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In future months I will post pages relating to questions and topics such as:

What's weight got to do with it?

Why does the body store fat?

What's the best kind of exercise?

Is overeating really a problem?

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I hope you'll check back to get a taste and see what BODYFUELING has to offer!

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Table of Contents

Go to the newest EXCERPT:

Eating is not a "Program"!

A Quick Guide to DIET THINKING

Investing in your Body

Fueling your Future: A Breakthrough in "Motivation"

Healthy Eating Outcomes: Stop Digging up the Garden

 Important: The information in this book and on this website is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need medical attention, please seek the advice of your own health practitioner. You should have a health professional check your condition before making any changes in an existing treatment program.


Table of Contents


INTRODUCTION: Lies and Thruths--Your World Turned Upside Down

1. Inspiration--A Breakthrough in Motivation
2. Insight--Diet Thinking Doesn't Work
3. Information--What Does Work and Why
4. Integration--A How-To Structure That Makes it Easy

PART 1: Fueling Your Future: A Breakthrough in Motivation

6. Think of Food as Fuel
7. A New way of Thinking about "Motivation"
8. Something New: It's Your Choice
9. Think First, Do Later
10. Suspending Judgment
11. If you have no reason to go, you don't need directions!
12. Not Just Any Reasons
13. "Should" is a Worthless Weapon
14. What are You Fueling
15. Be Willing to Explore
16. "Goals": The A to B Mentality
17. Goals Within Reason
18. What it's for versus what it's not: Forget what you don't want!
19. Working on your eating versus working on your life
20. Like it or not, you are your body
21. "It's only me"
22. Investing: Precious Gems
23. Judy: The Difference "What You're Fueling" Can Make
24. What Now?

PART 2: What's Weight Got To Do With It?

25. What is "Weight"
26. Drive More, use Less Gas?
27. Dangerous
28. Totally Counterproductive: The Big Irony
29. You've Lost Weight--But What Have You Gained?
30. Weight Can be Great
31. It's Not "Healthy Eating"!
32. It Doesn't Take Much
33. No Fast Fat Loss
34. The Magic Number--Who Cares? You Do.
35. What Tells the Story that Weight Doesn't?
36. Your Eyes are the Best Measurement Tool
37. The "Older Equals Fatter" Myth
38. Stopping the Downward Spiral
39. Maintenance
40. Control: The Booby Prize of Maintenance
41. "Weight" Regain is all Fat
42. Lose Now, Pay Later
43. A Sobering Example of Weight Treachery
44. Off the Charts!
45. De-Emphasizing Size

PART 3: Fueling the Human Body: Your Owner's Manual

46. Understanding your Fuel System
47. Three Different "Brands" of Fuel
48. Protein (Unleaded)
49. Carbohydrate (Supreme)
50. Eating Fat
51. Know Your Brands

PART 4: Exercise: Increasing the Fuel Demand

52. BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)
53. What Exercise Can't Do: The Myths
54. Myth: Exercise Cancels Fat (Or Food)
55. What Does Excercise Do?
56. What Kinds of Excercise Works Best?
57. Fueling and Sports

PART 5: Diet Thinking

58. Diet Thinking is the Culprit
59. Dissecting the Anatomy of Diet Thinking
60. A Short Course in Paradigm Thinking
61. Why Diets Really Don't Work: The Science Nobody Talks About
62. "Just Stay Fat": The Backlash Against Better Thinking
63. Poor Fueling is not a Joke

PART 6: Beyond Diet Thinking: Looking Back at "Diets"

64. Regarding Your "Diet Days" After Fueling
65. Particularly Bad Diets

PART 7: Overturning the Overeating Myth

66. Your Overeating Probably Isn't
67. Overeating Versus Overfatting
68. Eating Disorders and Diet Thinking: Which Came First?
69. Calories Don't Count--So Don't Count Them

PART 8: Diet Thinking in the Media

70. The Good Guys are Outnumbered
71. Advertising

PART 9: BODYFUELING Day to Day: Eating for Living

72. Fuel Profiles
73. Walk, Don't Run: My Recommended Easygoing Alternative
74. Listening to your Body
75. Fueling and Dietary Fat Reduction

PART 10: From the Shelf to your Table: A Practical Guide

76. Buying Food
77. Label Reading
78. Food Marketing
79. The So-called "High Cost" of Healthy Eating
80. Cooking
81. Eating Out

PART 11: Bodyfueling in Progress: Navigating the Path

82. Forget "Programs"
83. Social Commentaries
84. Making Sure it Happens
85. What About the Rest of the Family?
86. Results: Stop Digging up the Garden!
87. The Ultimate Triumph: More Fat, no Fear

PART 12: The "Fat Loss/Muscle Gain" Movement: Words of Warning

88. It Doesn't Adress Diet Thinking
89. It's not Entirely Accurate
90. A New Magic Pill Instead of a Total Education
91. Why are you doing it?

PART 13: Surrendering the Suffering: Why the Hardest Part May Be That It's Easy

92. "What do you Mean, Do I want to Handle it?"
93. "It's Part of Me"
94. If you say you want to and your not: Look Again
95. Acknowledge Yourself
96. Things that are good for you Shouldn't Hurt

PART 14: Getting your Priorities Straight: Channeling your Concerns Constructively

97. First Things First
98. Unjustifiable Complacency
99. Vitamins, Minerals, and other Microconcerns
100. For Starters, Healthy Eating Means Eating
101. What Kills (And Doesn't): Groundless Outrage
102. Why is Fat Exempt
103. Risk-Reduction Retrograde: Data in Disarray
104. And there's More...
105. Why Don't I Feel Good? Look at Your Plate
106. Magic Pill Mania
107. Magic From Abroad: The French Study
108. Hormones
109. The Heredity Crutch
110. "It's Out of my Hands... Isn't it?
111. High Hopes for Staying Healthy, Low Standards for Health
112. A Note on the Fat/Cancer Link
113. How does Fat Cause Cancer?

