Eat to be healthy, not to lose weight

It is a truth universally accepted that cheese is amazing.

I absolutely love cheese, but I don’t eat it except on very rare occasions.  I don’t eat it because I believe that cheese isn’t healthy, especially for me (dairy is known to cause acne, gut problems, upper respiratory problems, and overall body inflammation even if you’re not lactose intolerant).  Two years ago I was told by my gastroenterologist that my IBS was being triggered by the fact that I was lactose intolerant (something that has likely been true all my life, but the symptoms have changed over the course of time).  Up until that point the abdominal pain I was experiencing was unbearable.  I had no idea what the cause was.  After multiple tests and doctors appointments, I was referred to this gastroenterologist who told me in no uncertain terms, “If you don’t want to be in pain, don’t eat dairy.”  Thus began a permanent lifestyle change.

Did I lose weight as a result of giving up dairy?  Of course I did!  Because dairy is meant to make little cows into big cows, and it’s full of unhealthy fat and proteins that make my gut feel like there’s thousands of tiny fire demons trying to destroy me.

(“Baaht whhaat about calciuummm!!!” you holler.   There are plenty of plants that will supply me with enough calcium to keep me from getting osteoporosis.  Also, there is evidence that societies that have a high intake of dairy intake have a high incidence of osteoporosis, and societies that have a low intake of dairy have a low incidence of osteoporosis).

I remember the days when I “went on diets” with the express goal of losing weight.  Sometimes weird ones that freaked my body out and didn’t give me the nutrition I needed.  I’d give up something for weeks or months depending on how long I could stand it, and then give up.  This mindset meant that once said weight was shed, I could then go back to eating however I pleased.  I, like many people, went from one diet to another, all for short periods of time, all resulting in short lived weight loss.

I suppose there’s a sort of euphoria one gets from starting a new diet.  “Perhaps this could be the panacea I need to suddenly shed all the weight I want to lose.”

But then two days in to giving up carbs, fruit, and air, and you’re writhing in a pile of misery.



You suffer the cardboard foods, the calorie counting and carb killing, the cottage cheese and rice wafers, or eating all the food groups in separate meals, and you reach your goal weight.  And if you’re like me and you reach your goal weight, you slowly but surely go back to eating the way you did before, and you gain all the weight back again (or you binge eat pizza and ice cream, what do I know?).  Before you know it, you’re sitting in a pile of empty Chick-fil-a sauce containers, 15 pounds overweight and wondering what the heck happened.

Maybe the key isn’t going on diets at all.  Maybe the key is both simpler and earth-shatteringly different.  Maybe they key is completely changing how you view food in the first place.


Enter the lifestyle change.  This isn’t a temporary way of eating, this is changing what you eat because you’ve changed how you view food.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re addicted to sugar, salt, dairy, fast foods and processed foods, you’re still going to be writhing in detox agony in the beginning because your brain lights up like a Christmas tree when you eat it.

But if your goal is to fuel and supply your body with real, whole foods and provide yourself with abundant nutrients rather than simply dropping 10-15 pounds, not only will you actually lose weight, but you’ll do so in a healthy manner that keeps that weight off and doesn’t make your body feel like it’s caving in on itself.  If you keep your plate 80% whole, fresh veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds, and 20% lean meat, eggs, or whole grains, you’ll find yourself feeling amazing and shedding weight.  If you change your focus to filling your body with nutrients, you don’t need to bother with counting carbs or calories.  If you’re freaked out by vegetables, it’s time to explore!

It takes a long time to get there, and it’s not something you need to beat yourself up over.  (I eat mostly fruits, veggies, eggs, and meat, but sometimes I also eat Chick-fil-a just because).

Ditch the sugar, ditch the bread, ditch the dairy, ditch crash yo-yo diets.


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