The Psychology of the Perfect Diet – with Marc David

Many people are on an endless search for the one perfect diet that can help them have perfect health, perfect energy, perfect weight, and a life without any doubts when it comes to eating. Indeed, there are plenty of experts who are willing to sell you their version of the perfect way to eat. The challenge is, every nutrition guru has a different approach, and it often leaves us confused or disappointed. It’s time for some nutritional empowerment. In this fascinating video from IPEtv, Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating shares some great distinctions that can help you see your relationship with perfection in a whole new light. These are some excellent insights you can put into action immediately that can make a real difference.

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Below is a transcript of this week’s video:

Hi, I’m Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

Today’s topic: The Psychology of the Perfect Diet.

Here’s the thing:

So many people who have an interest in nutrition and health make the fascinating assumption that there must be a perfect diet. Meaning, the perfect way to eat, the perfect nutritional system, the one way of consuming food that trumps all other approaches. As this thinking goes, all we need to do is discover this one perfect diet and we hit the sweet spot so to speak. By finding the perfect diet, we can have perfect health, perfect weight, perfect energy, perfect looks, and live approximately forever.

Who wouldn’t want to find the perfect diet?

Now this may sound like a bit of an exaggeration, and I’m being slightly tongue-in-cheek here – but the reality is, I meet far too many people, including the experts, who come from this essential place. There has to be one perfect diet.

Believing that there is a one size fits all perfect diet has some important consequences that we should take note of:

• It often has us on an endless search
• We’re constantly on edge trying to find the perfect foods
• We can become confused and frustrated because so many experts claim that they have the perfect way to eat and they all have scientific proof and many of them say something quite different
• We might believe we found the perfect diet, and stick to it for a while – only to watch ourselves falling off the wagon, eating foods outside of the diet, craving forbidden foods, which then leads to a lot of self rejection and personal turmoil.

This last point I believe is an important one.

That’s because there’s so much nutritional confusion and personal frustration that happens when we’re trying to follow our perfect diet perfectly – and the reality is – perfection doesn’t exist.

Name me one place in life where we can all be in agreement about what’s perfect.

Is there a perfect way to earn money?
Is there a perfect way to do relationship?
Is there a perfect way to raise children?
Is there a perfect way to have fun?
Is there a perfect way to move and exercise?
Is there a perfect way to have sex?
Is there a perfect house?
Or a perfect place to live?

I think you get the point.

But in case you don’t, let me spell it out in nutritional and scientific terms:

There is absolutely no such thing as the perfect diet.

There are likely as many excellent ways to eat as there are people on planet Earth.

The right diet for any one of us is linked to so many different factors:

I’m talking about your age, genetics, preferences, your sex, the environment you live in, this season, your lifestyle, the amount of exercise you do, any health challenges you might be dealing with, your personal goals, your personal beliefs, and all kinds of yet-to-be-discovered factors.

But don’t let this frustrate you please.

Nutrition is an ongoing journey. It’s an exploration. It’s a fascinating experiment. We live in a time when the body is changing, our nutritional needs are quite different than they were 1000 years ago, the world is a different place, we’re under a lot of environmental pressure from toxins in a poor food chain – so our nutritional needs are ever-changing and ever-evolving. That’s the good news.

When you finally let go of trying to find the perfect diet, you can relax.
You can be an explorer.
You can have a smile on your face and test out new approaches, new foods, new supplements, or the latest diet – and see how it works for you.

Body wisdom here is the final frontier.
Yes, you’re going to use your knowledge, you’re going to use what you’ve learned, you can listen to the experts, and at the end of the day each one of us ultimately makes the choice about what we consume.

You can see this journey as problematic and disappointing, or you could see it as something fascinating and exciting.

Your choice.

The desire for perfection in any area of life is a form of simplistic wishful thinking. It’s a way of approaching the world that calls for more maturity and experience. Perfectionism is a dream that we need to wake up from. The alternative is to continue sleepwalking and not understand why we’re constantly feeling off-balance, disempowered, uncertain, and always looking for answers about why our health or our eating habits aren’t perfect.

The field of nutrition is a bit messy.
It’s in a lot of flux.
Our lives are in a lot of flux.

These are the times we live in.

Let’s embrace that and do our best to celebrate it.

Are you willing to let go of being perfect?

Are you willing to admit that your quest for perfectionism often leads to confusion and self-abuse?

Are you ready to embrace uncertainty and be a nutritional explorer in your own life?

