Read an ExcerptThe Enlightened Diet 7 Weight-Loss Solutions That Nourish Body, Mind, and Soul
By Deborah Kesten Larry Scherwitz Celestial Arts Copyright © 2008 Ten Speed Press
All right reserved.
Chapter One Whole Person Nutrition
Research on optimal health suggests that we need a new ... kind of healthcare professional who can integrate the best of alternative care with the best of conventional medicine, along with psychological, social, and spiritual counseling skills. -Kenneth R. Pelletier, PhD, MD
The Enlightened Diet is unlike any other diet or weight loss program you have ever done. It is not a quick-fix diet as you know it. It is not about calorie counting, figuring fat, or watching your weight. It's not low-carb or high-protein, nor is it a restrictive regimen. We are not suggesting traditional, nonscientific approaches to eating and weight loss because, over the decades, we have learned that these approaches simply don't work. And the reason, we have discovered, is that they do not address the underlying reasons most of us overeat. In contrast, the Enlightened Diet is effective because it is the first comprehensive program that gives you a way of eating that addresses all of the biological, psychological, spiritual, and social reasons you overeat. In this way, the Enlightened Diet is actually an expression of the ancient, original meaning of diet in the best sense of the word: it's a way of life and eating that can lead you naturally to weight loss and wellness.
Why do we describe the Enlightened Diet as a way to live instead of as a restrictive, traditional diet? If your intention is to lose weight, and you stay with it, you'll accomplish this ... but also much more: you'll reap the rewards of more balanced emotions, spiritual well-being, and social connection. We call these multidimensional ways in which the Enlightened Diet heals "whole person nutrition," because not only will you discover optimal eating strategies for weight loss, but we will also show you how to make the most of your meals so that "all of you" will be nourished each time you eat. In other words, as you become more and more successful on this program, the more you will feel fulfilled without overeating, while at the same time you will experience both weight loss and "wellness living." And there are other benefits. You can also expect to see a lessening of food- and diet-related symptoms linked to some chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, as well as a reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression. At the same time, you will reap the rewards of connecting to the meaning in your meals, as well as to community, such as friends, family, and coworkers.
From Diet Despair to Enlightenment
"We have stopped our investigation of healing well short of its potential," writes Larry Dossey, MD, in Reinventing Medicine. In the same way, we have traditionally limited much of our investigation about losing weight and keeping it off to a one-size-fits-all, overly simplified, calories in-calories out formula: to lose weight, conventional wisdom tells us, the calories you consume (energy in) must be fewer than the calories you expend (energy out); to maintain a healthy weight, equalize your caloric intake and energy output.
If you are prone to gaining weight, the overeat-underexercise formula is most often the reason. But eating the amount of food your body needs to lose weight (translation: following a calorie-restricted, traditional diet) isn't working for the millions of Americans who diet, lose weight, and then gain it back ... and more. Other parts of the scientific weight loss-weight gain puzzle include: the kinds of food you eat, whether your lifestyle includes regular physical activity, whether you turn to food to cope with stressful situations in your life, your genes and biology, and your age and health status.
With the Enlightened Diet, we are suggesting additional reasons for overeating and being overweight. Not only does the Enlightened Diet target known eating styles that influence how much you weigh, but it also reveals newly discovered biological, psychological, spiritual, and social reasons for your food choices and eating behaviors that determine whether you gain or lose weight. Indeed, our research on the seven eating styles reveals the key reason most of us fail to lose weight and keep it off is the fault of diets themselves. After all, they do not address the underlying and multidimensional causes of overeating and weight gain that comprise the Enlightened Diet.
To date, hundreds of research studies link weight, health, and wellness to what you eat (diet) and other lifestyle choices you make each day, such as exercise, stress management, and social support. Indeed, your diet and how you live are two of the most important, if not the most important, determinants of your physical, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being. Yet if you are overweight, or have been diagnosed with one or more of the myriad health problems that stem from obesity, from heart disease and diabetes to depression and social isolation, you've probably discovered that sound, supportive, scientifically based personal guidance that can lead to health and healing is sorely lacking.
We created the Enlightened Diet to help you identify obstacles keeping you from reaching your optimal weight, and we show you, step by step, how to overcome them. In this way, you are empowered to achieve your personal weight and wellness goals. Our program also reveals the food-related aspects of your lifestyle that cause-and cure-weight gain and associated illness. And, as you'll see, the weight loss skills, insights, and techniques you'll discover are personally tailored for you to do at your own pace, based on your personal needs.