PART 15: Education: The Ultimate Answer

114. Be More Upbeat
115. Be Clear and Specific
116. Acknowledge and Encourage
117. Recognize that "Some" is Better than "None"!
118. Less "Shoulds," More Choice: When the Right Information is in the Wrong Context
119. Treat People Like Adults!
120. Know That People Don't Know!
121. Starting Young
122. Priorities in Education
123. Celebrities' Healthy Eating Works (Chew)
124. Educators as Examples
125. Make it Massive! Education as Business
126. How you see your Internal Environment Impacts your External Environment
127. The Educated Patient



For the rest of the book, order Herbal Defense or visit your local bookstore!

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 Important: The information in this book and on this website is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need medical attention, please seek the advice of your own health practitioner. You should have a health professional check your condition before making any changes in an existing treatment program.

Eating is not a "Program"!

I very purposely do not call BodyFueling a program. The purpose of BodyFueling is to provide vital education and to instill a sense of choice and responsibility--the opportunity to make informed, inspired decisions moment to moment, forever. I am more interested in you living your life than in you "doing my program" or "sticking to my plan." That approach is doomed to fail regardless of the content.

I have yet to see anything else that adequately addresses this insistence upon assigning a special (temporary) status to something as basic as eating. Even as the concept "eat more" or "eat healthy" begins to climb out of the pit of diet thinking, it is forever being presented as a "program," "plan," or "diet."

"Programs" are one of the telltale markers of diet thinking (see SIDEBAR? OPTIONAL). The getting-into-action stage of eating differently is where folks seem most vulnerable to Programitis-that is, the tendency to automatically lunge for a highly-structured Thing to Begin Monday that has an End. You "go on" a program that will stop when you return to "normal" eating-which implies that whatever you do on your "program" isn't normal. It rarely occurs to you to simply begin eating differently, and have that become what's "normal" for you.

Fueling is just that: eating differently, knowledgeably and efficiently-but when all is said and done, it's eating. You completely forego a life held together by a string of short-term "plans" and "programs."  If you intend to fuel your body and think you're "starting the BodyFueling program," you're not only mistaken; you've missed the point. Once you truly know your body's needs, ask yourself why you can't simply begin eating in keeping with those needs. Ask yourself why eating can't simply be eating-instead of a compartmentalized plan with a beginning and an end.

You can be doing things that add up to fueling, yet it can still feel like a diet or plan. It depends on how you're approaching it: what you're doing it for and why, and whether you're in diet thinking.

For example, I talked with a group of four clients who had previously been on a "diet" that espoused many of the technical aspects of fueling: plentiful food, eating frequently, moderate balance of carbs proteins and fat. But to all of them, it always was a "program."

What made it that, I wanted to know. Why wasn't it just "the way they ate?"

"It got boring," one said. Why were they doing it? "To lose weight, of course." Aha. Anything else? "What else is there?" another revealed.

They didn't learn why the diet's recommended way of eating worked. They never thought of that way of eating as "fueling" or even "caring for, nurturing, investing in" their bodies. They never connected that investment to the full length of their lives and their profound desire to live actively and productively. There was no partnership, ownership, or sense of responsibility.  They were just "on the plan." And not long after, not surprisingly, they were "off the plan."

"I've been trying to follow it," some of my own clients will say of BodyFueling®. Don't! I reply. Just eat!  Where are you if you're following something? You're in the middle of diet thinking. Eating, fueling, sustenance is not about "following" anything. It's a basic necessity!  Do you follow a "sleeping program?"

You can "go off" a program; but you can't "go off" part of your life. And eating is a part of your life. You don't "go off" sleeping or breathing, do you? Eating is no different-- "programs" make it different.

Programs create an especially striking imbalance between "off" and "on" by compelling you to eat with particular thoughtlessness at either end-before it begins or after it's over. "Diets make you eat worse in general," observed one workshop participant. "Mentally, you have 'The Last Supper'.

You wind up eating more trash than if you had just been going along eating day to day, without the threat of having to start some program."

Fueling is a journey, and there is no ultimate destination. On a path, you are not seeking the end; you expect to be always moving.  George Leonard, in his book Mastery, says, "The journey of mastery is ultimately goalless; you take the journey for the sake of the journey itself." This is the inherent opposite of a weight-loss diet, which is all about waiting for, and hurrying to, The Result.

Also, to suggest that there is one single place to "get to" suggests there is a limit on to how fit and healthy you can be-that after a certain point, you simply cannot reach any farther. There is no evidence of such a limit; it exists only in your own mind. When you have a "destination" you want to reach, you have created an end to the road. What made you think you had to stop there?

I see constantly how Americans have relinquished their power to perceived rules. They expect their eating to be regulated-by someone other than them. People will ask, "Is XYZ 'allowed?'"  Anything is "allowed." It's up to you!

The question is not "Can I keep eating XYZ" but "Can I keep eating XYZ and still get what I want? And how much do I want what I want?"  When you're simply eating, or fueling, there's no such thing as "Can I have this? "Is it allowed?"  Of course it is. You can eat Blinkies all day and night if you like. You just probably won't be as fit and healthy as you would if you fueled more productively. It's your choice.

