From The End of Dieting by Dr. Joel Fuhrman
Change the Mind and the Body Will Follow
Intrigued by the experiences of others, Emily, a successful nutritarian and blog contributor since 2009, began interviewing other successful nutritarians for my blog and gleaned invaluable nuggets of truth from many other real-life success stories. With my guidance and from these experiences and observations, Emily compiled twelve vital tips for losing weight—and keeping it off—the nutritarian way.
1. It Takes Commitment.
Success has nothing to do with economic status, nationality, education, social standing, professional training, career choice, a stable upbringing, or even support from loved ones. Success is a direct result of thoroughly studying, understanding, and assimilating the science behind Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritional recommendations—and then making the decision to tenaciously earn your health back, no matter what. Success is having both feet in at all times, not “trying” to eat high-nutrient foods during the week and indulging on the weekends, or eating for health only when it’s convenient. Trying only leaves the door cracked open to indulging on a whim. All who have succeeded made the firm decision to commit 100 percent.
2. Perspective Determines Outcome.
Those who succeed with the nutritarian approach view it as an opportunity to “earn” health back. This perspective enables a person to get past toxic cravings to thoroughly enjoy great-tasting foods, in their natural state. Conversely, those who repeatedly fail have the mind-set of dieting. They view the nutritarian approach as just another diet designed only to lose weight and subsequently focus on restriction and deprivation. This mentality invites self-pity and cheating, which doesn’t allow your taste buds to change or let you break free of the vicious cycle of toxic addiction.
3. Change a Mistaken Identity.
People become what they believe to be true about themselves and what they repeatedly tell others. If people believe they are failures, they will fail. If they tell everyone that they are a compulsive overeater, they will compulsively overeat in times of stress. It’s vitally important to declare and believe in an identity congruent with who you want to be. If you want to be a nutritarian—someone who eats high-nutrient foods to meet the body’s biological needs for optimal nutrition—then declare it! Make it your identity. Where the mind goes, the body will follow.
4. Ditch the Wagon.
The wagon mentality and dieting go hand in hand. “I fell off the wagon” basically translates into, “I blew it so I might as well eat anything I want now.” Eating for optimal health is a lifetime endeavor of making wise choices each and every day. Slipups do happen from time to time, but never allow a slipup to turn into an excuse to wallow in disappointment, self-pity, and false guilt that could potentially lead to a full-fledged binge.
5. Avoid the Moderation Myth.
When it comes to toxic foods, there’s no such thing as eating in moderation. Taking just one bite of an addictive food can be just as dangerous as smoking one cigarette for a former nicotine addict. Don’t believe the moderation myth that you might hear from physicians, counselors, ministers, friends, co-workers, or relatives. The truth is that just one bite of an addictive food can do great harm. It’s much easier to keep addictive cravings extinguished than to be continually fighting obsessive compulsions, because it only takes a tiny spark to ignite them.
6. There Are No Shortcuts.
Everyone has to cross the threshold of withdrawal from toxic foods, which, for most people, is no fun. Detoxification (or toxic hunger) can be unpleasant. You might experience headaches, nausea, weakness, fatigue, shakiness, and irritability that can last up to several days. But once the symptoms have resolved, and if you no longer consume toxic foods, the symptoms don’t return. Salt is a particularly tough habit to kick, but once the addiction to salt is gone, your taste buds change, and the subtle flavors of fruits and vegetables in their natural state become highly enjoyable.
7. Tomorrow Never Comes.
Waiting until after the holidays or a special occasion to begin eating for health is a bad idea. Telling yourself you’ll “start tomorrow” is a lie. There’s always another celebration or family event. After Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas comes the Super Bowl, followed by Valentine’s Day, Passover, Easter, Mother’s Day, graduation parties, multiple birthday parties, a wedding or two, a Father’s Day cookout, summer barbecues and picnics, county fairs, fall festivals, Halloween, and then the year-end holidays all over again. You must make the firm decision to eat for health each day and hold fast to that commitment no matter what the calendar says.
8. The Refrigerator Is Never the Solution.
Eating is never a solution to any problem. Ever. Emotional health is never achieved via the refrigerator, cupboard, or drive-thru window. Life is full of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, pleasures and pains; that’s why our lives are interesting and, ultimately, fulfilling. Address emotional issues by talking to a professional counselor or a trusted family member or friend, or join a support group. Addictive foods and drugs are never the solution.
9. Abstinence Is Important.
The purpose of an established boundary is to keep you safe. In that safe place you’ll find freedom from addiction and disease. Food addiction can be as serious as alcoholism and drug addiction. It destroys lives. A commitment to abstain from all processed foods and junk food is often needed. Abstinence is radical, but it produces the best results. That means if you are a food addict and have cravings and trigger foods that drive unhealthful eating, then you need to abstain from these known triggers. The most effective way to beat the addictive drive to overconsume alcohol, drugs, or sweets is abstinence for at least a few months. Many people are highly addicted to sweets and refined carbohydrates and need to abstain.
10. Have a Plan and Stick to It.
Getting out and staying out of food addiction isn’t that hard per se, but you must be vigilant and persistent at all times. When I finally committed to follow Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian approach, I typed out his Six-Week Plan, printed off several copies, and had them laminated. I put one in my purse and another in my car; I posted one on my bathroom mirror and another on the refrigerator. I even attached one to my ironing board! That tangible plan made all the decisions for me. Three months later I was 40 pounds lighter, and my blood pressure, fasting blood sugar levels, and lipid profile were all normal; and even more importantly, the overwhelming cravings for toxic foods were completely gone!
11. Be Prepared At All Times.
Plan ahead and always have food prepared in advance. Your health destiny is your responsibility, so be prepared at all times. Unlike junk food dieting, no factory-prepared meals will be delivered to your doorstep. Keep your refrigerator well stocked with freshly cleaned vegetables, fruits, and cooked bean soups for quick meals. Never wait until the refrigerator is empty to plan and prepare more food. Once you establish a routine of preparation, it will become second nature—but in the beginning, you have to make this habit a top priority to develop it.
12. Never Give Up.
Hard times happen. When life is turned upside down, it takes everything within yourself to muster the strength to keep going in the direction of health. But even when you have challenging days, stay committed to making wise food choices as best as you can. There is never a valid excuse to quit. As Dr. Fuhrman states: “It will take strength, it will take effort, but the pleasures and rewards that you’ll get from a healthy life will be priceless.”