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Why I Eat The Way I Do

August 13, 2010

I often get asked how I figured out the best way to eat for my body, and I’m going to share a little secret with you. It’s called trial and error. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: in my opinion, there is no perfect diet out there will work for every single person. We are all different, and the way I eat might work for some of you, and for others, it will not. I lost weight on a no sugar diet, not no-carb, or even low carb for that matter, but no sugar, and I mean NONE. For three yeas, I did not touch granulated sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup, etc. I did eat some fruit as well as dried fruit, but I kept it to a minimum. I ate grains but nothing refined, and I ate my fair share of fat. I gave up meat for about 5 years, but personally, I feel better when I eat it, red meat included.

Over the years, I have experimented with different diets, but I always end up right back where I started. The way of eating that helped me lose the weight also helps me to maintain my current weight, and why I keep trying other diets, I have no idea. I guess it’s because health and nutrition books intrigue me, and when I read something that seems to make sense, I want to try it right away. However, I then get frustrated that it’s not working for me, go back to my old way of eating, and end up feeling much better. Will I ever learn? Probably not, and I think I’ll always be a work in progress. However, that’s okay, because I can share what I’ve learned with all of you πŸ™‚

Let’s see, I’ve tried:

1. Low calorie: I’ve tried this one intentionally in the past, and then again a few months ago during the first trimester of my pregnancy, but not on purpose. Yes, I lost weight living on about 1200 to 1300 calories of crappy food, but there is no way I could ever maintain that way of eating once the nausea went away and I got my appetite back. Seriously, if that’s all I allowed myself throughout the day, I would be one Skinny Bitch…literally. Trust me, I’ve been there, and I don’t ever want to go back.

2. Raw/vegan: Too much fruit…too much sugar (yes, fructose is sugar)…muffin top appeared almost immediately, and it was the heaviest I’ve been since losing the weight.

3. Clean Eating (Think Tosca Reno ): Not enough fat and way too much protein. My skin and hair were super dry (before and after photos here), and I gained weight on this one too. Our bodies can only handle so much protein, and then it stores the rest as fat. I am in no way a body builder, and my body seems to do better on a lower protein/higher fat diet. Plus, I enjoy eating 3 big meals a day rather than 5 or 6 smaller ones.

4. Primal Eating : This diet seems so logical to me, but again, I screwed it up and concentrated on protein rather than fat. I believe that’s where I made my mistake. Much to my dismay, I gained weight, and afterwards decided that life without oatmeal is simply not worth it!

5. Macrobiotic : Again, not enough fat for me. I love white fish and all, but I also love burgers. πŸ™‚

6. Eat as much as you want and exercise it all away: After losing weight, I decided I missed pizza and ice-cream. So, I started eating all my old favorites, but I was never very good at moderation. One piece of pizza would lead to five, and I could easily eat a half gallon of ice-cream in 3 servings. No problem, I would just run it all off the next day. Well, after running everyday for about 8 years, participating in 20+ half marathons, 1 full marathon, and 1 50K trail race, I was done. Yes, I stayed thin, but all the sugar and carbs I ate to fuel my runs left me looking puffy. So, one day I stopped, and I haven’t had the desire to run again in almost 2 years. People often ask me if I miss it. No, if I did, I’d lace up my running shoes. For now, I prefer yoga, and nothing has done more for my body, mind, and spirit than yoga…nothing.

There have probably been other diets I’ve experimented with, but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment. With all of them, I have learned something new about myself. I know I cannot eat sugar in excess, fruit included. Yes, I have a sweet tooth, and yes, I eat sugar, but I usually try and HEABify most of my desserts. My body seems to do okay with complex carbs like oats, starchy vegetables, etc., and I feel my best and maintain my weight when I get in plenty of fat. However, I gain weight whenever I try any sort of low fat diet high in protein.

So, how do you know what the best way of eating for you is? Sorry, but I can’t tell you. You’re going to have to figure it out for yourself. Note how certain foods make you feel after you eat them. Do you feel energized or lethargic after a meal? Are you losing, gaining, or maintaing your weight? Do certain foods cause allergic reactions or mood swings? Do you feel exhausted all the time? Are you enjoying what you’re eating, and are you getting all the nutrients you need? Listen to your body my friends…it will tell you what works for you and what doesn’t.

In closing, I’ll leave you with some typical HEAB eats from yesterday.


Breakfast: Vanilla Protein Chia Oatmeal with Naturally Nutty Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Seed Butter


Lunch: Toasted whole grain wrapped filled with bacon, turkey, mashed avocado, and mustard.


Dinner: Veggies stir fried in butter and topped with hummus.

Please keep in mind the diets I mentioned above did not work for me, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work for others. It has taken me years, but I have learned which foods my body prefers (at least I think I have), and I hope this post is of some encouragement to those of you trying to figure out how to eat for your own body. My advice: simply let go, trust, and listen. πŸ™‚

173 Comments leave one →
  1. August 13, 2010 5:49 am

    It definitely takes a lot of trial and error to get to a happy eating place. I have tried a few of the above and I did find myself very bloated, especially with the raw/vegan. Although I never went into it completely I found myself super bloated and uncomfortable. You have to trust yourself to know what works for your body and it certainly doesn’t happen over night. Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  2. August 13, 2010 5:51 am

    Listening to your body is so important! I agree that there is no one “right” way. It is all trial and error. And most people hate to hear that!

  3. August 13, 2010 5:58 am

    perfect advice to listen to your body, it’s SO easy to not actually do that.
    ” nothing has done more for my body, mind, and spirit than yoga…nothing.”
    same here, simply amazing.

  4. August 13, 2010 5:58 am

    You are so wise! You know I could not agree with you more. Honestly, too, what you do now, may not work later. We are constantly changing! My body completely changed after I had kids. In fact, I think my metabolism actually got faster! I eat like a horse now, but it is the food that makes me feel good! I need to get my hands on some of that Naturally Nutty! YUM!

  5. August 13, 2010 5:59 am

    A classic HEAB post! Love everything you say, and agree 100% that there’s no perfect ground. I like to hope I offer up an example of semi/mostly raw vegan that isn’t all about green smoothies and mangos and dried fruit, too πŸ˜‰

  6. August 13, 2010 6:01 am

    it’s so difficult to figure out what works for each person. i wish there were just a “your body for dummies” book that would tell me exactly what IIIII need, rather than just what the human body generally needs.

    i’m really glad you’ve found what works for you! you’re obviously happy and healthy now, and you must feel great. congrats!

  7. August 13, 2010 6:01 am

    Sarena, Ha, I hope the same goes for me. I love horse food. πŸ˜‰

  8. August 13, 2010 6:02 am

    Very interesting recap. My body seems to react to dietary changes very similarly to yours and I’m still in the process of fine tuning. I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only person whose body doesn’t react well to sugar. I’m gonna check out your recipes!

  9. August 13, 2010 6:02 am

    Gena, Trust me, you do. πŸ™‚

  10. Olivia permalink
    August 13, 2010 6:03 am

    What a great post, and some excellent suggestions. Thank you!

  11. August 13, 2010 6:05 am

    Great post! I agree that there is no such thing as the perfect diet, and so I get annoyed when I hear my friends say they’re gonna swear away carbs or go on some BS liquid diet. It’s all about knowing what works for your body!!!

  12. August 13, 2010 6:05 am

    Thank you for sharing your diet experience with us! After being very heavy for most of my teenage and college years, I finally started listening to my body. It is definitely not easy, like you say, and it takes time and trial and error but if you allow yourself to stop over-thinking (ie. I should be a vegetarian, I shouldn’t eat carbs) and just listen…I do believe your body does tell you what it needs. And I am in total agreement about yoga πŸ™‚

  13. August 13, 2010 6:15 am

    GREAT post, heather! It really is all trial and error. I still feel like I’m in the trial and error stages, but I’m getting there and it feels reealllly good. πŸ˜€


  14. August 13, 2010 6:16 am

    I love this post…I feel like I’ve tried every way of eating under the sun (and finally have a better understanding of what works for me), so it’s nice to see that I’m not the only one, and that so much trial and error doesn’t make someone necessarily “unhealthy” or obsessed with different diets…I feel like I’m always just curious about all the diets that show up on the scene!

  15. August 13, 2010 6:17 am

    What an amazing post, Heather! I’m still figuring out how my body needs to be fueled/fed, and it’s encouraging to hear your story.
    Btw- just saw your post on the Foodbuzz Health page!

  16. August 13, 2010 6:18 am


    What an important and WELL-WRITTEN post HEAB!

