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

What's the deal with yoga and hypermobility?

I wanted to address a question today that keeps coming up on various hypermobility and EDS forums that I frequent. It comes up so often in fact that I feel like I have to write this all up in one place, to save me 1000s of key strokes of individual responses and distil some of my opinions and thought processes on the matter.

It always goes like this. Someone asks a question like "I've just been diagnosed with hypermobility, I've been told I can't do yoga anymore..."

The responses are always a mixture of "yes, my doctor/physio told me yoga was the worst thing I could do for my hypermobility" and "I do yoga and it's been the best thing for my hypermobility".

So what gives?

Well, I'm firmly in the "yoga is useful" camp, and I have to disclose that. I'm a yoga practitioner of around 20 years and a perinatal yoga teacher, as well as a personal trainer and bendy person.

While I have the deepest respect for the medical professio…

I'm an intelligent grown-up, so why can't I eat like one?

Nutrition is complicated.
The rules change all the time. One minute we are told a food is bad, the next it's good. It's like scientists can't make their minds up!

Fat does't make you fat. Sugar is toxic. Undereating puts you in starvation mode. But you can "hack" your metabolism with this one weird trick.....

Of course all of this is false, or at least such a gross reduction of the truth that it is open to extreme misinterpretation. Put it out in plain sight and it becomes very clear that it doesn't hold water. So why are we believing this? Why are people telling us this, and most importantly; why as educated, intelligent adults who are perfectly capable of identifying a healthy plate of food, are we still struggling to consistently eat well?

The rules of healthy eating.
Healthy eating is not at all complicated. It's actually so obscenely simple that when I spell it out you're going to go "well tell me something I didn't know" and r…

Getting it done

My goodness I've been up to my ears recently!

A bunch of work came to a close, I took on some more, and then some other stuff came up and turned what I was expecting to be a fallow period into a flurry of tasks and deadlines.

And because of this, the several blogs I have on my to-do list, remain not done.

But I thought I would check in quickly and talk to you about how I get through those mad to do lists, and avoid getting bogged down by small stuff - because it was a hard lesson to learn.

Left to my own devices, I am both a procrastinator and a perfectionist. I want things right, but sometimes that means they don't get done.

I also suffer from social anxiety. In some ways this is an advantage when I work primarily in connecting with people, It makes me mindful in the way I communicate, and empathic with their uneasiness when it comes to the deep talk. It also means I really need a kick up the butt to reach out, or to get communication done, I need it to be right. Is it tactfu…

Training Ehlers Danlos Athletes - a primer for the Fitpro.

When you have a rare health condition, it's pretty exciting when you encounter someone who knows about it. Even more so when you encounter people who are interested in it and more importantly, understanding how to bridge the gap and work with it.

This is why I am really happy to be seeing more and more fitness professionals asking "I have a client with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, what do I need to know?"

As a fitpro, and athlete living with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome I am always happy to chat to trainers looking to broaden their understanding, and as I am often answering the same questions, I thought it would be good to do a write up.


Quick disclaimer before we start - I'm not a medic, and this is not for medics. I'm going to provide you with as many references as I can, but please seek specific medical input from your/your client's health care professionals. And with that we get to our first point.

Scope of practice.
Quick, check your job title. Are you a personal tr…

Training with Fibromyalgia - a primer for Fitness Professionals

Fitness and Fibromyalgia
The second of my posts about training clients with chronic illness (the first on EDS is here)

Learning how to achieve fitness in a chronically ill body was first my way of life, and later, my profession; as I train or programme for a number of Personal Training clients. I have EDS and Fibromyalgia (which commonly presents alongside EDS).

While the physiology and mechanisms behind EDS are relatively well understood, at least in terms of recognising the roles collagen plays in our bodies and the effects of an anomaly, fibromyalgia is a bit of a tricky one. The diagnosis, causes and management of fibromyalgia are not very well understood, and while progress is being made in terms of recognising physiological markers etc, we are still very much in the dark.

One thing that is generally agreed on however, is that exercise is good therapy for fibromyalgia, and that's where we come in.


Scope of practice
Here we go again...

Fitness professionals are there to help …