Eating for pleasure and weight loss

When talking to a client recently, she cited the hardest thing about meal preparation is trying to think of food as only fuel, not pleasure.  Hold the phone—what?? This made me very sad!  I was also struck with the realization that I have not been clear in my message to clients.  You absolutely can associate food with pleasure and still lose weight.  In fact, it is a necessity if we are to create a healthy lifestyle that is sustainable in the long term.  Here’s why:

  1. Eating food is one of the basic human pleasures—take that away and what do you have left? It is important to be mindful of the tie between emotions and over eating.  When eating is your primary coping mechanism you are stuck in an unhealthy cycle of not addressing feelings (Smith,, 2017)However, for most people, food needs to be appealing for them to eat it day in and day out.  According to Marc David, founder of The Institute for the Psychology of Eating, “The level of enjoyment we experience in eating our food has very real biochemical consequences that directly affect our metabolism and digestion” (David, 2009).
  2. Being overly restrictive causes stress—if we are constantly fighting an internal battle to prevent ourselves from eating foods we enjoy, it causes stress. When your body undergoes stress, our metabolism slows down, produces more cortisol and signals our body to hold onto fat (Institute for the Psychology of Eating, 2014).  Eat the damn cookie already! Just don’t eat the whole box.
  3. Eliminating favorite foods entirely causes you to obsess about food—have you ever had a craving for something like pizza, but told yourself it was bad and you can’t have it? What happened next?  We start thinking about that pizza we can’t have—all day long!  If your diet has a balance of clean, nourishing foods most of the time, there is no reason why you can’t have that slice of pizza.  You didn’t blow it. Just don’t eat the whole pizza!
  4. The best “diet” is one that is sustainable for you—period– In the British Journal of Medicine, a study was conducted comparing the Atkins, Zone and Weight Watchers diet plans.  The results showed that no diet plan showed significant success over the others.  The key to weight loss was calorie deficit and finding a plan that was sustainable to each individual (Matthews, 2017). We all are unique as a snowflake.  There is no “one size fits all” diet.  We must discover what type of lifestyle and foods are best for us.
  5. Why can’t you have your cake and eat it too—why can’t you eat foods that nourish your body but taste good as well? We typically think of dieting as restriction and flavorless food. It does not have to be that way.  You can find tons of really delicious clean eating recipes on Pinterest, Yummly or even my blog!  If you don’t like broccoli—don’t eat broccoli!  Find another vegetable that strike your fancy and fix it the way YOU like it.

This is why in working with clients, I calculate a moderate calorie deficit specific to each individual.  I teach the basics of clean eating and then offer them the freedom to choose what foods are best for them.  I love food, period.  To me food is pleasure and frankly, who doesn’t like pleasure? In my own body transformation, part of the process of changing my habits was to create recipes or figure out shortcuts to prepare food I like to eat. If all I ate was chicken, broccoli and sweet potato day in and day out, I wouldn’t have been successful.

Want to work with me?  Apply for Healthy Transformation right here!  All clients receive a recipe booklet of family friendly foods that actually taste GOOD!


Emotional eating

British Journal of Sports Medicine

Institute for the Psychology of Eating

Experience Life