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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.

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