What to Eat: Three Questions to Ask Yourself

by Michelle May, M.D.

We are bombarded with conflicting messages about what to eat–often side by side on the same magazine cover. These confusing messages create internal conflict when what you want to eat must face off with what you should eat according to the latest expert.

Ironically, the definition of “good” and “bad” foods changes every few years so people feel confused and overwhelmed by all the conflicting and often arbitrary messages about what they are supposed to eat.

However it is possible to strike a balance between eating for nourishment and eating for enjoyment. In fact, one of the keys to optimal health and lifelong weight management is to nurture your body and your soul with the foods you eat.

So how do you drown out all the noise and find that balance when deciding what to eat? Start by asking yourself three simple questions when you’re hungry: “What do I want to eat?” “What do I need to eat?” and “What do I have to eat?”

What Do I Want to Eat?

The first question, “What do I want to eat?” may come as a surprise. But what happens when you try to avoid food you really want-like those Girl Scout Cookies that were delivered after you started your new low-carb diet?

First you check the label and confirm that they’re off limits so you put them in the freezer. Two days later they whisper to you from their hiding place, “Pssst. We’re in here!” You manage to resist them, instead munching on some olives, four cubes of cheese, a hunk of leftover meatloaf with a side of celery sticks, two pieces of low-carb toast–and yet you still don’t feel satisfied.

“Hey! We’re in here and we taste great […]

By |September 2nd, 2010|Food, Intuitive Eating, Mindful Eating|0 Comments

Beyond the Diet Mentality: Helping Clients Through Attuned Eating

This month’s article is written by Judith Matz, LCSW, co-author of The Diet Survivor’s Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care and Beyond a Shadow of a Diet: The Therapist’s Guide to Treating Compulsive Eating.  I came across this article in the latest issue of Psychotherapy Networker, a magazine geared toward what’s new in the world of psychotherapy.  Aside from my obvious professional interest in the article, I was impressed with how clearly Judith outlines what it is exactly we do as therapists working with people who struggle with yo-yo dieting and emotional eating.  Although this article is written by a professional for professionals, I think it comes across as quite accessible and will demystify the whole process of how therapy and coaching can help you overcome your struggle with food.  Judith’s website can be found at www.dietsurvivors.com. 

Q: Many of my clients struggle with food and weight problems. I’ve helped them look at the emotional issues behind their overeating, but it doesn’t always help. What else can you recommend?

A: When I began treating clients with eating problems, I believed that once they understood the emotional triggers behind their overeating, their compulsion to reach for food would decrease–which in turn would lead to weight loss. Instead, I discovered that, although they could resolve issues around depression, anxiety, relationships, work, and self-esteem, conflicts with food and weight usually remained. In the early 1990s, after witnessing the failure of most diet programs, I learned a nondiet approach to treating compulsive eating, one that has enabled me to intervene directly in the diet-and-binge cycle and help my clients make peace with food, their bodies, and themselves.

In our culture, dieting is seen as the primary way to control […]

Intuitive Eating: The Anti-Diet Approach to Eating and Losing Weight

In my last article, I explained why diets don’t work, and how they can actually do more harm than good (from causing weight gain to contributing to the development of eating disorders).  But if diets don’t work, and you really want to lose a few pounds, what will?

The answer is lies in looking at the ingredient missing in most diets: your relationship with food. In order for your weight to change, so do your thoughts, feelings and actions around food.  Intuitive eating, an approach developed by Eveyln Tribole and Elyse Resch, helps you do just that.

What is Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive eating is an approach that teaches people how to become more attuned to their bodies’ hunger signals, rather than keeping track of calories.  The process focuses on developing a healthy relationship with food, mind and body.

The basic premise is that we all contain an inner wisdom that knows exactly what we want to eat, and how much to eat at any given moment.  Skeptical?  Think of how a baby or small toddler eats: when they’re hungry, they know it (and so do you!), and no amount of pushing and prodding can get them to eat when they aren’t.  However, somewhere along the way many of us lose touch with our body’s hunger and fullness signals. Food rules learned at home or at school (“finish your plate!”), or being given food as a treat or a comfort, can eventually distort our natural relationship with food.

Intuitive eating is a non-diet approach that can help reverse this distortion.  It is also sometimes referred to as conscious or mindful eating.  However, it is also much more than that.

The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating

In order to embrace this […]

By |June 3rd, 2010|Dieting, Intuitive Eating|0 Comments