    It is so important to realize we are all DIFFERENT.

    Why, at the bookstore this weekend, I see one book that said to eat only fruit in the morning for breakfast…and then another says to stay away from fruit in the morning…it’s just so STUPID honestly!!!

    There is no prescription. Goodness, bodybuilders chug protein shakes all day long and others, some vegetarians, eat beans and rice all the time – noone is any better or any worse or any more right than the other.

    Can I say another AMEN please?!



  17. Victoria permalink
    August 13, 2010 6:24 am

    WoW!!!! Amazing post, and so true. Thank you for sharing all these details. I couldnt agree more. I wish we could learn this earlier in life so we dont torture ourselves trying to make the IT diet of the moment work for us when our bodies just need something different.
    As always, best of luck with the Heablet!!!

  18. August 13, 2010 6:29 am

    What a wonderful post! I hope at some point you make this a “sticky” or separate link on your main page. It’s funny how sometimes people have an almost religious fervor about the diet/way of eating that was right for them…and not to knock raw, but the raw & vegan community tends to have as many people like this as the Atkins clan;)

    Listen to what your body tells you & everything is going to be ok!

  19. August 13, 2010 6:30 am

    Thanks for sharing this. I like to learn what works for other people and what doesn’t. You seem really intuitive about your body to be able to notice small changes as a result of dietary changes.

  20. August 13, 2010 6:31 am

    One of my favorite posts of yours, yet!
    You are SO right-our bodies DO tell us exactly what we need/don’t need.
    Some people can’t believe how often I eat, because I like to graze all day. I just do better that way, and have never felt better in my life! For others, that would be a trigger to overeat. For me, it’s works.

    My body was telling me for years what I didn’t need, but I just couldn’t figure it out. Now I know it doesn’t like dairy/casein/eggs/wheat.
    Also, I believe that the way we eat will never be *static* I believe that it’s more than likely to change for several reasons, i.e. pregnancy, nursing, athletic training, surgery, healing, etc.
    So, it’s important to always be in tune with your body and be open to what it needs,when it needs it πŸ™‚

  21. August 13, 2010 6:31 am

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post Heather!! I also have tried every diet under the sun and it gets exhausting! I have wasted SO much money on books telling me how to eat and they didn’t work! I’m still tweaking and probably will be for a while, but I feel like I’m getting closer to figuring out MY diet. One thing that has helped me is to take the pressure off of myself and just relax. I’m learning that it is OKAY if I have to change things from one day to the next to get where I need to be. πŸ˜‰
    Have a good day!!

  22. August 13, 2010 6:38 am

    HEAB, you rock! I love your post- honest, real and informative! I’ve tried pretty much all that you have and also find sugar just doesn’t work well with my body when in excess, including fruit. I start to CRAVE sugar if I eat too much of it and then my weight goes up.

    Currently, I am eating clean (shout out to Tosca Reno!) so I do eat a lot of protein, but I’m also lifting heavy in the gym 5-6 days a week preparing for my first bikini figure comp. I kinda need that extra protein, you know what I mean? πŸ™‚

    After competition, I just want to maintain my weight (within a 5-7 pound window) continuing to eat CLEAN, WHOLE, NATURAL foods, again watching my sugar. I love how I feel and I know my body thanks me for it! And yes, we should never be afraid of FAT, especially if it is in natural form!:)

  23. Mandie permalink
    August 13, 2010 6:40 am

    This post is awesome, and I think it’s such an important lesson for EVERYONE. My body needs a lot of protein and fat to feel good and keep my cravings down. And NO sugar. Type II Diabetes runs in my family, and I when I eat too much sugar, I can feel it and it’s becomes difficult to control my weight and my portions. I have a terrible problem with binging. I have to constantly listen to what my body is telling me, when I’m full, when I’m tired (and why), when I have energy (and why). Listening to your body and looking for those signs (what did this food do for me, do I feel better or worse?) is SO SO SO important. And the same goes for fitness. Not every program works for every single person.

    You’re such a smarty pants. πŸ™‚

  24. thedailyoatmeal permalink
    August 13, 2010 6:44 am

    Thanks for this recap…coming to reading your blog a couple months ago, this provides a lot of perspective on what you are saying and eating during your pregnancy. Because I also lost a lot of weight (80 pounds), people ask me about how I did it, because they think they can just replicate it. I’ve never believed it worked that way– we are too individual (and that’s a good thing)!

  25. August 13, 2010 7:19 am

    It’s interesting how each person is designed differently and that different lifestyles work for them. I’m much happier and maintain my weight better when I eat intuitively, don’t calorie count, and exercise less. I also notice that I feel and look better when I eat more protein and fat. If a person finds something that works, stick with it! The grass isn’t always greener.

  26. August 13, 2010 7:21 am

    Heather it is so refreshing to read that you had to try different things to figure out what is best for you. I am still on that route. I get into the trap of “well so and so lost weight and looks great by eating this way” — and then I try it and it doesn’t work, but I keep doing it. Um, hello, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insanity!

    Now I am trying to listen to my body and figure out what I need and what works for me.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  27. Jamie - PolkaDotMommy permalink
    August 13, 2010 7:22 am

    I do a combination of Eat-Clean and Nourishing Traditions… EC on it’s on is to high protein/low fat for me as well… So I enjoy a couple whole eggs vs bunches of egg whites or less lean meats in small portions. I love nut butters and am trying to limit my cheese (sigh).

    Cutting out all processed sugar has been huge. I do enjoy honey, maple syrup, and palm sugar on occasion but find that fruit or a small amount of quality dark chocolate satisfies my sweet tooth.

    I’ve lost 30lbs in 3 months this way…. I have another 20 to go. Every few weeks I change things up to keep my metabolism going… This week to break my plateau I’m counting calories and not having any sugars. Next week I’ll switch back to 6 meals a day of protein and complex carbs without counting calories.

    Cutting out all processed sugar has been huge for me…

  28. August 13, 2010 7:23 am

    Couchpotato, You’re welcome. πŸ™‚

  29. August 13, 2010 7:25 am

    Jamie, Congrats on your weight loss thus far – you sound very in tune with your body. πŸ™‚

  30. August 13, 2010 7:25 am

    I love this post! Two main reasons: a) you discovered what works for YOUR body (by experimenting, no less!!) and b) you don’t let anyone talk you out of or make you feel guilty for eating the way you feel best. You are awesome! (And weirdly enough, I blogged the same thing today! Although I’m not quite as far along in my Food Experiment as you are, I really feel like I’ve made some significant progress!)

  31. August 13, 2010 7:26 am

    DailyOatmeal, Yes, people often ask me for meal plans, how I did it, etc. I’m happy to share with them how I lost the weight, but that doesn’t mean it will work for them. Plus, I find that everyone wants a quick and easy fix, and that’s not the way weight loss usually works.

  32. Nicole permalink
    August 13, 2010 7:26 am

    A while back, you posted a link from Mark’s Daily Apple. Until that point, I was trying all these diets that were supposed to help PCOS, and none were working. When I first looked at the link, it made sense but seemed to extreme for me. But I kept feeling horrible and having more and more health problems, so I figured what the heck?

    Well, it turned out all those PCOS-friendly diets were horrible for me b/c they emphasized grains (whole), but wheat was what was causing the problem all along. Once I eliminated wheat, I felt so much better. I do eat some occasionally, but it can make me really sick if I eat too much. I don’t think I have a physical problem with sugar, but when I do eat it, I tend to lose control, so I’m trying to avoid that as well. Once I got off the blood sugar roller coaster, sugar and pasta just wasn’t that appealing anymore.

    I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you posted that link. My health problems were getting worse, and the doctors couldn’t help. I was really starting to feel hopeless. I’m so glad that there are bloggers like you out there who aren’t afraid to be different from the typical high-exercise/vegan/calorie counters.

  33. August 13, 2010 7:28 am

    Texas, Yes, anyone lifting heavy or training for a fitness competition needs more protein. That’s so cool you’re doing that – best of luck, and I’m so happy to hear you’re feeling great.

  34. August 13, 2010 7:30 am

    Heather, Yes, I’ve heard from several others that pregnancy and nursing can change the body in so many ways, and I’m curious to know if it will change mine. I know several women who are no longer allergic to certain foods and other women developed food allergies and intolerances during their pregnancies. The body is such a crazy thing…it’s pretty amazing though as well. πŸ™‚ Glad you have found what works best for you!