The Seven Eating Styles
Are you a food fretter? A task snacker? An emotional eater? Or do you typically "flavor" food with all-or none-of the eating styles? The seven eating styles we discovered during our research on weight loss revealed new insights into why so many of us overeat and gain weight and what we can do about it. The eating styles are: food fretting, task snacking, emotional eating, fast foodism, solo dining, unappetizing atmosphere, and sensory disregard. Throughout this book, we'll show you how to modify each eating style, so that it no longer leads to weight gain.
Here's how it works. The total eating style program in the book works by giving you the skills you need to fine-tune each of the eating styles, so that you can achieve and maintain your ideal weight. Fill out our personalized seven eating style profiles at the end of this chapter to find out which ones may be keeping you from staying slim. The quiz will reveal the degree to which you are practicing-or not-each eating style. In other words, you will discover how the food choices you most often make, and the eating behaviors you typically practice, work together to contribute to overeating and weight gain. Once you become aware of this, you will know the eating styles that need your attention the most, as well as those that may need minor modifications.
Once you discover your trouble spots and areas in which you can improve, each chapter gives you scientifically sound insights into the eating style, then a menu of choices and actions you can take that are the antidotes to overeating and weight gain. In other words, once you discover the eating styles that are holding you back, we give you an action plan that includes an abundance of personalized choices and options that you can practice and apply daily. These whole person nutrition and eating skills, tools, and insights are what you need to get slim and stay slim for life.
At the same time, you will be empowered to change the way you think about food, dieting, eating, and achieving and maintaining normal weight. The end result: the experience of whole person nutrition, wellness living, and weight loss.
In short, if there's a secret to successful dieting, the Enlightened Diet is it. With clearly defined and informed recommendations based on our research and other scientific studies, the Enlightened Diet provides a total resource for creating an individualized plan that's right for you. It accomplishes this by giving you the evidence-based insights you need to modify not only what you eat, but also how, why, when, with whom-even where.
Once you understand all aspects of your relationship to food and eating (biological, psychological, spiritual, and social), you will have a high level of awareness about what's leading you to overeat and gain weight. In turn, you can use these insights and wisdom to create conscious choices that optimize your relationship with food and eating. In other words, you discover how to turn a pattern of unsustainable food restriction into whole person nutrition and weight loss as a way of life. By "setting your table" this way, you will be empowered to create an action-oriented plan that turns overeating into optimal eating-n other words, to "diet" successfully for a lifetime.
We call our newly discovered patterns of overeating "styles" because they are a unique expression of the way you, personally, live or behave in relationship to food and food-related activities, from shopping and selecting food to eating food-even the atmosphere in which you dine. Think about the eating styles in the following way: every day you make a decision to style your hair in a manner that you believe is attractive, interesting, easy, and comfortable. Ultimately, your hairstyle reflects your taste and becomes typical of you; in other words, it becomes your personal style. When you're feeling good about your hair, you might say you're having a good hair day; when it's not looking its best, you may describe it as a bad hair day. And then there are days when your hairstyle is somewhere between looking either good or bad. As with good, bad, and in between hair days, each of the seven eating styles provides insights into the spectrum of your food-elated behaviors. On one end of the continuum, you are eating optimally, while the other end reveals that you are more likely to overeat and gain weight.
What does it mean to eat optimally? It means you take the time to nourish your body with a balanced intake of nutrients (biological nutrition); you get pleasure from food so that you feel satisfied (psychological nutrition); you connect to the life force in food (spiritual nutrition); and, because we're social beings, you realize you thrive when you dine with others while sharing convivial conversation in pleasant surroundings (social nutrition).
These biological, psychological, spiritual, and social nutrition facets comprise the essence of our Whole Person Nutrition Model and Program, and the comprehensive food, eating, nutrition, and lifestyle plan in this book. The more you distance yourself from these multidimensional facets of food, the more you're likely to be practicing one or more of the seven overeating styles, which in turn, leads to increased risk for becoming overweight or obese.
We realize it may be tempting to skip through this part of the book and, instead, to fill out the personal eating style questionnaire ("What's Your Eating Style?"), then to turn immediately to the chapter that most fits your profile. Taking only the first step is a good way to start, but it isn't likely to get you the results you want. That's because reaping the relationship-to-food rewards of our program asks that you "be here now," that you begin to relate to food and eating as an "in the moment" experience, and that you start-and continue-the journey by familiarizing yourself with all elements of our Whole Person Nutrition Model and Program, so that you can master the program, starting now.
