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How to End the Cycle of Dieting

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Thank you to Erin Lanahan for today’s guest post!  Erin, a.k.a. the “Holistic Hottie,” is a health coach who helps people recover from a lifetime of dieting by introducing them to the difference between Primary Food and Secondary Food.  You can visit Erin and learn more about her and the method she created, the Erin Lanahan Method, on her blog and website at  You can also see her in vivo at www.ErinLanahanMethod.TV.

So Full, Yet Still Starving!

As a Health Coach, I meet people every day who want to talk to me about health. Actually, even more than health, I get an ear full of how much weight people think they need to lose in order to feel like an acceptable and admirable vision in today’s society.  They come to me to “fix” them. I have been on my own roller coaster of gaining and losing weight, feeling good and bad about myself, and have finally gotten off the ride of “dieting.” This is what I have learned as a result, and now implement into my practice with clients.

Yes…I ultimately found a healthy balance between work and play, I feel good about my life and who I am, and I now have a very calm and nourishing relationship with food and exercise.

In the midst of my challenges and struggles with food and my self-image, I began to wonder if  there wasn’t something I had been missing up to that point. I began to realize that the reason I felt like such a bottomless pit, and never “full,” was not because I wasn’t eating enough, but because I wasn’t being fed in other areas of my life. Food in the traditional sense was NOT what I needed.

I love to describe this to my clients, as the difference between Primary Food, and Secondary Food. Primary Food is what I call Life Nutrients. It consists of all the things that feed us as WHOLE beings, such as relationships, career, rest, fun, spiritual practice, environment, creativity, financial success, intimacy, affection, security, etc. When we are starving or even just a little bit hungry for one or more of these forms of nutrients, it can be confused for being physically hungry. This is why so many people eat and eat, getting so physically full, yet feeling like they still want more.

Food that we actually eat, and what I call Body Nutrients, is what is referred to as Secondary Food. Secondary Food can be powerfully healing and can contribute so much support to our purpose in life, IF we do not abuse it. Unfortunately, there are too many of us trying to fill our Primary Food needs with Secondary Food.  This will never work. All this does is cause food addiction, emotional eating, obesity, dis-ease, discomfort, and contributes to more emptiness.

As a Health Coach, this is the way in which I choose to work with my clients. We look at their WHOLE life, with a goal at making WHOLE, the person who is suffering. We focus on their Primary Food first. Once they feel well again, satisfied, and nourished in those areas of their lives, then we focus on Secondary Food. Actually, Secondary Food almost automatically shifts once the root of the problem is healed.

Are you someone who feels like you may be eating and eating, yet still starving? Do you find it difficult, empty, and frustrating when you “Have” to follow a diet? If we try to change our Secondary Food, before we balance out our Primary Food, we are less likely to have success. The reason for this is because, it’s like taking our synthetic, temporary comfort away, before we have a natural, everlasting replacement that works even better. We must get to the root of the problem, if we want to heal the problem once and for all.

Write out your Primary Food needs. Take an honest look at each category and make a conscious choice about where you may need to put in some effort to create a more balanced life. Focus on your life nutrients, and feed your soul. Once you are fed in this way, you will find it becomes much easier to eat foods that support your optimal health, well-being, and vision for your life!

For more information, watch Erin talk about this topic in this video.

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