  35. August 13, 2010 7:31 am

    Kate, Good idea! Making this post a “page” right now. πŸ™‚

  36. thedailyoatmeal permalink
    August 13, 2010 7:31 am

    In total agreement– 80 pounds was no quick and easy fix, and like you, I’m still experimenting with it every day.

  37. August 13, 2010 7:36 am

    Annecalista, I know – I saw that I made the Health Page yesterday…thanks for noticing and for your kind words regarding this post. πŸ™‚

  38. August 13, 2010 7:41 am

    Nicole, Oh my gosh, this makes me so happy to hear. I’ve heard so many recommendations for women with PCOS, and honestly, I do think more of a primal way of eating is the way to go since insulin sensitivity is such a major problem when it comes to PCOS, and how cool it lead you to figuring out your wheat intolerance as it sounds like it has made a huge difference for you.

    Thanks so much for reading and for your kind words regarding my blog. I’m truly honored that I was truly able to help you. πŸ™‚

  39. Chandra permalink
    August 13, 2010 7:42 am

    I totally agree with you…trial and error. It is difficult and takes time but it’s amazing to actually learn about your body throughout the process. I don’t tolerate processed foods or white sugar. I do fine with maple syrup, honey and I use a little turbinado sometimes. If I even eat a small amount of “dessert” (like cake, ice cream) then I feel horrible for the next few days. I’ve also picked up your making veggies more the main course…I still love my meats but I look at them as more of a side dish now. It’s so much easier cooking this way too. Saute, steam, grill the veggies and grill the meat and you’re done!

  40. August 13, 2010 7:45 am

    Chandra, Sounds like my kind of dinner…heavy on the veggies! I’ll bring the maple syrup dessert. πŸ™‚

  41. August 13, 2010 7:47 am

    It would be nice if there were a little “how to” guide or a label that came with us when born! Although it’s a little frustrating to try on different diets and lifestyles to see what works best for us individually, it’s also a bit exciting, no? A reminder that we’re all unique! I haven’t really experimented too much Vegetarianism is all I’ve ever known (I’ve been a veggie since I was little). I suppose then, based on that, it means that less protein and more fruits and veggies works for me. And this past year I’ve learned to embrace fats!

  42. brianne permalink
    August 13, 2010 7:50 am

    i followed one of the links in your post and you mentioned loving heavy whipping cream in your coffee — i agree! there’s nothing better! hatcher dairy (locally) makes whole cream that is heaven in coffee in the AM. πŸ™‚

  43. August 13, 2010 7:53 am

    Mayapamela, Yes, exciting – that is a good way to look at it. πŸ™‚

  44. Michelle permalink
    August 13, 2010 7:54 am

    Great post! I’ve definitely done the exercise-it-away thing. I was training for a half marathon while eating intense dorm food, where everything was brown. My legs got noticeably slimmer, but I wasn’t healthy besides the fact that my lungs probably were looking nice. Now I don’t exercise as much and eat healthier. I feel so much better.

  45. August 13, 2010 7:54 am

    brianne, I love Hatcher Dairy products, and yes, there is nothing better than heavy cream in coffee. I basically like a little bit of coffee with my cup of cream. πŸ˜‰

  46. ilovefetacheese permalink
    August 13, 2010 7:54 am

    I absolutely agree. There’s no right way of dieting for everyone. I think you just have to try things out and find what works for you. I believe the main reason people stop their diets is because they’re not eating enough and just miserable – this is what happened to me when i changed my eating habits. I cut back TOO much. But now I’ve found what works for me – no skimping on quantity, just making better choices. Especially adding veggies, like the stir fry you made. When I started my diet change, I was probably eating around 250 calories at dinner and I would just feel awful afterwards…I definitely need more than that. Thanks for this post, very interesting to see what works best for you!

  47. August 13, 2010 7:54 am

    Michelle, Me too! πŸ™‚

  48. August 13, 2010 7:57 am

    Thank you thank you THANK YOU, Heather, seriously. This is more than true – and I think SO many people try to follow “diets” they see on blogs, and get really confused when it doesn’t work out the exact way it did for the other person – well HELLO, everyone’s body is SO different, therefore responds differently! I love the recaps of your dietary experiments, it just further proves the facts that not every diet is fit for EVERYbody! Amen sister! People get so caught up in these promises of weight loss and fitness that they simply forget that they really need to just figure out a plan for themselves!!

    Ahh I could hug you right now πŸ˜€

    p.s. bacon + avocado = match made in heaven.

  49. August 13, 2010 7:59 am

    Meg, you’re welcome. Thanks as always for all your support, and yes, bacon + avocado = heaven. πŸ™‚

  50. August 13, 2010 8:06 am

    Your dinner of stir fried veggies looks DELICIOUS and makes me very hungry. πŸ™‚

  51. August 13, 2010 8:07 am

    Traci, It was. πŸ™‚

  52. August 13, 2010 8:22 am

    i loved this post… i totally agree withyou 100% about the high protein…dry skin and weight gain!!! ill leave that stuff for the body builders and men…they do good with that….we women…haha love fat πŸ™‚

  53. August 13, 2010 8:30 am

    great post…so true…No magic ONE way!

  54. sara permalink
    August 13, 2010 8:34 am

    I really appreciated this post. I’m definitely starting my journey to figure out what works for me. I’m also training for a half marathon so I need to factor that in as well. It is tough but I know I’ll figure it out. I will say, your blog has taught me that experimenting is okay, and more importantly not to fear the fat! I’ve upped my fat intake a bit and I’ve definitely noticed that I feel more satiated, and, the number on the scale hasn’t gone up! Its definitely teaching meto give into my cravings rather than letting them linger to the point I binge.

    Rambling comment, I know. The long and short of it, your blog has been inspirational for me.

  55. August 13, 2010 8:36 am

    Sara, Thank you. πŸ™‚

  56. August 13, 2010 8:37 am

    This is a great post! The holistic health program I’m in right now really emphasizes bioindividuality– the concept that one man’s food is another man’s poison– it’s totally true that no one diet works for everyone. It seems obvious, but when people get fixated on wanting results as quickly as possible, they tend to fall into fads and “what she did” to lose weight.

    I’m still playing around with my diet to get to a point where I can eat without worrying about gaining weight. I stick to a primal/paleo-ish diet, but with less protein than they recommend, because, like you, I don’t do well with excess protein…but I do very will with no grains, dairy or legumes

  57. August 13, 2010 8:52 am

    i think i need to try the heaby eating with a diet higher in fats. i’ve been through the low cal thing (and the same thing happened to me! too skinny & always moody), and i’ve been doing the low carb high fiber & protein thing, but i think i eat MORE because my body isn’t satisfied in the fat dept. causing weight gain. plus, i’m a cardio queen and feel like i have to go run it off. but then i just eat more afterward. it allll catches up and i think i’m gaining because of it. maybe i’ll try the whole yoga and higher fat thing and see how it works out. you surely look beautiful, so we know it works! hehe.

  58. August 13, 2010 8:53 am

    Me too, I have been on every diet under the sun. I’ve managed to keep 45lbs off by counting calories, I eat whatever I want but just keep an eye on the number, a pain i know but it’s the only way.

  59. August 13, 2010 8:57 am

    heather – what an amazing post! thank you for sharing with how you discovered to eat for your own body. it’s really reassuring to know that our bodies are smart and respond positively when we give ourselves what we need.

  60. August 13, 2010 8:58 am

    A beautifully honest HEABs post!

    A number of diets have worked for me, but I think after a while it becomes more complicated than just calorie reduction (maybe BECAUSE of calorie reduction). And then, yes, there are the folks with PCOS or even thyroid probs, like me. I totally agree that low-sugar is the way to go. It has made ALL the difference for me, but I also had reactive hypoglycemia. That should have been my first clue years ago, but I wasn’t listening.

    I think once you find the right way of eating, you’ll know it because it will most likely be easier for you than other ways. Is that idealistic? That’s been my experience at least. Kinda like when you find the right relationship. It’s just lovely and angst-free.

  61. August 13, 2010 9:22 am

    “My advice: simply let go, trust, and listen.”

    What sound, simple, beautiful advice! Thank you, Heather, for this wonderful post. I have always admired the way that you have allowed yourself to try different things and really figure out what works best for you. After losing 50+ pounds, I am still so scared of it coming back that I often don’t allow myself to just let go, trust, and listen. I am learning to, though, and finding that a diet high in protein works very well for my body (and mind and heart, too!). Thank you for the encouragement to figure out what works best for my body. You are quite the inspiration! πŸ™‚

  62. August 13, 2010 9:23 am

    We are all indeed unique, so why shouldn’t our diets be? I admire your open-mindedness in trying various types of diets, but I admire your ability to listen to and trust your body even more!

