Expectations, Restrictions, and Binges

Regularly, when working with clients, they will tell me that they had a “binge”. Whenever I hear this phrase uttered, I always ask them to describe the events in detail: what happened beforehand, what did they consume, where were they, what happened afterwards, what emotions did they feel, how were they talking to themselves and what were they focusing on? The definition of a binge is “an episode of uncontrollable eating in which a person rapidly consumes an excessive quantity of food”. Undoubtedly there are other definitions that differ slightly, but let’s stick with this one for now. … [Read more...]

How Objective Is Nutritional Science?

Lately I’ve been listening to lots of podcasts about biases within human nature. Podcasts like You Are Not So Smart and Hidden Brain that expose flaws in our ability to be objective as human beings. And it got me thinking about science, particularly nutritional science. Science is held up as this gold standard of objectivity and people consider the “scientific method” to be empirical and measurable. But how true is this in reality? You read people like Michael Gerber and Dean Ornish, who claim to be objective and just follow the science. And based on this science, they promote a … [Read more...]

Being Evidence-Based

The field of health and nutrition is filled with buzzwords. Some of them, like diets, come and go; while others are more eternal. One buzzword I’ve seen a lot of over the last couple of years is “evidence-based” or “science-based”. It’s something that many practitioners claim to be. The basic idea this term is meant to convey is that this practitioner does their research and looks into the science before making any claims. Or that when making a statement, they can back it up with some study or collection of studies. It’s meant to distance themselves from the “wellness” crowd, who make … [Read more...]

Common Vs. Normal

There’s a trend I’ve noticed that I find concerning. It’s when we people use the words “common” and “normal” interchangeably as if they are the same thing. The word common means that something occurs often or is prevalent. The word normal is less straightforward to define, because it can mean different things in different contexts. But if we are using it in a biological sense it means naturally occurring and free from disease. And from a psychological angle it means free from mental disorder; being sane. Where I see the problem is that damaging behaviours or thought patterns that … [Read more...]

Body Wisdom

A common story that I hear when speaking to clients is how their body is “broken”. That they are angry with their body or feel let down by it. Or online, I see more people talking about “bio-hacking”. Finding ways that they can tweak or manipulate their body to increase “muscle gains” or speed up “fat loss”. The problem with these various narratives is the lack of credit given to the body for what it does. The constant focus on “fixing” or “hacking” is an analogous to a magician’s power misdirection; you focus on what you think is important, but miss the actual explanation for what’s going … [Read more...]

How Our Mind Fills In The Gaps

Take a look at the picture below… When you look at it, what do you see? Hopefully you see a load of strawberries on top of a pastry of sorts that is sitting on a table. Now if I were to ask you the colour of the strawberries in the picture, what’s your response? My bet is that you’d say red. It seems obvious because they sure look red. Well it turns out that this is an optical illusion. There are no red pixels in the image above. The photo was created by Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a Professor of Psychology at Ritsumeikan University in Japan, who specialises in creating optical … [Read more...]

The Slow Progression of Symptoms

There is a fable many people have heard. It often comes up at corporate consulting gigs or in self-help circles. The fable has to do with boiling a frog. It states that if you put a frog in boiling water, it will immediately jump out. But if you put it in a pan with cold water and slowly bring it to a boil, the frog will sit there and be boiled to death. Despite the fact that this fable is false, there is some truth in the sentiment it is trying to express. Which is that, when change is small and gradual we don’t typically notice it. These incremental changes become the new … [Read more...]