicated? Are they missing the "weird trick" (spoiler alert, there are no weird tricks

Step away from the scale. Why weigh ins and weight loss don't match.

I have a persistant bugbear when it comes to health coaching, and it's this issue of "weight". People are often talking about "losing weight", the number on the scale becomes a focus. "If only I could just get under 65kg" they say. Or worse I see advertised "buy this supplement and you can lose 20kg in a fortnight". I've found myself frequently sitting with a weight-focussed client and asking "if you were 2 dress sizes smaller, fit and toned, but you weighed the same as you do now, could you be happy with that?" You might be surprised how challenging a question that can be. For many people, particularly those who have struggled with weight loss, that number is the absolute key. They can wake up, feeling energised and full of life, slip into those jeans that used to live hopefully in the bottom of the drawer, check themselves in the mirror and love what they see... then they step on the scales, see the number is half a kilo

Becoming a powerlifter - the aftermath.

The main event! It's been a couple of weeks now! So a bit of a delayed update because I have been up to all sorts of things. The news on powerlifting is that I did get to my meet! I made weight (hoorah!) by cutting a couple of kilos, then I did the competition, and because I knew that I would likely not be able to update my blog straight away, I made a little video to summarise how the competition went. [TLDW, I totalled 230kg, which is less than my gym PR, but I'm pretty happy considering. There were hiccups...] Here's a couple of quick videos (kindly recorded by Ryan from Kernow Gym ). My second squat, with extra angry lockout, and my third deadlift. The one that didn't get away. This is my second squat @ 72.5 after my first @ 70 was disqualified. I was pretty annoyed at that, which probably accounts for the fast lockout 😂😂 A post shared by Claire Salem (@firelotusfitness) on Oct 16, 2017 at 11:04am PDT I like deadlifts, de