    For me, personally, I tend to thrive off of a diet that’s rich in whole foods. The less processed, the better. We’re talking lean proteins, 7-9 servings of fruits and veggies each day, and lots oof whole grains (oatmeal, wheatberries, granola, whole wheat bread and pasta, quinoa). Like you, it took me years of trial and error to land on this style of eating. Live and learn!

  63. August 13, 2010 9:23 am

    Great, great post Heather, love everything you wrote and the way you did. We truly are all different in our own ways and have to figure out what is best for ourselves. People tend to compare themselves to others and that is where things go wrong.
    As I got close to my 30’s I began to listen to my body more and sort of started to figure me out in a lot of ways. It might sound strange, but I think that as we mature a lot of who we truly are comes out to surface and then you start to figure all the things that really make you happy and the ones you did just because you were told to.
    With eating I am still learning about my body and how foods affect me, just like you said, experimenting here ant there is key.
    One thing I noticed as I get older is that my tolerance to sugar (particularly sucrose) is close to zero. I can handle fruits, but when it comes to plain old sugar I just go down. I was even talking to my husband about this yesterday night, asking him if there might be such a thing as one being hypersensitive to sucrose?! Anytime I eat something with sucrose in it I get an immediate headache, it is ridiculous as just how quickly it is that I start feeling that. Plus I noticed more and more that it affects my mood like nothing else. Omg, one day I stopped and realized that sugar makes me cranky and irritated, is that even possible? I guess so.
    This past Monday I went with my son to Planet Smoothie, we had been doing errands and had no time to come back home for a snack and since it was hot he asked if we could have a cold smoothie; since I love smoothies we stopped by the place. I asked the server how was their fruit sweetened, and she told me the fruit was unsweetened. Well, she obviously didn’t know what she was talking about… I ordered a pb, chocolate and banana shake for Matheus (he loved, and I did too, it was really good!!) and one with just raspberries and protein powder for me (no yogurt as I know theirs is sweetened with sugar). I even asked about the sweetener of the powder and she said it was “unsweetened mam”. Ok, I thought all would be good. Not a bit, the smoothie was really sweet, but I drank most of it just because it was kinda expensive I didn’t want to throw away, and since we grabbed and had it in the car on the way to another event I wasn’t able to go back and complain.
    Turns out I got this massive headache and felt crappy for the rest of the day. I could not sleep because of this horrible headache later that night, my stomach was in such pain later on, I could barely eat my dinner. And to make things worse around 3am I woke up and went directly to the bathroom, everything came out, my stomach was on a huge crisis. I spent the next couple days with my stomach in one of the worse crisis I had ever had (I have some bad stomach issues, runs in the family, and right now I had it under control, no ulcers, nothing. Eating healthy does wonder to our bodies, stomach especially).
    Now I was wondering if I might have something with high doses of sucrose, or other types of sugar, and even if the ulcers I had in the past might have been caused in part by sugar consumption.
    I liked reading that you feel better on a low sugar diet, as I totally do too. I don’t add sugar to my foods, I even eat my oats unsweetened and I love it that way (I cook it in milk though, so it does add a level of subtle sweetness to ti), but I love fruits, and I have been wondering if maybe I eat too much of it.
    In the past year I started experimenting with having more healthy fats in my diet and I have to say that I like the way I feel, plus I didn’t gain weight at all. However, with my stomach issues I can’t have too much of it at a time (no more than a blob of almond butter – 1 tbsp maybe? – or a few slices of avocado, for ex), so I am one that need to space out my meals into smaller portions. See, we are all different and really need to experiment after all!
    After two days drinking ginger tea and eating saltines I now swore off planet smoothie from my list of treats, especially since I have the best blender ever!!
    Plus that showed me once more how my body reacts to different things.
    Sorry about the long post, I guess I just wanted to share some things I learned too!

  64. August 13, 2010 9:28 am

    I think you have a very refreshing take on food and dieting. I loved your thing about how you enjoy reading about diets and nutrtition and would want to try every new thing that you had read about. I am exactly the same way. My friends can’t understand why I will go to Borders and read all these diet books and I tell them it is because I simply love learning and hearing new tips. Some of them I will try, some of them no. You’re right, though, that a diet has to be what is right for you. It’s not something that you pull from a book or someone else’s food blog. Everyone’s body is different and people should honor that.

    Wonderful Post πŸ˜€

  65. August 13, 2010 9:32 am

    Insightful as always! We’ve all got to do what works for us, and even I realize that that can change over time. Trial and error is right! It’s a personal choice for everyone and I’ll never judge you or anyone else on switching things up.

  66. August 13, 2010 9:51 am

    It looks like you’ve tried it all! I like how you’re always so upfront about articulating why you make the choices you do, and your underlying motivations (feel good, maintain weight loss, be healthy). And I wholeheartedly agree with you – there is no one diet that will suit everyone. We all eat differently based on where we’re coming from and what our main motivations are.

    The choices people make in terms of food are motivated by so much- some people are in recovery of some sort, others are trying to heal, there’s sensitivity/allergy issues, some eat based on their beliefs/compassion towards animal welfare, there’s environmental considerations, and considerations about relationships between farmers, producers, consumers and the ways that those relationships play out across Nations with different amounts of capital and power. Others eat for enjoyment and pure taste! Me, I’m a little bit of all that rolled into one.

    Three things you’ve taught me as a reader that I’m thankful for:
    1. Listen to your body
    2. Fat is healthy (I cannot thank you enough for this- I also eat healthy fats everyday, and have never felt better about my health and how I look)
    3. Embrace change when it’s needed

    Nice post!

  67. August 13, 2010 9:55 am

    I like to experiment with diets, too! When it comes to food, I am very curious and I like to experiment and experience the results for myself. I feel that we’ll never truly know unless we try, so I dabble in all sorts of “diets,” but like you, I always gravitate back to what works best for me. And that is a high carb, moderate protein and fat, lowish sodium diet. I can eat anything I want and lose weight, but my body knows when I overdo it with one thing or another and let’s me know right away! So: I listen to it. I’ll always try new foods and new ways of eating, just for fun. If something sticks, great, if not, no harm done. Like you, I also took the best parts of each “diet” and applied it to my personal menu. πŸ™‚


  68. August 13, 2010 10:05 am

    Great advice, HEAB! I agree that there is no one-size-fits-all way to eat. Personally, I feel a lot better NOT eating meat, but I know that there are many (like yourself) whose bodies need it.

  69. August 13, 2010 10:19 am

    This is such a great post! Your story is so indicative of how individual and unique everyone’s bodies are – that every diet out there is only as good as your body’s own reaction to it. Exterior influences can really cloud our self-awareness; we can be easily convinced that one person’s “perfect diet” will be ours too. But it’s really all about mindfulness, and being aware of when and how YOU feel your best – and you are an admirable example of just that! πŸ™‚

  70. August 13, 2010 10:26 am

    Very smart post. I’m definitely still a work of progress when talking about listening to your body. I find myself loving certain foods so much that I continue to eat them even though I know they don’t make me feel good! Thanks for the reminder to check in with your body every once in a while!

  71. August 13, 2010 10:38 am

    Heather your philosophy is what keeps me coming back. Friends often look at my food and wonder why I eat the way I do. It’s because I’ve found what works for me. Not what every thing SAYS should work but trusting my body to tell me what does work. Now I’m learning to trust it.

    Thanks for being just you!

  72. Little Bookworm permalink
    August 13, 2010 10:50 am

    Amazing post Heather, thanks for posting it! πŸ™‚ Love your advice at the end!

  73. August 13, 2010 10:51 am

    So true about how what works for some doesn’t work for others. I love how you broke down different diets and explained why each did or didn’t work for you. I’ve haven’t done too much experimenting with my diet, but I think I may be like you in that I prefer fat and moderate carbs over high protein. While I definitely don’t fear fats (bring on the nut butter and avocado!), it’s hard to get over the mindset that eating over 30% calories from fat isn’t harmful. That’s why I love reading your blog and reading about your perspective on food. Simply let go, trust, and listen –> great advice!

  74. August 13, 2010 10:57 am

    I hear ya. Every “body” has a different reponse to food. I work well with higher fat/protein and not a lot of fruit. I call it semi-primal because I can’t live with out my oats either. πŸ™‚
    Great post!

