In this Thursday Therapy Glenn teams up with The Nude Nutritionist Lyndi Cohen to answer the super common question “how do I eat well without dieting?” Many of us know that dieting can be harmful, and feel a lot better following a non-dieting approach. But if we want to improve our nutrition, how do we do it without going back into a restrictive, rule-based way of eating? Lyndi and I put our heads together to give you some with some great tips in this video we flew down to Sydney for!
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- Viewer question on eating healthier foods without falling into the diet mindset of “good”/”bad” foods. [0:52]
- Focusing on how you feel after making food choices. [2:04]
- Having a “dieting career change” (and using your transferrable skills). [3:09]
- Intuition and nutrition are two oars of the same boat. [5:02]
- Introducing Lyndi Cohen. [6:43]
- Lyndi’s tip: Adding, not subtracting. [7:28]
- How to create a healthy environment. [8:23]
- How to make healthy food enjoyable. [9:41]
- Parting thoughts on eating healthier without a dieting mindset. [10:55]
Hello, I’m Glenn Mackintosh, the weight psych, and I’m Lyndi Cohen, the nude nutritionist, and together we’re going to answer your question on combining intuitive eating with nutritious eating. Welcome to Thursday Therapy, guys, where I answer your questions on the psychology of eating, movement, weight, and body image every two weeks. Today’s question is a really interesting one on how to improve your eating without becoming dieting. Nicole asks, “As a yo-yo dieter for over 30 years, I know diets don’t work and it feels so much better to be eating without that strict mentality but how do I eat healthier foods without falling back into the diet mind-set of good vs. bad foods?” Nicole, this is a really great question. I see so many people who stop dieting and they lose all of the craziness around through the compulsions, the obsession about food, the binging just dies right down, they tend to feel a bit more accepting about their bodies, a bit less critical, a bit less worried about what’s going on in the scales, which is really, really cool and I think that’s the main thing but for a lot of people they kind of feel like this space is a bit of a middle ground and they know that they can actually eat a fair bit more nutritiously. So, I’m going to give you my few best thoughts on how to get there and then I’m going to refer you out this time to Lyndi Cohen, who is just the perfect person to speak to about this and she’s going to help us take that journey just a little bit further. The first thing that I want you to do is to focus on how you feel after making food choices. We’ve talked about this in a previous Thursday Therapy, intuitive eaters have this ability to think 5 or 10 minutes, half an hour, two hours beyond the eating experience and pairs that eating choice with how they’re going to feel afterwards. Now, some people do this naturally but thankfully research does show that it is a skill like sewing, like riding a bike, it can be really learned by anyone with practice and what happens is if we take away the food rules and just focus on how you feel naturally you’re going to gravitate towards the more nutritious foods which make us feel better and away from the less nutritious foods which don’t make us feel so great, especially if we eat them regularly or in big amounts and what will happen is over thousands and thousands of pairings you start to develop this real intuition, this real warmth to eat well which is really cool. The second thing I want you to think about is using your transferable skills. I talk to a lot of my clients about having a long dieting career and having what we call a dieting career change into a more intuitive way of eating but just because you’re changing your perspective doesn’t mean you need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. You actually have a lot of transferable skills that you can bring with you just with a different intention. A good example of this might be meal planning, you know, for a lot of people, people plan out their meals when they’re on a diet and you can plan out your meals without dieting just with a different intention. I was talking with a client this week who came in and they’d joined a gym program and they had a very kind of rigid weight focused meal plan and we just, I probably shouldn’t say this, there’s going to be a lot of dietitians watching, we just took a, you know, a day of the week and five meals a day and she just changed it to what she would kind of like and give her a bit of structure. So, that same thing, a meal plan, one that was given to her that was prescriptive, that was rigid and that was weight focused versus the one that we created which was a bit more flexible, a bit more enjoyable and focused on just good nutrition and overall health, that same skill can be applied in very, very different ways. The more I do intuitive eating with people the more I realize that it’s not so much exactly about what you’re doing but about the intention behind it, so if you can use your transferable skills for good, not evil then bring them along for the ride in developing your new non-dieting career. A lovely idea that one of my mentors, Dr. Rick Kausman, talks about is about thinking about intuition and nutrition as two oars in the same boat. If we just use our nutritional principles we tend to get a bit diet-ie and kind of go around in circles and similarly, especially if we haven’t been eating very well, if we just use our intuition we tend to go around in circles the other way, so it’s about thinking about them as complementary and working together to get you where you need to go. Lyndi Cohen, the nude nutritionist, is the perfect person to speak to about this so we’re going to fly down to Sydney to go and see her right now. Guys, for those of you who have been living under a rock, this is Lyndi Cohen, the nude nutritionist. Lyndi, you might have seen her on Channel Nine’s today, you’re the today dietitian, which is really cool and she’s also Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution ambassador which is also super cool. For me though, the coolest thing is that Lyndi I know that you really get non-dieting and I think that’s what we’re here to talk about today this idea of okay I kind of get intuitive eating principles but a lot of people actually then have that next question of what do I actually eat and that’s where we’re going to go but before we go there you have to tell me about the Nude nutritionist where does this come from. I love it! I love it! it’s not false advertising! The nude nutritionist for me was something I created because there’s so many rules and