After fueling her body happily for six months and losing several dress sizes, Ann went on vacation to Hawaii for two weeks and gave herself total permission to eat whatever she wanted.  (This is part of fueling your body, not the antithesis.)  This is what she observed:

"I fully expected my clothes to get tight by the end of two weeks-and I was prepared for that; it wasn't going to be a problem. I know that the way I eat now will always be to fuel my body, and I would do that as soon as I returned.

"But the amazing thing is, nothing happened. I indulged myself fully every day, and at the end of the trip my latest new clothes, which were already getting loose again before the trip, were looser still.  So I got a whole new take on fueling. My body isn't just responding directly to good fuel. Its handling of food-all food-has altered dramatically.  It's now more efficient at processing whether I'm fueling optimally or not.

"And it's a miracle to have approached this whole trip the way I did. I've never before been able to look at eating as simply the choices I make each day. It would have been 'off the diet for the trip' and 'on the diet after the trip'. The way I look at it now is as new and important as the way I eat."


Since lives aren't perfect, then eating--if it is a seamless part of your life--is not meant to be perfect either. If you're not focused on "staying on" or "sticking to" something, then an occasion in which you don't fuel (i.e., you miss a snack or meal, eat a very high-fat food, or don't eat enough) is hardly an occasion to flagellate yourself.

It's not being perfect that will do it. It's being relatively consistent. Rarely is a path perfectly straight, unwavering in a single direction. It moves all over the place. "We fail to realize that mastery is not about perfection. It's about a process, a journey...the master is the one who is willing to try and fail and try again," says George Leonard in Mastery.

The benefit of being extremely stringent and hating it, as opposed to being moderate and enjoying yourself, will be marginal to nonexistent. There's a definite law of diminishing returns-it's not healthy to be pinched and miserable, nor to drive yourself crazy trying to find the perfect food with just the right number of grams of fat. The healthiest thing to do is what you'll do, not the ideal that you won't ever achieve.

You can fuel at any moment. No one can ever take that away from you. And every moment is new. Every day is new. Not fueling doesn't mean anything. It just means you didn't fuel right then.

Once you're informed, it's all a matter of choice. What's most important to you?

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Why Try Herbs ~ Workshops ~ Questions & Answers ~ Send a Question ~ Read another excerpt ~ Top of page

 Important: The information in this book and on this website is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need medical attention, please seek the advice of your own health practitioner. You should have a health professional check your condition before making any changes in an existing treatment program.

A Quick Guide to DIET THINKING


-Progress is measured by a number that cannot tell you a thing about
health, fitness, or fatness.


-There are "just regular people" and then there are "dieters." A dieter
doesn't eat ; he/she "diets."
-One is not a successful person who eats to be healthy, but a "successful


-It never occurs to you to just start eating for your life and keep on going.
-Instead, you stop eating and "start a diet," a detour or hiatus from
"regular eating" and real life.
-Even unstructured "healthy eating" is considered "different" and "special"
- an eating "plan."


-It's a short-term attempt to "put out a fire"--to alter the body so you
can return to living.
-Diets aren't meant to be lived on, just survived for the time it takes to
get the short-term result.


-It's assumed that what's good for the body will naturally be what you
don't want.
-"Healthy eating" is assumed to mean limiting, reducing, giving up.
-The focus is on what you are not, getting rid of or avoiding something.
-The mood is resignation.
-You're trying to fix something, not live and eat.


-The thing you're trying to "fix" is usually your body; it's about your
body, not your life. -You don't see your body as an extension of
you--something to cherish, work with, and care for.
-Endeavors are all about manipulating its size or "weight" by whatever
means you're told will do it.


-There's no sense of priorities: Endless fretting about specific vitamins
and minerals, caffeine, or preservatives dwarfs concern for basic issues
such as eating enough or often enough, or fat intake.


-There's little if any ownership, choice, sense of responsiibility, or


-"Control" implies rigidity, unnatural restraint, repression.
-You consent to constant combat with calories, food, weight, hunger, your body.
-It's questionable who's controlling what.


-When diet thinking is operative, you're sure to see (or hear or use) words
such as have to, ought to, don't, shouldn't, fight, control, avoid,
willpower, maintain, limit, portion, allowed, stick to, stay on, follow,
regimen, resolve, relapse, cheat, discipline, strict, be "good," program, plan, rigorous, lifestyle, trim, thin, skinny.
-The language is constructed in black-and-white, extreme absolutes: "can and can't," "good and bad,"  "yes and no," "on and off."


-Your body's source of fuel, energy--what you need to live--is mistaken for
an adversary.


-Theories and recommendations are premised on assumptions, not the body's science.
-Sources are "well, everybody knows that," or "a friend read that a scientist thinks..."


-It's all "how-to."
- no big picture, no context, no sense of why something works or how YOU work.


-Eating "right" assumes there is a "wrong."
-Technical efficiency gets confused with moral correctness.


-The body's precise needs are not the concern of a diet; weight loss is.
-To lose weight, the body's needs take a back seat.

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Why Try Herbs ~ Workshops ~ Questions & Answers ~ Send a Question ~ Read another excerpt ~ Top of page


 Important: The information in this book and on this website is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need medical attention, please seek the advice of your own health practitioner. You should have a health professional check your condition before making any changes in an existing treatment program.

Investing in your Body

Americans seem to treat and think about the body as a thing; as if it's separate from us and somehow should run by itself. We take it for granted. We don't appreciate it. No mystery, then, that you don't even know how it works or what it needs, or make it your business to find out.

