Even the word diet can invoke a sense of dread in some. When I hear this word I am always curious as to how the speaker means to use it. I use this word, diet, to mean the food that you put into your mouth on a daily basis, that is all.


On the far side of all of the research and anecdote regarding diets are three simple principles that fit the IF model:

1) Eat a variety of whole/minimally processed, mostly plant-based foods.

2)Eat what makes you feel good (the valence of feeling over a week or two’s time, not just what stimulates temporary satisfaction).

3)DO NOT judge yourself, others, the food or your feelings regarding your diet. While this may seem simple, it takes a lot of practice and is essentially the same principle of non-judgement/acceptance that runs through every other circle of the IF System.


Here are two recent articles that have great advice and are research-driven.

Fat Shaming

As anyone who has started the Affect Education limb of the IF System or has read anything about Donald Nathanson’s brilliant discovery of the Compass of Shame, the avoidance pole of the compass is a strong and oft-used defensive strategy to combat the gut -wrenching feeling of shame. It’s no wonder that pushing  more shame onto people who use this pole to not feel shame would lead them to use this pole of the compass more!

Article on Fat Shaming


It’s in our Jeans

As we now know, those who push us to eat healthier with shame are using a bad strategy. Another important factor to consider is your DNA. Can our genes have an influence on how we eat? This study may hold some answers and Precision Nutrition presents us with a great article and a couple of great strategies to counteract the tendencies influenced by our inheritance.

They write:


“More amylase means more digestion of carbohydrates in the mouth; more digestion in the mouth means foods may taste sweeter and feel richer. As a result, people with more amylase might feel satisfied eating less.

Perhaps this also helps explain why eating slowly generally promotes weight loss (or maintenance). The more slowly we eat, the more we digest in the mouth. This in turn might lead to feeling “satisfied” with less food.”


and, what can we do?

  1. Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly. It may sound simple. (And this strategy is far too often overlooked). But by eating slowly, you give whatever amylase you do have more time to break down the carbohydrates you just eat.  This puts you in the same position as someone with more amylase who eats faster. Ha ha! Now the game changes, Mr. Bond!
  2. Use probiotics. Studies on mice suggest that lower amylase (and associated obesity) might be related to negative changes in gut microbiota. Probiotics can’t hurt, and might help, so even if you’re not a mouse, they’re worth a try.
  3. Keep eating healthy carbs. This means high-fiber, nutrient-rich foods like beans and legumes, minimally processed whole grains, and colorful fruits and vegetables. People with lower amylase may benefit from eating slightly fewer carbs than people with high amylase, but going super low carb probably isn’t the answer.


Every day we can mindfully work on the three aspects of Diet in the IF System: Variety, Intrinsic (gut feeling) Motivation, and Non-Judgement (Acceptance). These two articles give us some back-up and some practical strategies to help us continue our work!



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