"You want me to give up what?!" - A husband's tale of living with a nutritionist
WRITTEN BY JAMES KELLS
Obviously, one of the perks of being married to a nutritionist is that I get to eat pretty healthy. Sure, we still order a ‘dirty burger and fries’ for date night sometimes but I am blessed to have an amazing wife who cooks not only nutritious dishes, but delicious dishes.
Prior to meeting Laurel, I considered myself to be healthy. She will tell you the first day we met that I asked her if she had any carrots in the fridge that I could snack on. I would stay away from the obvious sugary foods (I have since learned a lot more about sugar in foods) and sugary soft drinks.
When Laurel began her journey in nutritional studies, we both began to learn a lot more and as a result, began to change many of our habits. Habits are a strange thing from both a psychological and physical point of view. You’ve probably heard that habits are easier to make than break. This is both good and bad when it comes to nutritional habits and eating well. It's good in the sense that I can create better eating habits that will result in me feeling better and living healthier, but its bad in the sense that I have to break habits by giving up certain foods that I love.
I still had a love for pasta dishes, bread, packaged muesli bars, breakfast cereal….the list goes on. I couldn't imagine life without any of these foods! What would I eat?! But, when Laurel and I began the journey, she was quite cunning, if you like, in how she transitioned me into giving up those foods. I had an open mind to creating new habits, on one condition: there had to be an alternative to ‘fill in the gap’. You see, psychologically, males might be a little different in how they view this situation: There was no way I was going to give up eating something, unless there was something else that I could eat to fill the void in my tummy! I have a calorie intake that must be maintained, otherwise I might waste away to nothing or turn into a bean pole! That's what I thought... So the journey began.
Laurel didn’t ask me to give up all the foods I liked at once. If she did there wouldn’t have been any chance of me sticking with this diet change.
They say that you have an 80% better chance of conquering a habit if you introduce one new habit at a time, as opposed to trying to introduce multiple habits at the same time.
Giving up my pasta, bread, muesli bars and breakfast cereal all in one hit wouldn’t have gone down too well. But, one food at a time, Laurel transitioned me into healthier choices with alternatives that left me feeling fuller and feeling better than what I was previously eating.
She was graceful to transition me from pasta, to gluten free pasta and then to roasted vegetables.
Normal bread for lunch was replaced with paleo nut and seed bread and it later became lunches with roasted veggies and a protien.
Snacks went from muesli bars to nuts and seeds or a piece of fruit with almond butter (or a healthy baked treat).
Cereal for breakfast became eggs and veggies.
I now look at what I eat on a daily basis and am amazed at how such a transition even occurred! Even when Laurel isn’t around, such as right now (she's enjoying the Californian sunshine while I brave the wet NZ winter), I find myself making good choices and taking the time to prep easy and quick meals. That’s one way to know that you really have mastered something, change your environment and see if your habits stick! All of this happened with slow and steady habit change and it happened over a long period of time.
There are no quick fixes when it comes to being healthy and eating better. It takes time yes, but the end result will be the formation and establishment of habits that set you (and your family if you're a parent) up for success for the rest of your life.
One more key to habit change success: you can't “think” your way into a new habit. You have to take action! No one ever changed the world by thinking about it, neither will you change your world by thinking about it.
Set your goals, make a realistic plan and go for it!
If you have no idea where to start in changing your habits and your world then check out Laurel's LK + Procoach. It’s a 12 month (so, totally realistic) habit based nutrition coaching and education program that will instil new habits in your life when it comes to nutrition and wellbeing. These habits will last a lifetime.