  75. August 13, 2010 11:37 am

    I really think that’s the ONLY way to figure out what’s best for your body- is with trial & error. I’m going to be adopting a HEAB way of eating for the next few weeks while I’m trying to clear up Lyme (as in, low sugar!) So our meals will look prettyyyy similar πŸ™‚

  76. August 13, 2010 11:42 am

    Amen Heather! Great post and I will be referring to this one when readers write to me very confused about what they should do…umm, not sure, what “they” should do. Only they can figure it out!! I have said it so many times that I feel like a broken record but we all must find our OWN path and my path is not yours and yours is not hers type of thing.

    People want me to say that I took a bloodtest and all my food allergies were right there and I just cut them out and life was happy go lucky. NO. Not at all. It took YEARS of detective work, trial and error, and eliminating a food, getting to baseline/no symptoms, and then re-trialing it back in. And then factors like time, gut health improving, organic vs GMO’ed vs. non organic vesions of the same food (i.e. soy or spelt) can cause different issues depending on other factors. It’s truly like having to have the stars align and Jesus walk on water in order to figure it all out…which is a long way to say that no one else can figure out food allergies or dietary path for anyone else. It’s hard work that only that person can do.

    And of course this all crosses over into weight/overall health and the choices we make for that too.

    I LOVE the Breakdown of all the diets you did and why they didnt work..LOVE THIS POST!!!!

    Have a great day hon!!!


  77. August 13, 2010 11:46 am

    I couldn’t agree more!! The last 1.5 years have been a time of trial and error for me. Not so much for weight control (I’ve maintained the same weight + or – 5 pounds) but the way I FEEL. It took me so long to discover that my digestive system hates gluten and dairy. But now that I’ve figure it out, I literally feel like a new person – I’m happier, feel great, have 1000x more energy, sleep better, exercise better, and just enjoy life more. I’m sad it took me SO long to figure out, but I’m glad I’m finally there!

  78. August 13, 2010 12:02 pm

    Great Post! Each body is definitely different. If I ate the way my best friend ate than I would be a balloon. The metabolism is completely different from each person. By the way, your veggie stir-fry looks so good

  79. Michelle permalink
    August 13, 2010 12:17 pm

    Great post!

  80. marshell y. Roper permalink
    August 13, 2010 12:24 pm

    Hi Heather!
    The diet that I am on is a wonderful diet that works for “me.” I am on the low carb/ protien diet with exercise 3 days out of the week and I always make sure I get my fats in there. One thing that I have learned is that, I have to take one day out of every two weeks and eat what ever my heart desires and believe it or not….I never want much out of the ordinary of what I have already been eating. I always build myself up for the big binging day and when it comes, nothing seems appetizing to me. Funny how the body works when it gets used to something!! DOWN “21”POUNDS and counting!!
    Do you like ( BROCCOLI RUBE )? IT’S A GREAT GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLE. COOKED (STEAMED) WITH RED PEPPER, GARLIC, OLIVE OIL AND YOUR OWN SEASONING. I find that it gives me great energy and excellent for the digestive track. ~~~Shell

  81. Jin permalink
    August 13, 2010 12:32 pm

    Love,love,love this post!

    Everyone needs to find what works and what doesn’t. I believe that we’ll never figure it out completely but having a good sense of it surely helps!

  82. Jeannette permalink
    August 13, 2010 12:42 pm

    Thank you so much for answering this question!

  83. August 13, 2010 1:05 pm

    This is your best post yet, among many greats! I couldn’t agree more about finding your own path. For years, I tried to eat like everyone else, but I was tired and lethargic and “puffy”. Now, I eat what I want, when I want, and screw them! I feel energetic healthy, and look and feel better than I ever have…finally…in my 30s!

    Figuring out food allergies and what makes us feel our best is a struggle, but the pay-off is so worth it!

    By the way, I posted another pesto recipe today…speaking of fat!

  84. August 13, 2010 1:06 pm

    Great post heather! I’ve been trying to find what works for me as well. I hope to find why works for me soon, but in the mean time, I’ve got lot of yummy experiments to get cracking on. πŸ™‚

    Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

  85. August 13, 2010 1:08 pm

    Love ya HEAB!! Great post!! I couldn’t agree more. We have to do what works for us and not worry about what works for everyone else. I’m finally at that point!! πŸ™‚

  86. August 13, 2010 1:22 pm

    I’ve gone through a lot of trial and error too- in fact I’m in the middle of one. I’m trying out a high protein (but not <30% of my total calories) and working to get away from night time eating. I still have to eat *something* before going to bed..but I want to make it lighter. So that means working on eating more of my calories throughout the day. Even though I eat at least every two hours, I still come up short so I have to stuff my face at night to make up for it. Then I go to bed uncomfortably full and feel bloated all the time. Hopefully changing the habits will work.

  87. *Andrea* permalink
    August 13, 2010 1:38 pm

    love this post! some bloggers i think are embarassed to admit they have tried lots of fads/diets and it makes me feel a bit guilty. i’ve tried the south beach, the no carb and the overexercising paths and none have worked. for me it is still a work in progress and i agree that everyone should be open to trying new things, not being afraid of labels but focusing on what feels right for your own body. personally i love running but i’ve cut down a lot because i can easily overdo it and my knees and toes start to hate me πŸ˜‰ since i’ve started yoga though i have fallen in love. it’s taught me a lot about my body and my mind too which is great. so thanks again for being so honest!

  88. August 13, 2010 2:06 pm

    out of all food blogs i read, i think you have the most mature grip on your relationship w/ food and knowing your body, listening to your body. seriously! i have always thought that about you, HEABs.

    have a lovely weekend, momma to be!


  89. August 13, 2010 2:11 pm

    Great post. I think that there are so many considerations, from genetics to lifestyle to ethics to simple taste preferences that I get a little nervous whenever doctors, gurus or other figures suggest what the “perfect” diet looks like. I think that even in one individual’s life span, there are bound to be different nutritional needs and wants, and that towing a hard line on anything food related is probably not going to end on the most positive note.

  90. August 13, 2010 2:19 pm

    Thanks for breaking this down for us–I find it very interesting. I also find it pretty cool that you are willing to experiment so much with their diet! many people dont have that kind of courage!

  91. August 13, 2010 2:53 pm

    Wow, thanks J. Bean! That’s a huge compliment. I hope you are enjoying married life! πŸ™‚

  92. August 13, 2010 2:55 pm

    Andrea, You’re welcome…thanks for you comment – love the yoga part of your especially. πŸ™‚

  93. August 13, 2010 2:57 pm

    Jeannette, You’re welcome. πŸ™‚

  94. August 13, 2010 2:59 pm

    Shell, Glad to hear you’re doing so well, and yes, it is funny how our bodies work sometimes. πŸ™‚

    Do you mean broccoli rabe? If so, I do like it, but I never think to buy it. Your method of cooking it sounds delicious!

  95. August 13, 2010 3:00 pm

    Katie, Me too! πŸ™‚

  96. August 13, 2010 3:01 pm

    Thanks Averie – I hope you have a wonderful weekend! πŸ™‚

  97. August 13, 2010 3:02 pm

    Danielle, Lyme – oh gosh, that’s a tough one – I hope the low sugar plan helps!

  98. August 13, 2010 3:02 pm

    Thanks It All Changes, and just keep doing what you’re doing despite what others think. Only you know what is best for YOU! πŸ™‚

  99. August 13, 2010 3:04 pm

    Jenn, I love the idea of a ‘personal menu’ – that’s what I do. I’ll have to remember that one. πŸ™‚

  100. August 13, 2010 3:05 pm

    Madebyjill, I’m so glad you’ve learned all of 3 from reading HEAB – really, I love hearing stuff like that. Reminds me why I started blogging in the first place. So, thank you for letting me know. πŸ™‚

  101. August 13, 2010 3:11 pm

    you pretty much said it, and I dont know what else to say, but I think I love you (in that non creepy way)

  102. August 13, 2010 3:12 pm

    This is one of the BEST posts I’ve ever read. Seriously. Thank you for your honesty, your attention to detail, and for reminding us all that we are all DIFFERENT….and that is wonderful, as long as we ACCEPT IT! You’ve found what works best for you, what makes you look what you feel is your best and FEEL what you feel is your best. It is so freaking easy to be swayed by magazines (I’m a fitness/nutrition/general health magazine junkie), what is popular, what is seen on others’ blogs (especially those bloggers you admire and think look awesome and seem to have it all figured out), what family and friends either say you should do or judge you for doing…having confidence in our own food and exercise is way harder than it should be. I know things about myself regarding diet and exercise that **I** know to be true in my heart, but I doubt myself way too often and stand in my own way by buying into all that I listed above. If I just did what I knew worked for me and didn’t give a crap about what anyone else was doing, second guessing myself and thinking “maybe they have it right and i have it wrong,” the sky would be the limit. So THANK YOU for that reminder πŸ™‚

  103. August 13, 2010 3:13 pm

    Ana, It’s so true about getting older and growing into our bodies. Oh gosh, I felt like I was completely still clueless in my 20’s, and I was for the most part. In fact, even now that I’m 34, I’m still figuring things about myself out – but, like I said in my post, always a work in progress I guess. πŸ™‚

    I am so sorry about your smoothie drama…I think they add sugar to all of their fruit except bananas, and there is no telling what was in that protein powder. The person working there probably thought since she wasn’t actually adding “sugar” to your smoothie that it was considered ‘unsweetened’. A lot of people just don’t get it. Again, sorry it happened, but now you know to just get home as fast as you can and make protein ice-cream instead. πŸ™‚

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend Ana!