Just say yes, and your relationship with food will flower like never before.

I hope this was helpful, my friends.

Marc David

To learn more about the breakthrough body of work we teach here at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, please sign up for our free video training series at You’ll learn about the cutting-edge principles of Dynamic Eating Psychology and Mind Body Nutrition that have helped millions forever transform their relationship with food, body, and health. Lastly, we want to make sure you’re aware of our two premier offerings. Our Eating Psychology Coach Certification Training is an 8 month distance learning program that you can take from anywhere in the world to launch a new career or to augment an already existing health practice. And Transform Your Relationship with Food is our 8 week online program for anyone looking to take a big leap forward with food and body.


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  • Amen. Have found that I listen to many voices, and choose those that seem to resonate the most closely with my experience in healing my body, but keeping open to other ideas. I have found that no one has the perfect solution for ME. I am working to hone in on what works best NOW for ME, with the recognition that it will evolve over time, as I do. I am getting better little by little, and getting smarter about food and my body along the way. Compassion and gentle loving care are the best companions on this journey.

  • Lindsay

    Marc & Emily your videos and words fill my soul with hope. My story is very similar to Emily’s and everytime I hear you both speak my heart sings. Thank you for putting this take on eating out there to the public. I could relate to this video as I am a dietetic student and past personal trainer/nutrition coach. My brain got so wrapped up in perfection or the idea that I could have perfect days if I just found the right diet. This lead to seeking out answers with many lab tests & professionals. I lost myself in the process and gained a new level of anxiety around foods. I still am learning to relax, it became such a big subconscious threat when I ate that I literally could not breath. Yawning to get a good breath around meal times is quite annoying. The psychology of eating I believe is a big part of my long standing health issues.

    While I care to nourish my body with wholesome foods, I now accept and honor if my body wants pleasure from different foods. I think PMS time is the hardest, but I’ve found if I just eat what my body wants until I’m full then I actually get full & satisfied. I has to come to terms with my body image and stop expecting perfection, instead focus on the love I can offer to others in my life. It is hard though living in a state where looks and pool parties are the normal. I just pray each day that my mind will really relax and I don’t have to try so hard to let go. Thank you for all that you do! I will keep you in my professional network and suggest your work to my peers and future patients. Keep calm and carry on Marc & Emily. Oh and do you offer one on one coaching long distance?

  • You said it, Judy! Listening to your own inner guidance and finding what works for you in each moment, and giving yourself that TLC, are the keys to that powerful healing and transformation! Thanks for sharing. Warmly, Marc David

  • Thank you so much for sharing so beautifully about your journey, Lindsay! It sounds like you are doing profound healing work and really developing your awareness of what your body is asking for. I’m so happy to hear that our videos are resonating with you! Warmly, Marc
    P.S. If you’re ever looking for a coach, we refer all inquiries to our Graduate Directory:

  • Em Crone

    I am just so aligned with almost everything that you say, Marc. I love listening to you speak. You speak wonderfully, and I know you don’t take speaking/talking/forming words for granted!! 🙂 Just wanted to let you know that you inspire me!

    • Hi Em, and thank you so much for the feedback! It warms my heart to hear that you are inspired by this work! Best wishes, Marc David

  • Mary

    My perfect diet….weight watchers was my go-to diet for many years. I probably spent thousands of dollars on meetings (I was a chronic joiner/quitter), books, gadgets, etc. Then it was low- or no-carbs, shakes and other drink mixes. I’m 47 now and can’t lose any weight due to constant stress. I’m joining the 8-week course tonight and can’t wait to learn more

  • Thank you for sharing, Mary! So many of us have been there. It sounds like you have gained a lot of awareness through the process, though! We look forward to having you in Transform Your Relationship with Food. Warmly, Angela IPE

About The Author
Marc David

Marc David is the Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, a leading visionary, teacher and consultant in Nutritional Psychology, and the author of the classic and best-selling works Nourishing Wisdom and The Slow Down Diet. His work has been featured on CNN, NBC and numerous media outlets. His books have been translated into over 10 languages, and his approach appeals to a wide audience of eaters who are looking for fresh, inspiring and innovative messages about food, body and soul. He lectures internationally, and has held senior consulting positions at Canyon Ranch Resorts, the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, the Johnson & Johnson Corporation, and the Disney Company. Marc is also the co-founder of the Institute for Conscious Sexuality and Relationship.