But to try to make your body beautiful, you're willing to do unthinkable things to it. You'll gladly run it out of gas all the time. After all, it's not really yours! From the neck down, it's something else.To mistreat the body the way some do, you'd have to be divorced from the body; you'd have to work up a disregard or disrespect for it. Otherwise, it would be too painful to live with yourself and the damage and abuse you inflict.

If you deny ownership of the body, you can also deny the facts about how it works-no matter how well you know them. I'll never forget the university biology department adviser with a master's degree in biochemistry to whom I described my work as not new information but inspiring new education. She ruefully pulled a bag of corn chips from her desk and admitted "This is all I eat all day." Talk about knowledge not making the difference!

People who aren't happy with their bodies sometimes actively take the position that the body is only distantly related to their lives. "I'm not my body," they insist loftily. The mind and the spirit, they say, are far more important. I contend they take this position only because they're sure what they'll "have to" do to handle the body will be miserable; and/or they've failed at handling it so often they've given up. Thatís understandable, since there's no way to succeed at that game.

But it's just not true that you're not your body. You can say it all you want, but when you're lying in the hospital after a heart attack, how can you go continue the work or sport or whatever else you love, while your body stays behind and recuperates? There's no separating the two-in this life, at least. On this earth, your soul, mind, spirit (and anything else your beliefs say are part of you) all come in this package we call a body. That body is the machine that will support every activity you have planned for the rest of your life.

You decide how important those activities are to you. If you are to accomplish what you want to, your body is coming with you-in fact, it's propelling you there. It's not just an ornament; it's the whole vehicle. Decide what kind of condition you want it to be in, given where you're going. Then learning exactly what affects its condition will have a solid purpose.


Sometimes, the greatest roadblock to discovering an inspiring reason for eating well is the conviction that you aren't important enough to warrant excellent care.

In the April 1992 issue of Bazaar ,there was a news clip that noted that Olympian women need to eat a loaf of bread a day (among other things), an amount that the magazine suggested "most American women couldn't imagine." But I may eat nearly that much bread in a day. It's not hard for me to imagine at all-and I'm no Olympic athlete. But I do think of myself as being as important as one-to myself, to my work and to the people directly around me-and that's key. (I also know exactly what my body needs and what it does with bread, and that helps immensely, too.)

World class athletes obviously need to take great care of themselves and "fuel" appropriately.In fact, athletes are the one group of people who do talk about food as fuel for their activities. Why not you? Most people think they are ordinary souls who don't need to bother as much with good fueling as athletes do. True, the costs of not doing so are less immediately obvious-you're not going to lose a gold medal or fall on your face during a sprint. But what about your world class life? Life is an athletic endeavor. We are athletes in our lives and would do well to honor ourselves as such.

Think about your average day. You probably have a job or business; possibly a very demanding one. Maybe you have a lover or spouse, maybe kids, too. Social activities. Sports and exercise. Travel. Errands. Volunteer work. You think you don't need energy for those things? You think that those aren't Olympic trials? That getting through one of your action-packed days isn't an Olympic feat?

You are important enough! How many times do I hear "I don't have time to eat. I'm too busy taking care of..." Fill in the blank. My work. My office. My husband. My kids. My groups. My home. My car. My friends. My mother. More backwards thinking (or non-thinking). How do you expect to take care of all those people and things if you're not taken care of? How well can you really accomplish what you're out to accomplish, when the machine you live in needs fuel, and you're not providing it? When you maybe don't even know what that fuel is?

Every body needs fuel. Everyone who owns a body must fuel it the way it was meant to be fueled-if one's life demands high performance from it. And whose doesn't?


Many people concern themselves with retirement planning and act to ensure financial security in later years. Yet in our culture it is not yet habitual to plan carefully for a "savings account" of health and fitness-to eat as if "investing" in one's future body.

People who are consistently, permanently inspired to care for themselves have the conviction that the body is precious and worth their investment. You don't treat precious things badly; only things you don't think are valuable. If you are deeply in touch with how precious you are, you won't want to mistreat the package you come in, either. If you value yourself and the body you come in, fueling is then an obvious priority, an instinctive course of action.

As with financial investing, little can be done to suddenly turn a meager investment into instant fortune. Health and fitness-like savings accounts-are built consistently, not suddenly. And it's efficient eating, not money, that represents investment in your body. Money can't necessarily recover a deteriorated body. You can't buy health as easily as you can throw a greenback on your doctor's desk.

Even if you could, why spend money that way? Why abuse yourself in the hope that money will buy you out of the consequences later-when you can painlessly prevent costly ramifications and spend your money on something great instead?


Judy, a morbidly obese 35-year-old woman who has been dieting since she was six, called us a week after our workshop to tell us this story. Her husband had bought a box of jumbo, greasy muffins, which she normally would have eaten four of immediately. She said that she looked at the muffins for a long time, then said to herself, "You know-there's no fuel in that for me." So she had a bagel instead-happily.

Judy was standing up for her body like she never has before-because she is now conscious of her body's value and necessity in a way she has never been. No longer is it this separate "thing" she must drag around. It's her. And it's the only one she's ever going to get. For the first time in 29 years, she's not trying to "fix what's wrong"-just fuel all the great things she sees as being possible from now on.


I've introduced this inquiry. It's your job to keep it going. If you think you just want to skip to the how-tos without considering further...well, as I've emphasized, every choice is yours to make.

