Live to Eat Well, Exercise, Be Well in Mind and Body

Food Philosophy

Ditch the Diet

Countless studies and your own personal experience (mine as well), have proved time and time again that dieting is not a long-term solution for good health, performance, or weight-loss. Sure, dieting works short-term, but most people will regress back to their former weight or usual eating habits.

There is no perfect diet. “Diets” don’t work. They make people fat and miserable and sick and they keep people fat and miserable and sick. The original definition of diet is: “food and drink regularly provided and consumed.” This definition makes no value judgments, has no moral underpinnings. But diets as we’ve come to know them (restricting, weighing, measuring, counting, allocating, planning, following, cheating, obsessing) are the farthest things from perfect. They are poison for the body and soul.

A human being’s relationship with food is a complex phenomenon; food is valued for many reasons – nutritional, sensual, cultural, psychological, and more. The act of eating cannot be simplified as merely calories in and calories out.

This is why I became a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor – an anti-diet approach to eating behavior created by Evelyn Tribole, M.S., R.D., and Elyse Resch, M.S., R.D., F.A.D.A. As a coach and a counselor, I have adopted their model founded on the following ten principles:

  • Reject the Diet Mentality
  • Honor Your Hunger
  • Make Peace with Food
  • Challenge the Food Police
  • Feel Your Fullness
  • Discover the Satisfaction Factor
  • Cope with Your Emotions without Using Food
  • Respect Your Body
  • Exercise – Feel the Difference
  • Honor Your Health – Gentle Nutrition
Love Food That Loves You Back

However, good nutrition is still important. There are plenty of thin, natural intuitive eaters in the world who suffer from poor health due to a nutrient-poor diet. On your journey to better the self – lose weight, increase your energy levels, lower your cholesterol, heal your digestive disorder, build up your confidence – you have to choose to make a fierce commitment to your best self. You must learn to love food that loves you back.

Overly processed foods don’t love you. Refined sugars and flours, including the ones touted as “organic”, don’t love you. Foods drenched and fried in oil don’t love you. And yet you pine for them. You plan your day around them, spend your money on them, invest your energies and emotions into them. Yet at the end of the day, you’re left asking yourself, “Where’s the love? Where’s my return on investment?” Truth is that you’ve spent too much of yourself on food that makes you heavy, sluggish, sick, and depressed.

Does this mean you can never eat corn chips and cheesecake and hamburgers ever again? Yes, you can! It’s all about how much and how often – boundaries you can learn to establish. If you fill yourself up with delicious, wholesome food that you love, learn to feel your fullness and honor your health, suddenly you won’t have so much room for “extras”. Give yourself unconditional permission to eat, make peace with food, eat mindfully, and eventually rich foods will have little power over you. And when you eat them, you’ll learn to respect and savor them as snacks and special indulgences instead of devouring them as usual fare. Those are calories well consumed!

A Special Kind of Love

As with people, everybody’s tastes and temptations are different. Some people are vegetarians, some are carnivores, and others are vegan. Some people like fish, some people hate it. Some people are allergic to gluten, peanuts, milk, or whatnot. Some people hate broccoli while others fantasize about brussel sprouts.

Everyone’s love story with healthful food is different. It could have been love at first bite! Or maybe it takes a few dates, recipes, and some persuasion, but in the end, you live happily ever after. The point is, whatever your preference, taste, allergy, disorder, etc., the food world is a big place and everyone can find or discover foods that they love that love them back. It might be easier or quicker for some than others, but it still holds true.

Learning to love food that gives you life, energy, health, and joy is a process, a journey. Don’t expect to be an expert overnight! While I can’t promise that you will find that special someone at your local grocery, I can promise that you will find plenty of fruit and vegetables, proteins and dairies, whole grains and starches, and good fats that will love and appreciate your body and treat it like the glorious work of art that it is. LOVE FOOD THAT LOVES YOU BACK.