Why Eating “Whatever You Want” Creates Lasting Health & Wellness

You’d think I’d know better by now. You’d think I’d learn that it’s simply not worth the trouble I get into when I tell people they can eat whatever they want. After all, this little tidbit of news is almost always met with incredulousness or sarcasm and results in a 30-minute lecture on why I’m wrong. So I stand there and try to smile. I let them rant and vent, and wonder if they are ever going to realize that all the points they are providing actually prove my case. But alas…

To truly appreciate the natural health and wellness benefits of eating whatever you want, you first have to understand what “eating whatever you want” actually means. We have become a society with such dysfunction around food that we somehow believe if we’re allowed to eat whatever we want, we’ll begin a never-ending binge on junk food. However, “eating whatever you want” actually means this: to eat whatever you want.

To explain this point I’m going to use that dreaded “weight loss is like money” analogy. I say “dreaded” because most people compare weight loss to balancing a checkbook with caloric debits and exercise credits. And that underlying mindset often creates painful and dysfunctional relationships with food and exercise. Your body is not a caloric balance sheet! Your weight is not simply a function of calories in/exercise out!

To have healthy and happy relationships with food and exercise, we need to first surrender the idea that we are bound by calories. I know – that seems impossible to believe. So let’s take the analogy back to money. Let’s pretend you’ve just won the lottery. What would you do?

You would most likely do whatever you want. You would do everything you want – and you still wouldn’t do everything there is to do.

Let’s make the example more specific. Let’s say you take your newfound wealth to a department store. I’m from Seattle, so let’s pick Nordstrom. What would you buy?? Even if you had all the money in the world, you would not buy everything in Nordstrom! You aren’t going to want everything in Nordstrom. You have specific tastes. You have specific likes. You might see something you like on a hanger, but then try it on and decide it doesn’t suit you. And you might have a personal shopper point out something you never even would have picked off the rack – and discover that it looks fabulous on you. You might even love a particular top and buy one in every color!

This point is this: everything is available to you… and yet you don’t really want everything. You have very specific tastes and preferences. You have a very specific way you want your clothes, accessories and makeup to help you feel. You choose those things that make you feel good – that contribute to your state of happiness.

So let’s get back to food. When you can break free of the “diet and exercise” mindset and get off that caloric balance sheet, you essentially win the lottery! You don’t have to worry about calories – how many you “spend” and the types of food you spend them on. The only consideration is what you really want to eat – what would taste good to you at that moment in time, what would feel satisfying and enjoyable, what would help you feel good in your body. Your only consideration is what would contribute to your state of happiness.

When you let yourself “eat whatever you want,” you no longer judge your food as good or bad or by how much it might “cost” you. You make your decisions based on what is congruent with your particular tastes and wants in that specific moment. You make your choices based on what helps you feel good – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

When you “eat whatever you want,” you can align with your deepest self. Your health and well-being become sustainable and your experience of food is truly enjoyable.