But I've been studying people and how they go about this for years. Iíve taken a close look at whatís missing-why so few feel satisfied in the endless, universal quest for fitness and a way of life that supports it. Iíve learned from my own experience and that of thousands of others: great directions are utterly useless without a journey planned. In the case of eating, that journey must be a lifelong one, visualized in detail, for your experience to shift. If you don't develop and keep developing a perspective that goes far beyond next month or even next year, you'll probably never escape diet thinking.

The reward is a way of seeing your body, yourself and your life-all connected-that lets you enjoy the possibilities, and relish how everything you do for yourself is contributing to those possibilities. Pair this with full knowledge of how your body ticks and how that applies to eating and exercise, and you've got power, choice, and freedom like never before.

Get the book now
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Bookstore ~ BodyFueling.com Home ~ About Herbal Defense ~ About The Authors ~ Praise ~ Links
Why Try Herbs ~ Workshops ~ Questions & Answers ~ Send a Question ~ Read another excerpt ~ Top of page

 Important: The information in this book and on this website is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need medical attention, please seek the advice of your own health practitioner. You should have a health professional check your condition before making any changes in an existing treatment program.

Fueling your Future: A Breakthrough
in "Motivation"


Food is the fuel that runs your body all the time. That's why, to start with, I call eating "fueling." When you think about food as fuel, it's hard to think of food as the enemy.

Thinking of the body as a machine with fuel requirements makes sense-it's a natural leap for us car-crazy Americans to make. It's a powerful way of looking at and thinking about food.

If food fuels the body's functions, then "eating healthy," for starters, must involve eating.  Obvious? You'd be amazed how many people overlook this. Look around you: people are resisting eating more than they are eating. And that's not just because they're dieting. Efforts at "healthier lifestyles" in general focus on cutting things out. Even when what's being limited is appropriate-such as dietary fat-people tend to cut total food volume along with it, which is unnecessary.

When you're looking at food choices from the nearsighted perspective of "weight loss/diet," your concerns are very narrow. Choices are based on "is this on my 'diet?'"  "Will it help me lose weight?"

When you see food as fuel for your body, your questions become more thoughtful, intelligent and direct: "Will this fuel my body? Is it good fuel?"

What you need next, even before you know how to fuel, is why to fuel-a powerful, compelling purpose to fuel optimally. Not because what works is hard; I bet that you'll find that what is biologically most efficient for the human body is easier, more convenient, more fun, more food, better-tasting and less expensive than you think it'll be--or than what you do now.  But change--for the better or not--is still change; and as you've probably noticed, it doesn't "just happen."

Fueling your body really starts with looking at your life, your future, your commitments, and desires-something that initially has nothing to do with nutrition. But it's not off the subject. It's all connected. If whatever you embark upon fitness-wise doesn't have to do with your life, what does it have to do with? And why bother?

That's a very good question.


When people talk about motivation--either giving it or getting it--it's in a very different way than I've come to think of it. You typically think of motivation (especially related to eating and fitness) as something someone does to you from the outside.

The problem is, there's no power in this concept of motivation. You are depending on someone else to give you the impetus to do something. It's short-lived, if it works at all. You need to find and generate the impetus--in a new and positive way.


"Personal responsibility" has become a buzzword that, like motivation, has nearly lost its meaning. Too often it's folded into the same old tired "nag approach," as in "You really should be responsible for your body."

That's not my idea of personal responsibility. My definition doesn't say you "should" be responsible, but rather acknowledges that you are responsible-whether or not you accept that, and use the freedom that accompanies it. Whether you're willing to exercise your choice or not, you do have a choice.  Once informed about how your body works and what works best with it, what you do with that information will be up to you.

To insist that you have to is to insist you have no power; to remain at the affect of someone and something else. I could hold a gun to your head and say "eat this way" and you probably would, but what would that accomplish? That might change your eating, but not in the way I'm talking about. If I did that, I'd be responsible for changing your eating. What works is for you to be.

Just allowing that you truly do have a choice either way may prove more of a challenge than you think. "Of course I have to eat better!" you may say. "My doctor said I'll get sick if I don't!  My wife will leave me! I'll never be successful if I'm fat! It's wrong to eat poorly!"

Is it really? Just answer this: where has it gotten you so far to have to?

There's a subtle but very powerful difference between "I have to do this" and "This is what it will take to get the results I want."  Only the latter tells the whole truth. You don't really have to. You only have to if you want particular results. But you don't have to want those results.

Once you've established that you do have a choice, it's most effective simply to explore what might sway your choices towards those that will best serve you. Thus, food choices become "I don't want that, because I don't like what it will do to my body"  instead of "I can't have that."

Cindy, a workshop participant who described herself as having "enough books about diet and weight to start a bookstore" saw this after BodyFueling®: "Now, if I want a cream puff I can have it. But now I also know what I'm doing to myself when I do. I'm always aware that everything I put in my body is an investment-for better or for worse. It really works to look at it that way. I'm much more aware of what I'm building. I honestly don't want to drug myself with fat and sugar anymore-I see too much to live for and have energy for."

If you don't have to, then why would you? Why might you choose fueling?


I want you to have a perspective in which to receive the information, so it's a positive experience of choice-not a new bunch of rules to follow. I refuse to simply throw information at you; there's plenty of that going on.

I agree that knowing how or what to do is definitely important. But haven't you noticed you've known things to do before, or how to do them, or why you "should"-and not? The key is to cross the gap between knowing and doing.

This is likely to be a departure from approaches to which you're accustomed, where you just get handed the diet rules, shoulds, and recommendations. Typically, that's all you're trained to look for. This a nation that worships "Just do it."  The only problem is, you don't. It's a nice tidy idea, but it doesn't work-Americans' headline-making lack of success with fitness is proof.