regulations when it comes to healthy eating, so many pretences and so many things that we feel like we’re allowed to eat or we’re not allowed to eat, so for me the Nude nutritionist was all about stripping this back and getting back to basics and stuff that really matters. So you can eat healthily without the stress of anxiety around it because it all gets a bit crazy doesn’t it. It gets so confusing and I think we have so much nutritional information and we’re not quite ready to deal with it totally and that’s why I think you’re the perfect person to answer this Thursday Therapy question because we get a lot of people who want to eat a bit better but don’t want to start to get back into that crazy sort of rule-based, restrictive mentality, so that’s what we’re going to talk about. I want to show you how, all right, so guys, the first thing I want to talk to you about is adding, not subtracting, when you think of healthy eating you always think of a list of forbidden food, things you’re not allowed to eat and what happens when you tell a toddler they can’t do something, you just want to do it more, exactly, it’s exactly the same, so when you focus on what you can’t have it’s going to be what you want to eat. So, instead start thinking about what to add in your diet and naturally, this is called crowding, you’re going to crowd out the less healthy options by filling up on all of the good stuff, naturally, it’s going to feel easier to be healthy and you’re not going to feel stressed doing it and that’s a nice positive focus, isn’t it, you know, psychologists would say even women can only really fully concentrate on one thing at a time and if we’re just feeling your brain with thoughts of, you know, positive nutritious foods that you like eating, the other stuff just kind of has no room. Exactly. It’s so simple but it seriously works. Very cool. So, the second thing you can do is create a healthy environment, they say you become like the people you spend the most time with and naturally you eat the things that you surround yourself with, so could you create a healthy environment you’re going to be setting yourself up to success, you don’t need to rely on your willpower to make those healthier choices because when you get home from work and you’re starving you open the fridge and there’s a heap of healthy options and you actually want to eat, so on the weekends do some meal prepping, make a big pot of soup, make sure you’ve always got yummy fresh fruit that you want to eat in your fridge so that you can actually be excited about the food you eat and it’s right there for you. It’s such a great idea because, you know, you mentioned willpower and it is this kind of finite resource that we have to sort of spread over every area of our life and I hear people, it’s a perfect example like, I’ve just dealt with the kids, dealt with the husband, dealt with work and I get to the end of the day and it just it’s just so much harder to make that choice but if you’ve got the environment set up for you to do it in a low willpower way it’s what I’m getting from you that healthy eating doesn’t have to be really hard. Exactly, it doesn’t have to be complicated you’re just going to have a few strategies that make it much easier to go for those healthy options so you feel good. Very good. Yeah and guys, the last thing I want to talk about is making healthy food enjoyable, so often when we get nutrition advice we’re always told to take out this food and take out this food and so we’re left with a plate of poached chicken and some broccoli which is so boring, no one wants to eat that, so my advice to you is eat the foods that you actually want to eat, so how things like especially in your salad add a handful of nuts, make sure you drizzle over some beautiful salad dressing on that because when healthy food taste good, you’re actually going to want to eat it and then it doesn’t feel like a chore and it’s so much simpler and that’s when you don’t have any willpower, it’s what you just want to eat this there’s no internal battle. So, let me let me get this straight for everyone out there because I don’t think people really understand this idea of allowing and giving permission, you’re giving permission for people to eat nutritiously but make the food fun for them. Exactly, I mean there are no bad foods, it’s just focusing on those foods that actually really taste good because when you ask your body what food it wants, it’s naturally going to feel good when you’re eating all those healthy nutritious options. So, you’re just going to give yourself permission to go, I’m allowed to eat these foods. It’s free. Sounds delicious! Yeah. So, Lyndi, thank you so much for those tips. Guys, how simple is that, you know, you’ve just made these what is it for a lot of us a bit of a complex minefield, really, really simple. I know it sounds really simple and it actually is but the thing is, it’s about implementing it. It’s really where the money’s at. Yeah so give it a go guys and guys while we’re giving things a go I really want you to join Lyndi’s newsletter we’re going to provide links to the newsletter. Guys as you would know there’s a lot that we wouldn’t recommend working in the non-dieting space but Lyndi is someone who really gets it and, you know, I’ve been following your work for ages, Lyndi and also knowing about your online programs but you have a program for non-dieting, overcoming emotional eating, body acceptance, we have three different programs for the same thing, there is so much crossover between what we do and because, you know, in our programs within we don’t provide any nutrition education, it’s all about the principles and we always get this question, okay, but what do I eat, so in the work we do with dietitians in our practice we have great non-dieting dietitians up in Brisbane and people have a really different feel when they come back, they’re like, wow, that was not like any other dietician session I’ve ever had and I’m so excited because now we can have that with you online, so guys I really want you to join Lyndi’s newsletter so you can find out about what she’s doing and her programs because it really is a way to bring that next step into, okay, now I’ve got the principles now let’s start to apply them without undermining any of the great work we’ve done so far. And Glenn I have to say you are one of my favourite psychologists I think the world of you and I just think there’s so much crossover here, we make it makes magic really. Thank you for being with us and Lyndi, thank you so much thanks for coming and you know what if you haven’t already what are you doing subscribe to our YouTube channel and we will see you in a couple of weeks for another Thursday Therapy.