If you like to stay up to date with the latest developments in nutritional science, you might be able to relate to this experience: A new book, study, or diet method is released with much excitement and fanfare, but when you take a closer look, you realize there’s not much that’s “new” about it after all. It seems like the experts just keep rehashing the same old themes: how to get rid of weight or lower your cholesterol, what foods will save your life and what foods will poison you. For sure, these studies can include some useful tidbits, but have you ever wanted something truly different, a real breakthrough? If so, then you won’t want to miss this podcast episode, where Emily Rosen, Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, shares some surprising new insights that can transform the field of nutrition for good. You’ll never look at your diet the same way again!
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Here is a transcript of this week’s video:
If you’ve spent any time reading up on the latest nutrition information and trends, chances are, the news held your interest for a while – but your eyes started to glaze over when you realized that most commentators were talking about variations on the same theme in their books, blogs or articles: the latest super-food, the newest supplement, the next toxic food you should stop eating, or the hot breakthrough diet that will help you lose weight.
This might make sense if the advice we were getting actually worked. But after decades of dieting, we’re still getting plumper. And nutrition-linked diseases are skyrocketing. Our relationship with food and body is also at an all time emotional low.
As someone who craves real nutrition information that can make a real difference in people’s lives, I’d like to say “enough already.” We need something with a little more substance.
It’s time to try something new.
I’d like to offer to you 7 nutritional nuggets worth considering. These ideas just might get the nutrition world out of its perpetual spin cycle and into a place of depth, breadth, and wisdom.
1. Nutrition Experts Need to be Consumed with a Grain of Salt
We’ve become so reliant on outside advice that we’ve lost the ability to access the wisdom of the greatest nutrition consultant on the planet – you. I love experts, but most experts tend to observe their own bodily experience and translate it onto your body. They erroneously believe that if a specific diet works for them, it must therefore work for every human alive. Nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all business. Use experts as “consultants” – listen to what they have to say, then make choices from your own own wisdom, experience and insights.
2. Let Go of Your High Fact Diet
We tend to believe that if we only had the correct facts, the right information that’s been carefully researched by people who know more than us, then we could be happy. Yes, facts and information are important. And, at the same time as we honor facts, we need to embrace the wisdom of the body. Listen to your own desires. Experiment. Make mistakes. Get feedback from your body. Can you notice how a particular food or supplement impacts you? When you quiet your mind enough to access the wisdom of your own biology, you’ll receive plenty of feedback that’s tailored to your own unique nutritional needs.
3. Stop Worshipping Ancient Systems of Healing and Eating
I’ve watched many people get hooked on traditional dietary systems that are old, wise, well thought out – and not always 100% applicable for humans of this day and age. In particular, many people embrace Ayurveda, Macrobiotics, or the Paleo diet. These approaches can bring us many important insights that deserve to be rediscovered. At the same time, over-reliance on these systems often results in personal and nutritional isolation, as well as time wasted in trying to follow in a precise manner the principles that worked great eons ago, but don’t necessarily translate fully into our world today. The challenge is, can you be bold and creative enough to take what truly works from these approaches, and toss out what doesn’t?
4. Do We Really Know What Health Is?
When I first started practicing in NYC about 30 years ago, my high-powered Wall Street clients were incredibly motivated and educated, and they were all following intense workout and running programs. Many had excellent diets. Yet they all had some type of intense health complaint – digestive issues, fatigue, brain fog, mood swings, low immunity. And they were all baffled as to why they weren’t “healthy.” We tend to mentally limit health to nutritional, metabolic and exercise factors. Collectively, we haven’t quite made the connection introduced by Dynamic Eating Psychology that health is also given by who we are, what we feel and believe, how we conduct ourselves in the world, the degree of love in our life, of pleasure, rest, play, purpose, and so much more. Can we be daring enough to go there?
5. Your Health Issue Isn’t a Problem – it’s a Solution
Most of us are taught to see our symptoms and diseases and unwanted habits as enemies that we must attack and defeat. But here’s a another view, long understood by the ancient Greeks: every symptom or unwelcome habit is really a deep and holy experience designed to help us learn something about ourselves and our relationship to the world. Perhaps we’re learning about humility, or patience, or letting go of distractions so that we can better tune in to our inner wisdom. Once we can hear the message that the symptom is delivering, we then have the best chance of letting that symptom go. What would life be like if we saw every health challenge we faced as an opportunity to grow and evolve? Can we learn to listen before we attack?
6. What You Eat is Only Half the Story of Good Nutrition
The other half of the story is about who we are as eaters. What we think, feel, believe, our level of stress or relaxation, the amount of pleasure in a meal, the inner story we are living out, the speed at which we consume our food, the degree to which we feel nourished – all of these, and much more, powerfully, literally and scientifically impact our metabolism. Mind and body exist on a continuum, are not separate from one another, and indeed have a powerful energetic influence flowing between them. The new field of Mind Body Nutrition clearly asserts the simple science behind these concepts, but the proof is in your own experience. Can you see how the thoughts you think and emotions you feel are constantly bathing your biology in their energetic waves of influence?
7. The Best Nutritional System Always Has a Higher Purpose
Many people follow their healthy diet so they can be healthy. Sounds sensible. Others eat a good diet so they can have oodles of energy, or endurance, or strength, or a slender body. I’d like to suggest that this isn’t always enough. For sure, I love health, I practice it as best I can. But health by itself doesn’t always have meaning. Humans need a reason, a purpose for being here, alive, on planet earth. So what if you spend a ton of energy sculpting a skinny body. What else is happening in your life? What’s your body for? What gift are you here to give others? Can you see that the body is meant to serve a deeper and more beautiful purpose in the world that’s more than just being pretty, skinny or healthy?
It’s a powerful act of self-evolution to question our own assumptions, examine our health strategies, and put our cherished beliefs under the microscope to see what truly works. The complexity of the field of nutrition and eating psychology can make it both frustrating and fascinating. I believe that if we can have a good tolerance for differing viewpoints, then we are well equipped to smile about the subject of food, and enjoy a good meal – whatever that meal may be.
I hope this was helpful.