It's not surprising that I've run into an extraordinary amount of resistance to starting with the subject of your future. As Americans, we're listening for the how-to, what-to-do. We worship content, when context is of equal or greater importance.  We worry endlessly about doing it or not, or doing it right, but we never take a step back first and ask why.  And we end up wondering why we don't do it.

"Just tell me what to do," people insist, as if that will ensure they'll do it. "Let's get on with it," they say. Well, this is it-as big a part of it as any. It looks different because it is different. If you want "the same," buy a diet book.

If this question makes you uncomfortable, know that you're not alone. Also know that it's not an accident. Be curious about why this makes you so antsy or angry or sleepy. Do you see your future and your life as unrelated to eating?

BodyFueling is less something to do than it is something to know-it's a profound change in perspective that will form the basis for your commitment. Don't rush headlong into doing it-or, as is more common, "trying to do it." Suspend your thirst for content-at least temporarily. Trying to change your eating when you're wallowing in the midst of diet thinking is like changing your clothes to a white outfit when you're still in the middle of a mud puddle. It just makes more of a mess.


How come merely telling you what to do is so futile? Because it gives you no ownership in the data; content by itself doesn't demand your engagement. It's not personal; you don't connect with it.  Information alone doesn't guarantee a response. The assumption that it ought to is a major and fatal premise of traditional diet-thinking education. I see lots of information thrown at you every day, and then I see the throwers whining "They just don't do it!"

In fact, if being simply told what to do elicits any kind of response from a human being at all, it's defiance and opposition.

If knowing doesn't ensure doing, what does? Purpose.

I'll demonstrate with a question: Are you going to Ohio tomorrow? If you answered "No," then you probably have no reason to go there, do you? If I gave you really great directions to Ohio, then would you go to Ohio tomorrow? Highly doubtful-because you still have no purpose in being there. Directions by themselves don't get you on the road. If you have no interest in going, even the best directions won't get you there! If you're not going, you don't need directions at all.

On the other hand, if the fiery love of your life and a job of your dreams at a salary of two million a year was in Ohio, you might be interested in going. And if you were absolutely planning to go, then you'd need to know how to get there. Then you'd want the best directions you could find.

Some people think the entire eating problem is bad directions. I definitely agree that's certainly part of it. But not having much of a purpose for using the directions is just as problematic. In this book are the best directions available for getting to fitness, health, energy and leanness. But if you have little or no interest in getting where fueling will get you to, you don't need those how-tos. What's the hurry to dash for a road map if you aren't serious about the journey?

So begin asking yourself about this journey. What interests you about what fueling has to offer? What could you use more vitality and more years for? What will you spend it on?


It's not enough to have any plans or want some results. Chances are you already do. Chances are also that if they haven't inspired you to do much by now-if you have not made changes you think you "should"-those reasons have probably been insufficient; not compelling.

What you think and say about something affects your experience and thus your actions. If you saw having a child as merely being pregnant-nothing more-you'd have a different experience of pregnancy than if saw yourself as creating a product of love between you and a partner; a new friend to share life with; an expansion of family; a potential contribution to the earth. Hear the difference? You'd not only experience pregnancy differently; you'd probably also treat yourself and the pregnancy differently.

Here's another example. The person who is laying brick day after day for a wall, who is simply told that his job is to build a wall, will have a different experience than one who is told his job is to build the world's first center for educating physically handicapped children of exceptional intelligence. The latter will probably also build the wall differently, pay a different level of attention to it, than the former. One can see beyond the mere wall to what he is really building and what its purpose is. The other can only see a wall for the sake of a wall.

Are you getting the picture? Now, compare this to the way you have looked at and spoken about your reasons for seeking an eating-related change. Has it sounded something like "I have to change my diet," "I need to lose weight" or "I've got to stick to this program" or "I look awful; I can't wait to lose 10 pounds"?

Compare those to "I eat to nurture my body so it is the natural representation of a person who is active in the community." Or:  "I eat to keep my body lean and strong so I can be the most outrageous mom of three...and grandmom...and great-grandmom...in this city/state/country (how adventurous are you?).  Or "I eat to keep my body fueled for high performance on the job, since my work is about xyz, and it's very important to me." "I eat to invest in the future of my real job-being a fun dad."

Does eating sound different now? What would you rather have your eating express? Is it more compelling now to find out what actually would fuel the body for optimum performance-and to actually DO it, once you find out what it is?


If you're fueling a future, the most crucial question is: WHAT future? Your answer makes the difference between working on your eating...and investing in your life-two truly different experiences.

If you don't have to, then why would you? Why might you choose fueling?

What do you want your body be able to do? What beloved aspect of your life demands a fit, healthy, resilient body? What do you want to do and be that requires energy? NOW....What if you ate for that? Fueled that?

Don't be modest. Something or someone out there benefits from you having optimum performance-and you benefit too. It may be your work, your children, your hobbies, your community. Whatever they are, they motivate you far more than "I should" or "I look terrible" ever will.

What are you for? Do you deliver babies? Father great children? Run triathlons? Teach our future generations? Write things that make a difference? Manage other human beings? Are you for your grandchildren? Your company? Your love? Your retirement travel plans? Eat for that.

