Healthy Diet Paradox

The paradox with healthy eating is that you don’t want to end up labelling food “bad”, but at the same time you want to make healthier food choices.


My diet “research” (I have realised that what I call “research” is just browsing the internet) started with this article from Maggie Alderson (who is in the process of fixing her website layout, thank god!) about her 10 kilo weight loss. I was much jealous of her losing weight, and wanted to immediately go out and buy the book by her nutritonal therapist, Amelia Freer, Eat.Nourish.Glow.

Get a healthy eating plan.

Firstly, I couldn’t find the book anywhere in a bricks and mortar shop – I wanted to flip through it, before buying it. Secondly, I read the reviews on Amazon and started to think that actually what I wanted to do was see a dietitian, not read a book. I want a personalised healthy eating plan. It’s the pain of actually deciding what to eat that I want to avoid. I would eat peanut butter sandwiches all the time if left to my own devices. I just don’t care about food that much.


Don’t diet.

I also read stuff about how dieting can lead to binge eating and bulimia. Restricting your diet is understood to be the common starting point for most eating disorders. Some people obviously don’t end up with an eating disorder, but scientists don’t yet know why they don’t.

There is a real risk with trying to eat healthier that you start labelling food “bad” and avoiding it, then bingeing on it later when you fall off the diet, rather than just eating a bit in moderation. Paradoxically you do need to control your food choices in order to eat more healthy food, at least at the start until it becomes habit.

This paradox has me worried.

Change your mind.

I think the key is what your intentions are, and how you treat yourself.

I read a lot of articles on how attitudes and emotions are thought to impact your diet. Poor body image and low self-esteem are key factors in eating disorders. Problems arise if you judge your self-worth by your weight. I certainly never notice my friends’ weight, and it isn’t a factor in whether I like someone or not, but I think in our culture it is hard for many women to avoid being worried about their weight.

The other step seems to be to identify methods of dealing with emotions other than eating them. In the process of researching dietitians (they are not the same thing as a nutritionist) , I saw this great local company The Body Doctor, which recommended CBT, Pema Chodron, mindfulness and Jack Kornfield. I haven’t read JK before but will add‘The Roots of Buddhist Psychology’ and ‘Buddhist Meditation for Beginners’ to my reading list.


Since I already meditate and listen to Pema, I started to think maybe I could try to improve things on my own. My research showed that autonomous settings helps reduce depletion of self-control. That, and the $120 consultation fee at Body Doctor.

I am just too cheap for my own good.