Fuel Your Body, Feed Your Soul
What if I told you if the bulk of your intake is food products and you don’t cook, that you will be over-fat? What if I told you marketing and nutrition labels are not truthful? What if I told you all diets are the same? What if I told you any eating plan that tells you it is not a diet, but is focused on quantity and elimination is, in fact, a diet. What if I told you that quick, deprivation -based weight loss is not sustainable? What if I told you the food industry and diet culture know their promises are lies, but their wealth is built on your belief that you fail because you lack willpower and not because they fail you?
What if I told you we have the power to say NO! No to a life where we hate our bodies; no to manufactured food products that starve our bodies for nutrients and destroy our health; no to the siren-call of an effortless, quick-fix; no to the miserable existence between diet/binge, deprive/indulge, willpower/weakness, and guilt/gluttony; no to a life that allows food products to damage our health, and a diet culture that fuels our weight epidemic.
My passion is to inspire others and give them the tools to live their best, health-filled life: a life that fuels and nourishes their body, but leaves room to feed their souls. My 51 years have taught me that life is too short to always say no to dessert, but too long to ignore the nutrient needs of this miraculous machine that we inhabit. My hope is that Fuel Your Body, Feed Your Soul is a start to free us from the lies of the food industry and diet culture; a place that that re-connects us to the simple, common-sense truth that health is built on a foundation of discipline and balance --not on the shifting sand of convenience, willpower and guilt; a place that inspires our readers to learn more, equips them with tools to change their relationship with food, encourages them to embrace a new mindset and allows us to all speak the truth: if any food product or diet actually worked we would not have a weight and health crisis epidemic.
Every epic tale has a villain…we have two: the food industry and the diet culture. They work hand-in-hand, fueling our fear and feeding off our desperation. Both are in the business of making money (and there is nothing wrong with that). However, greed has led to dishonest practices. The food industry manufactures products that are alluring: boxes filled with convenience and the promise of nutrition; products that enable you to feed yourself and/or your family with minimal effort or time, products that are shelf-stable and budget-friendly. Their marketing labels follow trends and are designed to assure you that you are purchasing what is best for your health and waistline: all-natural, enriched with vitamins and fiber, gluten-free, low-fat, zero sugar, low carb, non-gmo, organic, protein-packed, vegan, whole-grains, zero additives and so on. We walk through the grocery store believing we are doing what is best. If we have any doubts, five talk-show hosts, seven doctors, six documentaries, research, our neighbors, Facebook and a few celebrities all agree these products will improve our health and waistline. Even for the “your marketing labels don’t impress me” shopper that reads the nutrition label, food products use labeling laws (serving size, sugar alcohols, industry-jargon) to hide what truly lurks within: ingredients that alter our palettes, hard-wire our brains to crave their product, create havoc for our hormones and metabolism and don’t nourish our bodies!
The simple truth…food products do not provide your body with nutrients. They do one thing well, they make us fat. Why? Your body was not designed to respond to caloric intake. It was designed to respond to nutrient intake. When our body is given food products that lack nutrients our body continues to signal us that we are hungry. We overeat. We overeat to get more nutrients, but wait there aren’t sufficient nutrients. We continue to be hungry. We continue to overeat. We keep eating because we are starving for nourishment. The food industry has disconnected us from nutrient-dense, real food (you know food without a label, food that IS an ingredient rather than having ingredients). The hard-truth: we’ve sold our health and waistline for convenience. Common-sense tells us to shift our focus to real-food, but our second villain has been shadowing our first.
The diet culture is a deceitful, greedy monster. The diet culture now has two heads (like a hydra…told you this was an epic tale). Its first head tells you that you have no willpower and eat too much. So diets establish a quantity system to control your intake and create a caloric deficit. Their systems are different versions of each other (points, glycemic index, portions, number of days, weeks etc.), but each reinforce the notion that you are the problem. Your over-eating is your Achilles heel. As with the food industry, diet culture promises a quick, easy solution. They will provide you with products, charts, tracking devices to help you control your out-of-control eating. Sure, diets tell you to eat quality food (in the fine print), but isn’t it easier to eat a bar, eat less of what you desire or skip a meal to lose weight. So you buy in. You look in the mirror and tell yourself this is it: this Monday; this January. In 14 days, 30 days with a little willpower you will finally lose the weight! And you do. They have fulfilled their promise! You become a true believer. This diet works! Now you are in the “maintenance” or “transition” phase. You look in the mirror. You know you have the willpower to MAINTAIN because you love the way you look! But, diet weight loss is temporary for 95-98% of all dieters. Why? Because no diet addresses the actual nutrient needs of your body. Now, your body is not only under-nourished from a lack of nutrient dense food; it has been calorically deprived. The caloric deprivation caused the initial weight loss, but your body responded by slowing its metabolism. So now you have to eat fewer calories to sustain the weight loss, but wait…you are physically hungry all the time because you aren’t nourished and, more than likely, emotionally hangry for the comforting foods that feed your soul and have not been allowed. So you EAT! Dang it…the wine, the pizza, the ice cream, those brownies… you deserve them. You eat a little, ugh. The guilt and the sense of failure start to grow. Then the thought: I have no willpower. I am weak. You binge or give up and return to all your pre-diet eating habits. The weight comes back.