Be specific. Once you get started, it gets easier. I love hearing them. One BodyFueling workshop participant envisioned herself like Kate Hepburn with a huge home and great gardens-which she'll have the energy to tend herself, well past her 90s. Tom wants to be "100, horny, and running triathlons." Peter wants to sail around the world and "not be a burden to my children, but rather a continuing contributor to their lives." Pam wants to be a 90-year-old racquetball competitor. Linda wants to teach her great-grandchildren to ski, just as she did her kids. Wayne wants to be an energetic manager-and when he gets home at night, an even more energetic Dad to his one-year-old.  Laura works in recycling and plans to have an impact on the way we treat the environment. Al wants to live in Portugal, where medical care is limited, demanding that he stay healthy. Carolyn, whose 30-year-old lover is 20 years her junior, wants to keep up with him-in every way.

If there is a way to eat that will better their odds for achieving these things, they will eat that way-happily, enthusiastically. Eating becomes an opportunity for obtaining or achieving something great-not a means for "fixing" a "problem." They choose food that they know will fuel their dreams.


If you're like many people, you have been so busy railing against what you don't want, you haven't even bothered to consider what you do want. You haven't identified something that excites you, inspires you to feed your body; to treat yourself with honor rather than to exact punishment on your body.

It can be hard to look that far ahead. People rarely come to this question prepared to discuss the next 75 years or their purpose on the earth. Not coincidentally, most people also don't have a way of eating that works, and don't see it as a natural, lifelong proposition. There is a connection between your vision of the  future not extending very far, and your successful eating not lasting very long.

One highly successful stockbroker at a corporate workshop bravely admitted-among her peers-that she really had no idea what was in her future, what she wanted or pictured. She never thought past the current year. Not only was that disturbing by itself, but she had never connected that short-sightedness with her struggle against "weight." She was trying to make herself a "thin" person by chanting "I am a thin person," whenever faced with food. Resistance of food, resistance of who she really thinks she is (why would she have to chant "I am thin" if she really believed she was?) The scariest part to me: she was thin-for what little that word is worth-and on a commercial weight loss plan.

Her whole focus was on thinness and how her body looked right now. Nothing about health; no sense of her body being a precious vehicle intended to carry her to her precious future. There was no precious future.  She hadn't created one. So what else could she focus on ?


Approaching fitness as a short-term goal or a one-time fix has several flaws. Chief among them is that whatever changes are made in order to get to point B are dropped once point B is reached. Goals end-and your goal-related actions end with them. You make it, and you have no reason to keep going.  Americans are dieting en masse to lose "weight" so they can fit into their swimsuit or wear that dress to Aunt Mabel's wedding. Then summer's over, the wedding's over, the reunion is past. Whatever you did up till that day, that week, or  that season, you no longer have any reason to do.

This is related to another flawed assumption-the notion that fitness and health are somehow achievable by doing a certain thing for a short time and then have "gotten there."  It holds out hope that there is someplace one gets to, some mecca, where one never has to think about one's actions again.

This is what diets have meant to people for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up, the idea-among kids, teens and adults-was to go on a diet, lose the "weight", and that was that. We  believed you could diet, then fall back into whatever groove you started from with no repercussions. If the diet didn't somehow leave you impervious to the effects of fried food indefinitely, something was wrong with it-or you.

The tendency to see fitness this way still persists. I still encounter indignance that one cannot simply follow a plan, a set of rules-temporarily do things differently-and have the results last forever with no further attention. It would be as if one day we could put a certain type of gasoline in the tank that would leave the car never needing any gas again. But that doesn't happen. So what does? The much-reported (but never adaquently resolved) disaster is you wind up back at point A. Almost everyone I've worked with has experienced this at some point in their lives. You get to point B-triumph!-and then six weeks or six months later, you're exactly where you started. Or worse.

(It's important to note that this is not entirely due to flaws in our culture's fitness thinking. What we're doing in the name of fitness doesn't work either. The methods most often used to get from point A to point B are flawed, creating biological reasons for the miserable recidivism rate associated with diets. Biologically, those methods make sustained fitness virtually impossible no matter what the state of mind. But that's a whole other story, begun in the next chapter.)

Finally, focus on coming up with a context for your life rather than a "better," or longer-term goal. The are different. Sometimes people become annoyed with me when they say "I know-I want to run a marathon in three years!" and I say "That won't do-it's not enough." What happens after that? Athletes have a reason to fuel beyond how they look, and while they're competing, they appear to represent the powerful pull of fueling something bigger-such as performance or victory-than "thin thighs." But note that they often quickly become poor examples as soon as the athletic career has ended (about how many former athletes have you said "Wow, look how out of shape he/she's gotten!"). They had nothing beyond their last event to keep them caring enough. It still wasn't a lifelong context; it was just a slightly longer short-term goal.

Plan for your life, instead of for tomorrow when you put your jeans on. Eating and exercising are a different experience driven by a larger purpose than they are when you use them as a tool to "change right now."


A powerful purpose for fueling will be positive as well as open-ended. At first you may gravitate automatically to the negative-a "not something" rather than for something. I've found people have an exceedingly difficult time getting past the "nots." When I ask workshop participants what their body is for that would make them want to fuel it, the first answers invariably come out like this: "I don't want to look like my mother." "I don't want to die young." "I don't want to look like this anymore." I don't want to be fat." "I don't want to have such a hard time climbing stairs." "I don't like what I see in the mirror."

But that's eating against something. What DO you want? What DO you see? What could you eat for?

Culturally, we're trained to look for what's wrong; what's not possible; reasons we can't rather than reasons we really want to. People initially believe that what they don't want will jump start them (even though it hasn't worked  before). Are you really inspired after you've thoroughly whipped yourself? But you do it all the time; I see it in client after client. Self-deprecation, even self-hatred are the tools you reach for first-the only tools you may know.

