I would recommend that anyone with an unhealthy food relationship read Eat: A Guide to Discovering Your Natural Relationship with Food, by Linda R. Harper, Ph.D. Eat is an easy, quick read that focuses on a five step guide to healthy eating which includes: goal replacing, uncovering, informing, deciding, and experiencing.
It’s no secret that a large percentage of Americans are diet obsessed. In fact, Harper points out that one of the most common New Year Resolutions is to lose weight and yet 95% to 98% of diets fail. Harper believes that our society is based on weight loss, which she refers to as S.A.D. (Socially Acceptable Deprivation). Harper encourages the reader to focus on his/her best self by rediscovering their inner wisdom.
Eat opens with a quiz called “What Kind of Eater Are You?” I scored an eighteen out of thirty which puts me in the “Under the Influence” category. I agree with the quiz results; I do struggle with my relationship with food, and I know a lot of my friends and family members do, too.
Harper makes some excellent points, especially in Chapter Four: Deciding: Trust Your Natural Instinct. In a nut shell, this chapter promotes listening to your body’s needs. I started doing this a few months ago and it really makes a difference. From my experience, I’ve found the less I concentrate on dieting, the easier it is to maintain a healthy weight. I’m mindful of what I eat but I’m not focused on it. I simply ask my body questions such as: “Am I really hungry or am I bored, tired, unhappy, or stressed?” “Do I really want that glazed donut, which will be devoured in three bites and do nothing to curb my hunger or a protein bar which is nutritious and satisfying?” (Some days it’s the donut, but most days it’s the protein bar). Interestingly, since I’ve stopped eating as many sweets, my body doesn’t crave them as much. In fact, I’ve realized that I don’t even particularly like sweets, other than the occasional piece of chocolate. (Salty foods on the other hand, are a bit more tempting). I’ve realized that the more you tell yourself that you can’t have something, the more you crave it. Now I allow myself to eat whatever I want, but in moderation. (And I try to eat slower). For example, my husband and I ate cheeseburgers and fries for dinner last night. I cut my cheeseburger in half and only took a handful of fries. When I was finished, I was satisfied and decided to save the rest for lunch today. Of course there are times when I finish my entire dinner but more often than not, I halve it. Since I don’t abide by a set of rules, I’m happier and much healthier, which is what Harper’s book focuses on.
* I reviewed this book for Book Hub Inc.,an independent book and ebook publishing, marketing, and distribution company. If you’re interested in reviewing books (and in exchange receiving the free ebook): http://bookhubinc.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/looking-for-book-reviewers/