  104. August 13, 2010 3:13 pm

    Gavriel, Yeah, it’s so hard to just let go after losing a large amount of weight. You’ve been so strict with yourself to lose the weight, and then all of sudden, it’s like “now what?” I still and will always have my rules, but I am getting more and more relaxed as time goes on. Just do the best you can for now and try not to be too hard on yourself. πŸ™‚

  105. August 13, 2010 3:14 pm

    Agreed. But I still love reading those articles that tell you the no-no foods. Check out this great article on 5 foods you should remove from your diet today!

  106. August 13, 2010 3:15 pm

    Haha – love you too Edenseats! πŸ™‚

  107. August 13, 2010 3:17 pm

    Katie, You’re welcome, and trust me, I have the same struggles. I hear about the latest diet craze, and I’ll want to try it, even if I know deep down it will not work for me. No more second guessing ourselves! Deal? πŸ™‚

  108. August 13, 2010 3:32 pm

    Freckled Foodie, It’s worth a try – lord knows I’ve tried it all. Perhaps the heaby plan will work for you. I hope so! πŸ™‚

  109. August 13, 2010 3:33 pm

    Carb, I agree – not idealistic at all. 100% truth!

  110. August 13, 2010 3:34 pm

    Tabitha, Sorry the calorie counting is a pain, but at least you’ve found something that works for you!

  111. August 13, 2010 3:54 pm

    Lovin’ your eats!
    As for diets, I’ve tried extreme low-calorie (i.e., anorexia), which was wrong for obvious reasons. I tried Clean Eating most recently, and I’ve found that the high protein made me gain weight. So now I’m just back to lots of veggies, fat, and moderate protein.

  112. August 13, 2010 3:56 pm

    BroccoliHut, Sounds like a good plan to me. πŸ™‚

  113. Christina Gondolfi permalink
    August 13, 2010 4:31 pm

    Great post! I’m continuously striving to listen to my body, and I’m getting better =)

  114. August 13, 2010 4:33 pm

    That is great that you have been able to find something that works so well for you. it is a constant struggle for me to figure out what makes me feel best. I think I am slowly but surely figuring it all out.
    Thanks for the add on Foodbuzz! I love your blog!

  115. August 13, 2010 4:38 pm

    Wonderful post, thanks again for sharing the “what works for you” mentality. It can frustrating when eating is such a trial and error thing but once you hit on what works, there’s much relief. (ie: I dearly miss my green smoothies that Gena pulled out of my gripping claws but I no longer have painful stomach bloat from insoluble fiber either)

    I think its in our nature to experiment, even when we KNOW what works. It took my a long time to realize that it wasn’t so much the RUNNING that helped me shed so much weight but the fact that running was NEW to my body. I’m holding steady eating a little more, and ENJOYING my activities such as hiking, kayaking, or 90 minutes of freeze tag with VBS kids, without having to log 50 mile weeks and count calories.

  116. Robyn permalink
    August 13, 2010 5:04 pm

    Hi Heather,

    This is a really great post! I’ve tried the low fat, weight watchers, Atkins, Primal (but that was really hard for me because I love breads, though I have figured out to cut back on them). The only one that worked was weight watchers, but once I went back to eating regularly, I put all the weight back on. And then got pregnant. So, now I’ve come to the conclusion that mostly how I eat is okay, that I need to exercise more, do a better job regarding sleep, and just have a positive outlook. But one thing I do know that I need to do is cut back on sweets. It took all my will power not to eat the whole slice of cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory on my birthday. I remember one time making ginger snap cookies to freeze so that I wouldn’t have a whole batch made and feel compelled to eat them all in one go. Well, guess who figured out that frozen cookie dough isn’t as frozen as you think and tasted amazing? Yeah, the frozen batch of cookie dough was gone in about a day. Bad!
    So, I am always curious how those who cut out sugar, compensate for their sweet tooth. What suggestions do you have.
    Anyways, I love your blog and your honesty. Take care!

  117. August 13, 2010 6:17 pm

    I definitely feel best when I’m eating lots of whole grains and vegetables, with a little bit of protein and fat. But then again, I’m an avid competitive runner, so I really need the carbohydrates to keep my energy levels up.

    Like you, I can’t handle too much fruit either. About 2-3 pieces of whole, fresh fruit a day is perfect for me.

    I’m amazed to see how much experimenting you’ve done with you’re diet! I guess you could say I’m the opposite – I found what works and I stick to it almost religiously. In fact, I started my blog out of a desire to mix up my diet on a more regular basis.

    [P.S.] I have to tell you, Heather, that your posts are always so great. They’re personal and relate well to many people such as myself. I hope you continue blogging for a very, very long time!

  118. August 13, 2010 6:29 pm

    Awesome post!!!! We just did a post recently too about what works for us will not work for others. Everyone has to listen to their own bodies. It is nice to learn and get inspired by others, but when it comes down to it, one has to respect and honor one’s body. Because who else will take care of it??

    I agree with high fat, low protein, and little sugar. We are the same way. We have been eating a little more “cooked” food lately, and feel great. Our “diet” is always changing because we are always changing. We are getting better at learning what works for us, but still struggle sometimes.

    Both Lori and I tried running a few weeks ago and just could not do it. Lately we are just doing 12-15 minutes of high intensity workouts, and some yoga mixed in. Although I know I need to do more yoga!!

    Thank you for sharing your trial and errors. You are so inspirational to us ; ) Thank you for being you!!!!

  119. August 13, 2010 6:37 pm

    I forgot to mention…we did a post today all about our love for avocados ; )
    We love our fats!!! haha

  120. August 13, 2010 7:16 pm

    Outstanding post, Heather! It’s giving me some serious food for thought. I’ll report back after I try some changes inspired from this post and the previous ones you linked to …

    Thanks! Hugssss,


  121. Rebecca permalink
    August 13, 2010 7:32 pm

    I agree with most of this post. I definitely believe that no one diet fits every person (I can function SOOOO well on carbs, but too much fat, and I feel ick). And I love that you’re honest about the trial and error, as well as the need to listen to our bodies!

    The only thing that bothers me here is the “fat talk” and the overt emphasis on WEIGHT as an indicator of “what your body likes.” For example, you say that on the raw diet the “muffin top appeared almost immediately, and it was the heaviest I’ve been since losing the weight.”

    I think that’s an unfortunate way to judge the success/failure of a diet. I have never even come close to trying raw (nor will I), so I’m not defending the diet itself. I just think…muffin top? So effing what?!?! “Heaviest”? What does that mean? Just like every diet needs to be different, every BODY is different. Some bodies will always have a “muffin top”–some bodies will never be as thin as yours or the models on TV. And that’s okay. Maybe your body would be happier with a little more. All I’m saying is, let’s focus on listening to our bodies in terms of HOW THEY FUNCTION AND FEEL, and not on HOW THEY LOOK. I think that’s what you’re getting at at the end of the post. I just wish we could banish the fat talk altogether. As long as you were healthy, you shouldn’t worry about weight!

    If I thought that my body was “happiest” when it was thinnest, I would still be eating 900 calories a day in things like Lean Cuisine and Special K. Do I weigh a little more now that I eat real food in real portions and exercise regularly? Yes. But I feel a lot better. That’s the standard to go by.

