Why vs. What You Eat

October 11th, 2016 by Sara Upson

Have you ever changed what you eat?  How long did it last?  What happened afterwards?  If you are like most people your answers would be something like yes, not for long and I gained more weight- maybe even more than before you tried to change what you ate.  Maybe you have even changed what you eat several times only to go back to your favorite foods.  What would it be like to try something different?

Huh?! What do you mean?  Well, in general, when someone thinks about losing weight, getting healthy, or changing their eating patterns they only focus on what they eat, how much and what they do- diet & exercise.  This usually leads to short term results, then followed by failure.  You can read about this trend here in the Diet Dance.  To really make long term change (most likely your goal), then it’s important to not only change what and how much you eat, but why you eat.  And, to take that one step further, maybe even why you eat what you eat.  Here’s why:

  • Changing what you eat to only healthy foods or diet foods is not sustainable.  Even if you have diabetes or another health condition it is important to learn how to manage that condition in a way that includes some of your favorite foods!  Think about it.  Do you want to go the rest of your life and never have your favorite foods?  I don’t!
  • Changing what you eat in a restrictive manner only leads to reactive eating- meaning overeating on the foods you enjoy when you allow yourself to have them, feeling guilty, and out of control.  This often creates anxiety based eating that is rooted in fear and shame.  That’s not a positive change!
  • Your body is made to enjoy a wide variety of foods.  That means all foods in moderation.  When you eat a variety of foods, it leads to satisfaction, energy, health and happiness!  Who doesn’t want that?

To make this change, it is simple, but not easy.  Dieting or lifestyle change in our culture automatically starts with what you eat and how much.  To make lasting results, we also need to look at why you eat.  Sometimes these changes can happen together, but sometimes we just need to start with looking at why you eat and why you eat what you eat.  When you understand what drives you to eat:

-more than you need,

-when you’re not hungry

-until you are uncomfortably full

-in secret

-the “wrong” foods

-not enough food

-food that causes you to feel guilt or shame

-foods that don’t taste good

-foods you don’t like

-a limited variety of food

-in a way that feels out of control or unable to stop

Then you can really make lasting change!  When you do this, food becomes just food and you are just eating to live (versus living to eat)!  Don’t worry, food is still enjoyable!  When food becomes just food it is much easier to change what you eat and how much- whether that is a shift to manage your health, wellbeing or weight.

Unsure where to start with this?  We can help!

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