Karla Gilbert: healthy habits start in kitchen

I GUESS you could say I have been on a journey of health improvement ever since I can remember. Competing as a professional Ironwoman for more than 10 years gifted me endless opportunities to discover how important a role nutrition and supportable habits play — in sport and life.

During the ’90s, it was rare for athletes to consider what they were fuelling their bodies with.

Many athletes think they can eat what they want because of the high energy output, but taking responsibility for how I fuelled my body was a massive player in my success.

Now working as an accredited nutrition and health coach, my passion is helping others break the shackles of dieting or yoyo fitness regimes while achieving energy and sustainable habits.

Simply put, to improve our body we first need to improve our mind. There’s no point haphazardly following a diet plan if we’re not addressing the issues around coexisting problems.

Most of us can hold a plan down for a week or so, but once an outside stressor enters the picture, kaboom!

We fall apart and back into unwanted habitual patterns. Sound familiar?

The biggest downfall in today’s society around maintaining health is the “busyness” factor.

We are also pretty darn good at making excuses.

The human mind is fascinating and largely programmed to revert to what is the easiest and well-trodden path (hello old ways).

Making changes towards new habits takes effort, but it is crucial for long-term success.

media_cameraFormer ironwoman Karla Gilbert is now an accredited lifestyle, food and wellness coach. Picture: JERAD WILLIAMS

Time and time again, I see clients that have tried everything. Everything except my holistic approach that comes not through counting calories, but having a deeper conversation with themselves.

Together we discover what emotions are behind certain habits, how our neurological junk tricks us into feeding urges while developing strategies and a healthier relationship around eating, movement and lifestyle choices.

I love sharing the message that a big chunk of regaining control of our health begins at home in the kitchen.

By making a few simple tweaks to your routine while learning how to be organised to cook your own meals has the amazing ability to build momentum.

There are many ideals and advice on what constitutes healthy eating, but my food philosophies are simple — eat real food that’s as close to its natural source as possible, and avoid refined sugars and processed foods.

The same goes with fitness-based programs. It’s a form of insanity to keep doing things you don’t enjoy or trying to replicate something that may have worked for someone else.

Most importantly, have fun with your health, be experimental, don’t take it too seriously and you may surprise yourself. We are, after all, a sum of our daily habits, where healthy living begins.


1 Know you are not your habits and have strategies in place.

2 Consider your future self and don’t act out of instant gratification.

3 Teach yourself to cook by planning healthy recipes you can make at home.