  122. Carolyn permalink
    August 13, 2010 7:34 pm

    I’m finding recently that it’s not so much which foods i am adhereing to or not. It’s about always getting some exercise in there with them.. I can feel good or bad with the same food, based on exercise. If i don’t feel like i am taking care of my body that way it doesn’t matter what i am putting in there.. If i feel good about what i am doing outside the kitchen for my self (body) the rest will follow…

    And having said that… hopefully it will not be any of the double frosted Funfetti Cake, in the refrigerator…Which was not supposed to be coming home from the downtown office.. πŸ˜‰

  123. Nicole permalink
    August 13, 2010 7:36 pm

    Great post, Heather! I think it’s important that everyone works to figure out what is best for them instead of buying into the idea that there is one diet that is right for everyone. Like you I have done a lot of experimenting with my diet and found one that works for me, which ends up being kind of like The Zone, around 40%protein, 40% carbs, 20% fat. Eating this both helps me maintain my weight and, just as important to me, avoid hypoglycemia, which I’ve had a lot of trouble with in the past. I used to eat the typical high mileage runners diet of high carbs and low fat and always felt awful. I especially have trouble with diets any higher in carbs, especially “simple” carbs and fruit.

  124. Jill permalink
    August 13, 2010 8:27 pm

    Like everyone else has said, I really love this post! I, too, have flip-flopped between various diets of sorts, and find that I learn a few things from every diet “phase” I go through. Like you, I found that the lower calorie thing just didn’t work-it’s way too little food πŸ™‚ But it did give me a good “refresher” on portion sizes that is still helpful now. I kind of enjoyed being a vegetarian, but found the prospect of an entire life without meat kind of daunting. And I still feel that sometimes there is just something really satisfying about MEAT and I come from a family with some die-hard carnivores. Yet thanks to being a vegetarian for a stretch of time, I’ve learned to eat a more diverse set of proteins and enjoy doing it.

    Currently, I guess you could say that I simply try to eat a balanced, healthy diet without overthinking it. I’ve drastically reduced the amount of packaged food that I eat, and really do crave whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies, all forms of dairy and soymilk, and all sorts of vegetarian dishes. I pretty much eat some form of nut butter every day (I’m building quite a collection-LOL) and have also learned that I NEED those good fats to feel satisfied. And now that I’m eating so many whole foods, plus a small amount of dark chocolate or some other form of treat every day, my cravings for unhealthy foods are way down!

    And, now that I’ve written a book, I think that is about it πŸ™‚

  125. Larissa permalink
    August 13, 2010 10:21 pm

    Heather thanks for the insight and sharing as always! I feel that my body is very similar to yours in terms of how it is at its best when I have low sugar in my diet and whole grains, but how were you able to maintain 3 years with NO sugar – especially chocolate! I have done a few months w/o it and have felt and looked my best and then I go back to sugar for one reason or another (usually social eating and then get hooked!) ugh! I would love to hear how you were able to successfully (I am sure with lots of willpower) able to keep a no sugar diet as I think that is key for me as well to be an my ideal body level/energy/weight! Please help! Thanks!

  126. August 13, 2010 10:54 pm

    Very inspirational post, Heather. Thanks for the advice! Another balance I’ve been working on is between raw and cooked foods, which I started talking about in my most recent post. So also, thanks for the topic idea. It’s definitely something that we can all take a step back and try to work on!

  127. August 13, 2010 11:29 pm

    Hey Heather :),

    I can’t agree more with this post. First off, thank you, thank you for letting the (blog) world know that fat is not bad . It IS most definitely very hard to find what foods/ diet works for your body. I still don’t know what works for mine, i’m still figuring it out. But I DO know my body craves fat and I can’t ever do a low fat diet. Not in the books for me. I have to eat around 2000- 3000 to maintain my weight. I’m thin so I need to make sure I’m getting enough fat and protein. Too much protein is a no- no for me; and too much sugar is as well. I don’t do well with processed sugar. It’s the fat that works πŸ™‚

  128. August 14, 2010 12:45 am

    this may be my favorite post ever. It’s very informative and honest. Love it. Thanks so much!

  129. August 14, 2010 1:10 am

    lovely post, heather!

    my body reacts horribly to sugar, too! especially chocolate, a love of mine. but sugar (chocolate included!) makes me gain weight and experience crazy mood swings and bouts of depression. and it makes my skin break out! i totally agree with listening to your body and i only just started doing it. although i’m with you on the sugar aspect, i absolutely thrive on vegan food and raw food. loooove it. bodies truly do differ! what a waste of time trying to force yourself into the confines of a diet that ultimately leaves you feeling miserable…

    and yoga = my personal life saver. i did the running route too and only recently quit. nothing has ever felt so right in my entire life.

    keep on being awesome and listening to your body! it’s an inspiration to those of us still trying to figure it all out πŸ™‚

  130. August 14, 2010 2:30 am

    I love this post Heather, so honest. Thanks for sharing so openly.

  131. ratzx31 permalink
    August 14, 2010 3:46 am

    great post heather! what a timely reminder! this whole what food suits your body best is a tricky business, a life-time job trying to find out! (:

    i’m still trying to figure out what’s best for my body after trying many different types of food to fill me and stay satisfied, not hungry all the time. it’s difficult to know what works and it gets rather frustrating at times when what you do seems to be going against what you hope to achieve. thanks again for the wonderful reminder that not on diet fits all bodies!! (:

    though i know my body doesn’t work too well with fats. i think i’m better on one that requires lots of veggies, fruits and complex carb , minimal fats diet. i think. thanks again in any case!

  132. August 14, 2010 5:11 am

    Amen to Rebecca’s comment!

  133. August 14, 2010 6:40 am

    Great post Heather! We need more of you in the blog world!

    I think diets are so appealing to the public because they offer this illusion of new, revolutionary and easy solutions that will make your weight and health problems magically disappear. Truth is, whether we like it or not, there is no quick or fancy book or plan out there that will nourish and heal our bodies (and preserve our sanity!) better than the simple act of listening to our bodies. And just like you did, despite our best efforts, we always seem to be naturally drawn back to what is best for us.

    Bottom line, everything we need we already have.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

  134. August 14, 2010 7:59 am

    I LOVE this post!! I’m currently working on figuring out what works best for my body. I’ve been vegetarian for a year (with a three month veganism stint) and I’ve been struggling with my health. Slowly I’ve been adding back fish and yesterday I ate turkey but felt horrribly guilty for breaking my vegetarianism. So this post really helped me not feel guilty for eating what works best for my body and my health πŸ™‚ Thanks for being so freaking awesome!!

    Have you visited Meijer’s yet? I love Meijer and wish we had one in Washington DC.

  135. August 14, 2010 8:07 am

    Thanks for sharing Jill – always happy to hear about a growing nut butter collection. πŸ™‚

  136. August 14, 2010 8:09 am

    Sarah, No, but I’ve seen several of the Meijer stores. Might have to make a trip to one soon as the pickings in Fife Lake are quite slim!

    Don’t ever be too hard on yourself. If your body is telling you to eat meat, then do it! The veggie lifestyle isn’t for everyone, and kudos to you for taking matters into your own hands and listening to your body. Keep it up! πŸ™‚

  137. August 14, 2010 8:11 am

    Thanks so much Zoe, and so happy to hear that yoga has helped you so much. I feel the same way about my own practice. πŸ™‚

  138. August 14, 2010 8:11 am

    Thanks Fartygirl. πŸ™‚

  139. August 14, 2010 8:19 am

    Larissa, I’ve very stubborn and have a total Type A personality, and after being overweight my whole life, when I started dropping the pounds, I was more determined than ever not to gain an ounce of it back. So, I started saying “no” to all sweets, and it just got easier and easier over time. I can be pretty tough on myself, and after a while, I didn’t even think about sugar anymore. Plus, I did use splenda back then, and so if I wanted something sweet, I just used artificial sweeteners…there was also diet soda involved. I try and stay away from that stuff now and just have some real sugar when I get a craving.

    You might find these two posts interesting as they get into my relationship with sugar in more detail:

  140. August 14, 2010 8:27 am

    Great post! I think people don’t acknowledge often enough that we are all different and that there isn’t one diet that fits all. In fact, everyone selling a diet will tell you there is…

    It’s funny, I have tried all the ways of eating you listed above myself and none of them worked for me either. Like you, I often come across a diet that “makes sense” and I really want to try it.

