Leisa Wheeler, naturopath, health and healing mentor, and fatigue specialist, is the founder and director of Embracing Health, a business dedicated to bringing you health information that can change your life.
Leisa’s passions include many areas of health – from food as medicine and nutrition, to physical fitness and detoxification; from emotional release work to spiritual healing; these varied interests shaping her belief in the value of integrated healing on all levels; physical, emotional and spiritual.
It is a very interesting mind-set that we have in today’s society that equates eating less food – to good health. We have been marketed to for decades by the diet industry pushing the belief that the answer to weight loss is to ‘eat less and exercise more’. As most know, that simplistic mantra for weight loss just doesn’t work in the long-term, and can have many negative consequences.
Of course if someone overeats the wrong type of foods, indulging in sugary, sweet, processed foods and fatty junk foods – and they reduce their consumption of these, then it is likely that they will lose weight. But when you are eating wholesome foods, less food is not a good thing, and is actually a dangerous mind-set to foster.
We need good nutrition, especially in today’s toxic and polluted world, and food is the foundation that creates the basis for good health. When someone is trying to lose weight and is struggling, it is quite often not that they are eating too much – but they are eating too little of the right types of food. When you are eating from the realm of wholefoods – those foods that are unadulterated, unprocessed and come the way nature intended, food restriction is not necessary. In fact the opposite is often true – eating too little food slows the metabolism, and leads to nutrient deficiencies, exacerbating metabolic illnesses such as adrenal fatigue, thyroid disorders, insulin resistance and other hypometabolic states.
Abundance, when it comes to food, is a frightening concept for many. Yet we need an abundance of nutrition for our body to function properly, and if we don’t eat it, then where are we getting it from? A vitamin pill can never replace the thousands of synergistic nutrients found in wholefoods. Eating an abundance of wholefoods from nature is going to do more to support the healing of the body and allowing it to find a healthy weight balance, than severely restricting food intake and living off a minimal amount of food that is providing little in the way of nutrition.
I find this belief so pervasive. Many people I speak to are so invested in the belief that ‘eating less equals weight loss’ that they are in disbelief that they can eat so little and still not lose weight. They have trouble understanding that their body needs to be fed to function properly, and needs massive nutrition from the wholefood world. In these cases, it is a matter of increasing food intake, not decreasing it further. Ensuring that plentiful calories are being eaten that allows the body to acknowledge that it is living in a time of plenty, and it can release excess weight now that the self-imposed ‘famine’ is over. It is the quality of the food that is important, not necessarily the amount.
Every time I hear “but I don’t eat much”, I cringe. Not eating much is dangerous for your health. Sure, overeating is dangerous as well, and so is eating processed and junk foods. But restricting food intake to the bare minimum as a healing strategy is absurd. Weight gain is merely a symptom of imbalances in the healthy function of both the physical and emotional body, and rather than restricting food, discovering the underlying causes for the weight gain, is the way forward.
Food nourishes, it sustains, it provides pleasures to the senses and is meant to be enjoyed and relished. Most important of all – it heals. Who would want to deny themselves the benefits of food as medicine?
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