With this overview of the seven eating styles, you will discover how to restyle your food life by discovering how to eat in order to lose weight and at the same time to enjoy food and the experience of eating. Each chapter will give you the tools, skills, and guidelines you need to accomplish this. Right now, though, we want to first shed light on the seven eating styles we've discovered that lead to overeating and weight gain, most of which have been overlooked by dieters, health professionals, and the diet industry. As you'll see, each style decodes the many reasons so many of us overeat and gain weight, while at the same time, each eating style-indeed, this entire book-offers the solution to the cycle.
Good food, bad food. Legal food, illegal food. Sinful food, pure food. The food fretting eating style is overly concerned about and focused on food, as well as projecting moral judgment onto what we and others should eat. If you are often filled with thoughts about what you or others should or shouldn't eat, traditional dieting, or the "right" way to eat, or you tend to measure your self-worth and that of others based on what or how much is eaten, the food fretting eating style is a key contributor to your overeating.
Do you see yourself in any of the following examples of food fretting?
"I was good today," you may think when you've managed to avoid unhealthful foods, stick to your diet, and eat what you think you should.
"When my food cravings become powerful and I eat foods that are bad, I feel so guilty," is typical self-think for many food fretters.
"She should resist that sinful chocolate cake. Doesn't she have any will power?" you might think as you watch a person eat what she "shouldn't."
Overcoming this eating style begins first with recognizing such judgmental, fret-filled chatter about food and eating. Being honest with yourself will be challenging, in part because being critical and feeling anxious about food has become common in our culture. The work you do to overcome this eating style is well worth the effort because it will enable you to replace fret-filled self-think with smart-think that will empower you to overcome this weight-promoting eating style.
In chapter 2, "Food Fretting," we'll reveal the pitfalls of the judgmental dimension of eating. For instance, as you'll see, a key underlying element of this weight-inducing eating style is traditional dieting, and then berating ourselves if we go off the diet. But the many food-retting guidelines we provide for overcoming fret-filled thoughts and recriminating behaviors about food and food choices-for both yourself and others-show you how to identify food fretting, and then what you can do about it. In other words, we will give you the specific strategies you'll need to turn weight-inducing judgmental thoughts and activities into a whole-person, nonjudgmental eating style so that you may enjoy food in light of its being a social, ceremonial, sensual pleasure-that doesn't lead to weight gain.
Some call it "multitasking"; the French call it "vagabond eating"; many others in America think it's "normal." However it's perceived, if you often eat meals or snacks while working by yourself in front of your computer, while driving, watching TV, or standing at the kitchen counter, shopping with a friend, or talking on the phone, it's likely that the "task snacking" eating style is increasing your odds of becoming overweight or obese.
With this eating style, you will discover how to rearrange your environment-both internally and externally. We will show you how to work when you work, drive when you drive, and eat when you eat, rather than eating while doing other activities. At the same time, you will find that making simple choices about eating mindfully can lead to big changes in overcoming overeating.
In chapter 3, "Task Snacking," you will discover the complex of related busyness behaviors and how they can contribute to weight gain. The antidote is offered later in the chapter, where you will learn how to break the cycle of merging eating with other activities. As you'll see, eliminating task snacking completely isn't necessarily the goal; instead, we'll give you easy-to-take actions you can do right now to cut down on your food-related multitasking and, in turn, reduce your overeating ... and weight.
Most of us are familiar with the phrase "emotional eating," a term that refers to those who turn to comfort food to soothe negative feelings, such as depression, anxiety, or loneliness, but also to enhance joyous, positive, celebratory emotions in response to, let's say, a wedding, birthday, or promotion. If you often eat to manage your feelings and to self-soothe-in other words, for reasons other than hunger-it's likely you're an emotional eater. Some health professionals describe this eating style as "compulsive overeating" or "food addiction." No matter what it's called, many of us turn to food to relieve emotional tension because it works. After all, doesn't eating certain foods or even thinking about eating serve as a distraction from emotions that may be making you feel uncomfortable?
Excerpted from The Enlightened Diet by Deborah Kesten Larry Scherwitz Copyright © 2008 by Ten Speed Press. Excerpted by permission.
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