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“How to Change Your Taste Buds”

When I was a fast-food addict who regularly consumed meals of a thousand or more calories, I scoffed at the idea that I could change my taste buds. Frankly, I wondered why I’d even want to. I vividly recall reading a description of a small nutrition section of a big set of audios by Brian Tracy in which the question was asked:

“Can you really change your taste buds?”

I thought to myself: ‘I doubt it… and even if I could – why would I ever do that?’ Cryptically speaking, I wasn’t only addicted to the foods that were making me fat (especially in the quantities I ate them), I also seemed to be addicted to the addiction; a sort of strange compulsion toward a comfort zone that made the self-image it’d created seem like a dilapidating  abode that I just didn’t want to leave. I loved eating those foods so much that the thought of not loving to eat them seemed a bit alien and maybe even a little scary.

Change Your Taste Buds

Can you really "change your taste buds" in order to 'get lean' and 'keep the fat off?' You can... but it's probably more psychological than physiological


This makes sense in light of the NLP model referred to as ‘meta-states.’ When we form internal representations about our lives and the goings-on in them, we tend to shift into subconsciously embedded ‘states’ that bring up emotions (positive or negative) seemingly from nowhere. Then we begin having emotions about those emotions; we form meta-states about the lower level ‘primary states.’ An example of one of these multi-leveled mental models transforming into a negative line of thinking might go something like this:

‘Wow, that big piece of cheesecake looks really good. If I eat it, I’ll feel bad for going off my diet. Oh well… maybe I won’t feel so bad. And anyway… it’s just this one time.’

Consumption of big piece of cheesecake takes place. New thoughts enter mind:

‘Oh gosh… I feel guilty for eating that cheesecake. How come I don’t have any will power? What’s wrong with me? Why do I keep going off my diet when it makes me feel like a failure?’

This negative self-talk begins being judged at a meta-level; a higher level of the self-conscious that resides within the context of the self-image. Thus, the next bout of damaging self-talk can go something like this:

‘”Failure”… why am I thinking about THAT word? Why don’t I feel positive more often? I just keep beating myself up all the time while the positive people I know never do that. What’s wrong with me?’


‘How to Change Your Taste Buds’: A shift in Self Image

So where am I going with this? How does becoming aware of ‘meta-level thinking’ tie in with the question of ‘how to change your taste buds?’

It does so by way of the theory that it’s the higher level context of the subconscious mind (the part that made the judgment about ‘failure’ in our example) that usually requires change before the primary level thoughts and habits can make a positive shift. In other words, when we enhance our self-image, better eating habits are more likely to take hold. This results in a higher likelihood of our taste buds making the seemingly effortless change to finding healthy foods as much of a tantalizingly gustatory delight as junk foods were in the past.

I can personally attest to this. I’m a formerly overweight, high-carbohydrate/high fatty food-eating addict who now finds it nearly effortless to stay lean and in shape. That’s because my current subconscious self-image is that of a ‘high performance person.’ And how does a high performance person act? Well, they act like someone who has a lot of energy from eating foods that fuel the body rather than slow it down. When I routinely eat those types of foods, I feel terrific throughout the day. That great feeling has, in turn, become subconsciously anchored to the flavors of those foods. Staying lean and muscular is much easier when you discover ‘how to change your taste buds’ from this direction – from the meta-level thinking to the primary level.

The best evidence that you’ve learned this secret of ‘how to change your taste buds’ surfaces when junk food no longer has the appeal to your gustatory sense that it once did. If you follow the cheat day method of avoiding the perception of food deprivation, you’ll probably notice the change to your taste buds when one of those scheduled days of indulgences comes around. Although you’ll probably still want to keep your cheat/treat day for the sake of variety, you’ll likely (as I do) find yourself – at the end of your cheat day – looking forward to getting the high performance fuel back in your body.

And when your taste buds begin to perceive the pleasure your body is in for, you’ll have gained the knowledge of ‘how to change your taste buds’ for lifelong leanness.

Comments

Mr Dean Crawford

Saw an interesting point made by a nutritionist recently regarding the idea of 'comfort-eating' / over-eating and the psychological aspects of food consumption. She suggested that when eating one should't read a magazine, or watch television or do anything else - just eat the food, focus on it. An experiment was conducted with a cinema audience eating popcorn that was, to put it mildly, 'off'. None of them noticed because they were distracted by the film. When made to taste the popcorn after the movie, the visibly recoiled from it. Likewise, when offered good quality popcorn, they really noticed the difference and couldn't believe what they'd been consuming throughout the movie.

Junk food isn't much good for anyone, but because so many eat it 'on-the-fly' or whilst watching TV etc, we become blase about its poor quality taste. Perhaps a good way to help start avoiding an addiction to such food, and develop an appreciation for good quality grub and the foundations of that 'high-performance' personality is to focus on everything that we eat as we eat it. I wouldn't mind betting a lot of junk-food addicts would begin to improve their diet naturally just using this simple observation...

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