The Health Halo

In the past I’ve written about a type of bias we have called the halo effect. If a person possess a single positive attribute, like they’re good looking, we’ll automatically believe that they possess other positive attributes, like they’re smart, funny, good with money, etc. The Health Halo This halo effect doesn’t just relate to people, it also relates to food. Our ability to evaluate a food can easily be derailed by some simple buzzwords. It alters your perception of calories. For example, if a food is labelled as “low-fat” or “fat-free”, people will typically underestimate the … [Read more...]

Health and “Lifestyle Factors”

There’s a meme that I regularly see online. It comes in slightly different forms but one example is: “…the majority of chronic diseases are preventable and based on lifestyle factors”. I also see it where the words “chronic disease” are substituted for specific diseases. So the majority of “cancers” or causes of “heart disease” are preventable and based on “lifestyle factors”. Now this can feel like it’s sending a positive message. That we aren’t powerless and destined for this fate, that we can take control. But the problem is, we don’t necessarily have control over each of … [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...]

My Morning Walk

Over 4 years ago I moved out of London to the countryside. After spending my whole life living in cities (first Sydney, then London) I was craving more space, greenery and a different pace of life. It’s been for the better. I could write a whole book on the benefits I’ve experienced from changing my living location. But one of the best things to come out of it is my morning walk. Everyday after I have breakfast I’ll go for a walk accompanied by my dog, Rox.  Regardless of the weather, we’ll make our way around the fields and forest and typically walk for about an hour. So why do I … [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...]

Using C.A.N To Improve Your Eating

This month I spent a couple of days doing nothing but going through research looking at how the environment affects our eating behaviour. It culminated in me releasing two podcasts on the topic (which you can listen to here and here). One of the big things I’m constantly trying to work on with clients is how to make eating healthful food easy and habitual. So rather than having to use willpower at every meal and remind themselves about the long term benefits of a higher fruit and vegetable intake, they set up the environment so that healthful choices happen automatically. A recurring … [Read more...]

Your Health Bank Balance

A helpful analogy I often use to think about health is to imagine it in terms of money in the bank. The better health that someone has, the higher amount of money they have in their account. They have more money (energy) to call on in short term emergencies. They also have the ability to spend more on long-term projects, without depleting the original pot because more money continues to come in. When working with clients, I’m always thinking about what their current wealth (health) is and what their current spending is like. What are things that they can do to bring in more wealth in the … [Read more...]