Nutriphobia – Fear of Healthy Eating

Just the other day I remained speechless after reading an email from a client who changed his mind about our collaboration before it even began. She got scared of time and energy investment in the necessary change. I realized there’s something wrong in the way people perceive healthy diet and nutritionists and decided to put in on paper.

Ok, on my computer. 

So I got up from it and put the coffee on. Yes, nutritionists drink coffee, and coffee most likely has a beneficial effect on health.

While I was waiting for the coffee to boil, I realized the mentioned above could be easily explained by using the word fear. And where’s fear, there’s phobia. Before I was done with my coffee, I already had an idea for this article. Nutriphobia seemed like a logical product of my coffee time.

Short disclaimer: the article is based on actual people and events, but some parts were dramatized in order to achieve a stronger effect.

Googling the term in Croatian (my native language) gave me no results. In English, my luck was only slightly better, and I dug up an incorrect (in my not so humble opinion) definition, describing nutriphobia as a preference for medical products over dietary supplements, due to the fear of the latter. Luckily for my nerves, this isn’t an official definition, but one tailored up by a healthy foods shop owner. Which also sells suplements. I googled in Spanish as well (I currently live in Spain). This led me to a somewhat useful definition of nutriphobia as a fear from not knowing how to eat healthy. But, you assume correctly, I’m not happy with this definition either. So, I’ll make my own.

Nutriphobia is a fear of healthy eating.

Tasteless food. Hunger. Forbidden foods. “Who’s gonna pay for that?!”. Giving up on sweets. Counting calories. Spending the rest of your life in kitchen.

Fear of healthy eating is real

Abovementioned associations are very common and are some of the reasons people don’t have a healthy diet. Not the main reason, of course, which is a combination of evolutionary predetermination for tasty food and the surroundings full of foods designed to stimulate our taste buds.

However, I believe that the fear of a healthy diet should be talked about because it hits the group of people who would most likely ask for help of a nutritionist, if there was no fear present.

Distortion of the meaning of healthy diet

Everything begins with unqualified and/or uncopetent individuals who feel the need to throw diet tips around. This creates an impression that healthy diet is everything mentioned above. People think that eating healthy means staying miles away from empty calories. Living on seeds, tofu, and water. Being so hungry you want to slap your colleague for being 4 milliseconds late with a good-morning greeting. They think that healthy diet is too expensive for an average budget. I’ll refrain from saying they think that one must climb the Peruvian Andes in order to retrieve healthy foods.

All these are reasons that doom the operation „Let’s improve our diet“ before it even began. And that’s a shame, considering the positive effect that healthy diet has on our health, looks, and self-confidence.

What they don’t understand is that healthy diet is not reserved for people of iron will ready to eat styrofoam for the rest of their lives. That healthy diet is not a privilege of the wealthy. Tofu is great, but meat is fine too. Quality foods can be bought in a supermarkets around the corner. Nutritionist won’t lead your taste buds into a lifetime of slavery, but teach you to adjust your diet to life’s circumstances.

Dietary nonsense…

People need detox.

Detox from dietary misinformation. From dietary nonsense. Detox from useless or harmful advice. People need a validated, sane, down-to-earth advice which does not require them to subject their lives to their diet.

Have no fear. Don’t delay. Decide, on your own or with help of a nutritionist, to make the first step towards upgrading your diet and health. Later you’ll ask yourself what were you afraid of and why it took you so long.