    I have also found that my body has been changing over the years. After I had my second baby in my late 30s, it reacted to and handled food very differently than it had after my first pregnancy fifteen years earlier. I guess the trial and error is never over, and it’s important to stay flexible – something I still have to remind myself of frequently! πŸ™‚ Also, it’s just as easy to get caught up in what others are doing in terms of exercise. I’ve experimented over the last few months and am going back to what I know works for me…

    Happy Saturday! πŸ™‚

  141. August 14, 2010 8:40 am

    Sam, You sound so happy, and it makes me happy to hear that your stomach bloat is gone. Great news! πŸ™‚

  142. August 14, 2010 8:40 am

    Jennifer, Glad you found me – thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

  143. August 14, 2010 9:14 am

    Thanks Heather! I read your post about Joseph’s Middle Eastern Bakery products (which i love). You can order them on with a flat shipping rate of 4.95. Or i stock up when i find them and freeze like ten packages with wax paper between each pita.

  144. August 14, 2010 9:15 am

    Sarah, Thanks so much for the tip – those pitas were good!

  145. August 14, 2010 9:23 am

    Pure2Raw, I love HIIT workouts – so quick and efficient…and with a little yoga mixed in? Even better!

  146. August 14, 2010 9:24 am

    Thanks Marie, I hope I do too – blogging is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Thanks for the support. πŸ™‚

  147. August 14, 2010 9:27 am

    Robyn, Check out the dessert section of my recipe page. I definitely still have a sweet tooth, but I just try and cut down on refined sugar while still enjoying my desserts: Plus, I have to admit that my idea of dessert has changed over the years. Dessert used to mean a big hot fudge sundae, cake with ice-cream, etc., but now I’m just as content with an oven baked sweet potato or a bowl of oatmeal with dark chocolate and nut butter. PS – I’ve been there with the cookie dough. πŸ™‚

  148. August 14, 2010 10:41 am

    This was a wonderful post. I am totally with you, and I think you eat really intuitively!! And your meals gave me some new inspiration πŸ™‚

  149. Leah permalink
    August 14, 2010 1:16 pm

    Another great post & your timing for me is perfect – I needed this post! Ive been trying different weight loss strategies lately & I keep coming back to your blog for inspiration! After spending 3 months on a calorie restricted diet & actually losing 25 pounds, I think I lost the weight because I kicked a soda – the calorie counting just helped me lose it faster! Anyway, I became really bored with my food choices & counting calories became tedious, so I took a look at other eating plans… My 1st choice: low carb /primal eating – the science makes sense to me -but I can not stick to this plan for more than a few days. After day one, I feel moody & my brain is foggy!

    I need advice on how you I gave up sugar? – Im not sure I can live without chocolate? Seriously I am addicted to it! I eat the dark chocolate (60%-73%) but I could eat a whole large chocolate bar in one day! If its in my house its gone quickly – I even like the bakers chocolate πŸ™‚
    I need intervention! Thanks for the awesome post!

  150. August 14, 2010 2:04 pm

    Great post. Thanks, Heather!

  151. August 14, 2010 7:05 pm

    Oh yes, the trial and error! So fun to read a summary on all of your trials! Obviously, dairy-free is a must for my body, but beyond that, I have been trialing around. Honestly, I think I have a body that behaves very similarly to yours. My biggest problem: giving up sugar. It taunts me … seriously, it knows my name! But, I feel good and fulfilled with higher fat, decent protein in the form of meat and fish (vegan diet did not treat me well either unfortunately), tons of vegetables, and some grains thrown in for sanity. I have to admit though, lately grains like oats seem to be weighing heavy. I’m having trouble lately too as our CSA is bombarding us with ungodly amounts of fruit. We are freezing and eating as fast as we can, but I can tell my body doesn’t like this much fruit.

  152. August 14, 2010 7:30 pm

    Leah, Regarding the sugar, I’m very stubborn and have a total Type A personality, and after being overweight my whole life, when I started dropping the pounds, I was more determined than ever not to gain an ounce of it back. So, I started saying “no” to all sweets, and it just got easier and easier over time. I can be pretty tough on myself, and after a while, I didn’t even think about sugar anymore. Plus, I did use splenda back then, and so if I wanted something sweet, I just used artificial sweeteners…there was also diet soda involved. I try and stay away from that stuff now and just have some real sugar when I get a craving.

    You might find these two posts interesting as they get into my relationship with sugar in more detail:

    Hope this helps Leah! PS – Have you ever tried the Baker’s *unsweetened* chocolate? I LOVE it and zero sugar! Took a while to get used to it. Starting eating it by dipping it in almond butter, but I love it all on its own. I crave those little squares! πŸ™‚

  153. ratzx31 permalink
    August 15, 2010 2:24 am

    Hi Heather, just one question, how long does it take you to realise one particular diet didn’t work for you, like over a week or a month? still trying to find my way. thanks. (:

  154. August 15, 2010 5:41 am

    As a registered dietician I have to tell you that no diet works. It is not your fault, they don’t work for anyone of my 1000 clients.

    It is ridiculous to expect from a person who likes food, to eat only raw or only protein or whatever these diet gurus think about. The best way to eat is to find your balance, I mean in your soul and then try to find what makes you feel healthy, energetic and happy.

    I have never been on a diet in my life, because even if I try it for a week, I loose a LOT of weight. Once, when I was in college, I tried the food combining diet and I lost something like 20 pounds in two weeks. My mom thought I started to take drugs and wanted to send me to a psychologist, haha.

  155. August 15, 2010 5:43 pm

    This was an awesome post. I’m still trying to figure out what works for me. Mostly, I don’t pay enough attention to really *know*. I mean, I maintained a weight of 132 for a couple of years no problem, but can’t lose these 5 lbs I gained recently. Why?

    I will have to start experimenting. Too much fat? Too much meat? Too much bread? Hmm…I was running a lot last year, but had to cut back due to injury. But I don’t think that’s it either.

  156. August 15, 2010 5:46 pm

    Ratzx31, Well, looking back over the various diets I mentioned, they all usually lasted about 2 months before I realized they were not working. Hope that helps!

  157. August 15, 2010 5:47 pm

    Efi, So very true – it’s all about finding balance for yourself!

  158. August 15, 2010 6:14 pm

    Marcia, Hmm, not sure, but I bet you’ll figure it out. Just experiment and listen…you’ll get your answers. πŸ™‚

  159. August 16, 2010 1:51 pm

    Yes! Yes! Yes, eat the whole egg! Our bodies need good fats, just as they need good proteins and good carbs. Thanks for sharing Heather!

  160. August 16, 2010 3:45 pm

    Barelabeezy, You’re welcome. Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

  161. August 16, 2010 6:42 pm

    Thanks Heather for this post. You’ve sum up everything I believe about diets, everyone is different and everyone has their own journey when it comes to nutrition and fitness. Thanks for sharing yours.

  162. August 16, 2010 7:25 pm

    I have also tried every diet out there. I currently eat clean, but I don’t omit fats, just change the types of fats that I eat. I never lost any weight on it, I actually gained. I’m more about eliminating preservatives. I try to listen to my body, I know i can lose on 1200 calories or less/day, but I gain it back, so why bother? I did 1200 calories a couple of weeks ago for 2 weeks and my weight didn’t change. I’m still in the trial and error stage! But it can be so frustrating.

  163. August 16, 2010 7:28 pm

    Heather, I know I’ve emailed you about this before. I just love how you write and encourage us to find what works for us. I couldn’t agree with you more! You should know that you’ve had a tremendous impact on my life! Thank you for doing what you do πŸ˜€

  164. keephangingon permalink
    August 16, 2010 7:40 pm

    Amazing post. Very wise philosophy. I’m so glad you finally found what works for you. I’ve a friend who’s on the high-protein-no-carb diet now, and even though she looks like a skeleton, and her hair is all dry, she believes she’s eating healthy… I’m just waiting for her to realise she has made a mistake, because she doesn’t listen to any of us… I was high raw vegan a few months back, and got the bloatedness too!! It was horrid!! Really have no idea why. These days I only am 50% raw. I agree there is no ideal diet to follow. I used to think RAW IS LAW and also followed food combining rules (e.g no fruit with nuts/grains/etc), but you, and many other food bloggers seem to be perfectly fine mixing them together, and eating meat, and other stuff. Love your philosophy and style of writing! πŸ™‚

  165. August 17, 2010 8:34 am

    Healthy Coconut, You’re welcome. πŸ™‚

  166. August 17, 2010 8:35 am

    Thanks Keephangingon, Glad you’re listening to your body and just keeping loving your friend. Hopefully, she’ll come around soon. πŸ™‚

  167. August 17, 2010 8:36 am

    Kayla, Thanks for your kind and supportive comment. Keeps me motivated to keep writing! πŸ™‚


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