Healthy Eating Habits: A Live Chat with Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, MD, author of Fed Up
How to develop a healthy relationship with food
Why do you eat? What do you eat? When do you eat? In this live chat we
talked about developing a healthy relationship with food with Wendy
Oliver-Pyatt, MD, author of Fed Up: The Breakthrough 10-Step No Diet
The opinions expressed herein are the guest's alone and have not been
reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you
should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational
Moderator: Hello, Dr. Oliver-Pyatt. Why is it important to
have a "healthy relationship" to food?
Oliver-Pyatt: That's a very good question and a source of
much confusion as it relates to a person's efforts to attain a healthy and
reasonable weight range. In our society we place tremendous importance on
whether or not particular foods are "healthy" or "unhealthy."
In fact, it seems that there has even been a correlation between our emphasis
on health of particular foods and our tendency as a society to have gained
weight. Why is this? It is because we have lost, as a society, the
understanding of what it means to have a healthy relationship with food. To
have a healthy relationship with food means that one is able to eat for the
reasons of physiological rather than emotional hunger and to stop eating at a
point when the body and mind are truly satisfied. In order to have a healthy
relationship with food, one must first have permission to eat. Our diet
mentality has robbed us of even having permission to eat.
Member: How has our society made the wrong turn, developing
the psychological "need" for food?
Oliver-Pyatt: To say that we don't have a psychological
need for food is inaccurate. However, in our culture we have come to use food
as a tool for numbing and distancing ourselves from our emotions. Why is this?
Because when it comes to dealing with emotional issues, we tend to follow the
path of least resistance, which is usually directly into our kitchen or pantry.
As food and particular foods are more prohibited in our minds from being
acceptable to eat, they become more and more powerful as a numbing
Member: Doc, when I decide to start watching what I eat, I
immediately feel deprived and want forbidden foods more. How can I stop this
Oliver-Pyatt: When you say you're watching what you eat, it
implies to me that your food intake is externally regulated. We have discussed
the importance of internal versus external regulation of food in previous
chats. What I mean by this is that when you're "watching what you eat"
I wonder if you're actually experiencing your physiological reactions to the
intake of food.