The diet culture knows you cannot win. The game is fixed. Why? There is nothing better than a repeat, loyal customer. All they have to do is deliver weight-loss, rapidly if possible, because they know if we don’t lose the weight or we gain it all back we blame ourselves: never the diet. All diets are the same. They know we are gluttons for diets. They feed off our vanity, poor body image, desperation and belief that every time is THE TIME. The diet culture knows as long as willpower is our only tool…our mindset will remain: the diet worked. We failed.
Our desire for easy and our hope blinds us to the truth: The food industry and the diet culture fuel our weight epidemic. Slowly, the veil was being torn and we were beginning to see this truth. However, the food industry and the diet culture realized we were becoming more conscientious about our nutrition and were shifting our focus from calories to nutrients. They did what they do best and pivoted to embrace this trend. Traditional diets gave way to “lifestyle eating”. (There is the second head of our hydra) We are now defined by our eating: we are keto, gluten-free, paleo, vegan, unprocessed, clean and whole food eaters. We aren’t dieters! No. We embrace a lifestyle that will help us regain our health! I will say it again….all diets are the same. These new “lifestyle” diets just cloak caloric deprivation by eliminating/limiting carbs, gluten, processed foods, and meat. True, initially you lose weight. While you learn to navigate your new “lifestyle,” you find yourself in situations where you don’t know if you can eat what is available (and you don’t want to fail) so you choose not to eat. You feel better, initially, because “lifestyle diets” begin with you eating a greater balance of nutrient dense food, but the food industry is lurking. If the “lifestyle” grows enough momentum, then the food products are manufactured and your new “lifestyle” has a section in the grocery store. This section is full of processed, packaged foods that make your “lifestyle” easier and more convenient. The food industry manufactures food products that enable you to stay true to your “lifestyle,” but have a tofupup, bread and “ice cream.” So, once again, the bulk of our intake becomes well-labeled, empty lies that make you over-fat.
Look, I have no horse in this race. I ask all my clients the same question: is the way you are eating or planning to eat sustainable for life? Can you eat this way no matter what life throws at you? Do you feel a sense of guilt and failure if you eat something off your chosen plan? Is this your third or sixth time trying this? The way you answer these questions will let you know if you are about to begin a diet. If you are about to begin a diet, then I would ask you to remember two facts:
-95-98% of all dieters gain the weight back
-all diets are the same.
What if eating didn’t cause a sense of shame, failure and guilt? What if eating something wasn’t cheating? What if we stopped relying on deprivation and willpower? What if the hero of this tale is just common sense…and a deep understanding that a well-nourished body is built on the bounty provided.
What if we accepted these simple truths:
-We haven’t failed. The food industry and diet culture failed us.
-We aren’t weak. Willpower is a lie.
-We overeat because we are starving for nourishment.
What if we accepted these hard truths:
-We didn’t get here in 14 or 30 days. It will take time to develop new habits and change our relationship with food.
-Diets are not the solution to poor nutrition.
-Wellness and healthy body composition require balance. AND discipline.
-You must shop for, prepare and cook real food.
What if we believed:
-We can do all things.
-We can break-free of the food industry and the diet culture by accepting that we are in this culture but do not need to be OF this culture.
-We can restore our health and our waistlines by fueling our bodies with the foods that have been perfectly designed for the miraculous machine we reside within
How? Begin by fueling your body and having faith that the bounty created (not manufactured) is sufficient. Imagine a life centered on fresh, real food that grows and is savored rather than inhaled. Imagine your body working for you: hormones in balance (hunger/satiety among them), an optimal metabolism, reduced inflammation, healthy gut-flora balance, improved sleep and immunity, fat-stores being utilized and restored energy. When well-nourished, your cravings will diminish (and, in time, disappear). Your palette will awaken and real food will taste sweet again! Imagine craving nourishment and no longer wanting……
Begin by accepting that true health must be built on a foundation of balance and discipline. You must leave room for the foods that feed your soul: provide emotional comfort, social enjoyment, and situational convenience. Know that you can enjoy these foods without feeling guilty. That is balance. Discipline is accepting that foods that lack nutrient value must be consumed in moderation. We are not called to be perfect. We are reminded that discipline is the key to a life that goes well. We are called to walk a narrow path….not a perfect path. Begin by showing yourself some grace and that achieving anything of value requires effort. Begin by reading our foundational five habits. Begin by ADDING nutrient dense food rather than falling prey to another diet.
3 John 1:2