Focusing on what your body is not takes you in an utterly different direction than what your body is for. "What you're not" takes you to failure-in fact, it is a response to failure. "What you're for" invites you to explore future possibilities. "For" is going forward; "not" is going backward or staying stuck in place, trying to avenge the past or fix the present. What you're not (or what you don't want) becomes a project of "fixing" what is (or isn't) instead of  living toward and fulfilling something desirable.


A man in his mid-forties saw lights go on in the middle of a recent workshop. "My God," he said, "I've been eating all my life to fix myself, instead of eating to have the energy to live my life!" Subtle? Maybe-but it changed his whole experience of eating. He called us three times in the three days afterward to excitedly share about  the physical energy he gained by feeding himself in a way that was at scientific-and the mental energy he saved by abandoning the grind of trying to fix himself and do it right.

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 Important: The information in this book and on this website is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need medical attention, please seek the advice of your own health practitioner. You should have a health professional check your condition before making any changes in an existing treatment program.

Healthy Eating Outcomes:
Stop Digging Up the Garden!

Fat loss can be one result of fueling--but not the only result. Other benefits and advantages you'll see and feel when you begin fueling your body in the way it needs include:

* More energy and vitality
* Muscle gain (or at least maintenance)
* Strength
* Better workout performance and stamina * Longevity
* Less illness and reduced risk of disease * Time savings
* Cost savings-to you and others
* Ease of food preparation
* Enjoyment of cooking
* Less confusion
* An end to worrying about "weight."

Fueling isn't merely a "fat loss tool." It's what your body needs for overall optimal functioning. More and more I find people recognize this; they want to "eat better" for all kinds of reasons. While many people are concerned with fat loss, a growing number of basically healthy and lean (or almost-lean) people are seeking input for more energy, disease prevention, athletic performance, or general knowledge and improvement. Most eventually conclude that health, strength and longevity are paramount--and realize that, conveniently, leanness will be an unavoidable side benefit of all those.

Still, fat loss remains a focal point of interest for many, even when people begin to loosen their grip on the idea of "weight." Tearing your eyes away from the prize you may expect a month from now, and instead gazing way out into your life, is the hardest thing for most people to do. You can't resist the urge to dig up the garden to see if it's grown. You watch the pot to see if it's boiling. You can't see the forest (your life, your health) for the tree (this minute).

The amount of concern I've witnessed about the speed of fat loss is a monument not only to lack of understanding about the body's capabilities, but to diet thinking. One woman wanted to know if I could explain why she "hadn't lost any fat yet" since she "cut down on peanut butter" one month earlier. Another caller complained that "the high-carb thing" didn't work for her because "I start out losing fat, but then I hit a plateau and can't lose any more."

"Plateau" is definitely a diet thinking word; it implies that there is something wrong if your body doesn't respond without end to your pushing and shoving. It doesn't take into account that, if fat loss slows or stops, your body is giving you a message, and knows better than your one-track, fat-loss-crazed mind whether it really needs to do what you think it needs to do.

"Did it ever occur to you," I asked this woman, "that maybe you didn't need to lose any more fat?" "Well--no," responded the woman.

Perhaps the most striking example of non-thinking in this arena was Leah, a burger and milkshake lover in her late thirties who exercised like a nut, underfueled, and "over-fatted." At the end of the workshop, she announced that she wasn't sure if she could "motivate herself" to make changes in her diet if she wasn't going to see immediate results. Momentarily stunned by the shortsightedness of this thought, I then pointed out how nonsensical it was: "If you don't make any changes, you'll never see those results. Never is a lot longer to wait than however long fueling might take." "Hmmm--you've got a point," she said slowly.

"And you can stop going all day without food," I added. "In fact, you'll need to, to get the results you want. I'm not telling you to starve. I'm encouraging you to eat more, more often. How much 'motivation' do you need for that?" Leah couldn't answer.

Americans have wanted the fast fix for a long time, which caused many of us to starve for quick "weight" loss, unwittingly programming our bodies for future fat gain.   It can be turned around, but it does take time. You cannot underfuel, over-grease and under- or over-use your body for 20 years, then put a bit of good "gas" in one day or one week and expect an instant racecar.

I think it seems like it takes so much time because your mind takes time to change, not just your body. We know pretty much what the body needs and what it will do if you're good to it. We know roughly how much time it will take to do it. (We know it won't take 10 days; and we know it won't take 10 years either.)

"But that's not good enough!" you cry. Why not? Your mind is slower and more stubborn than your body. Ten to 60 years of diet thinking is harder to lose than any amount of fat. My clients, bless every one of them, have shown me this.

Christine: "I'm doing pretty well. My cholesterol is down from 250 to 175 and when my doctor asked why, she couldn't believe how much I knew. But I wish I could eat less."

Jean, leaving the workshop for a long road trip, refusing the offer of fat-free cookies and muffins: "No thanks, I have celery sticks with me."

Lisa, one week after the workshop: "I'm doing okay, I guess. I haven't lost any fat yet."

The rate at which people lose fat (best measured by appearance and the fit of clothes) varies widely. It depends on how efficiently and impeccably you begin to fuel yourself now, how inefficiently you've done it before and for how long, and what your body's natural tendencies are. The more abuse your body has taken--the more starved it's been--the better trained it is to save fat instead of spend it. You can retrain your body--but that means nurturing it, not further assaulting it.

It may take a year, maybe even two or three, to lose all the fat you want to. But what a year! You're not sitting around suffering, waiting for the pot to boil. You're eating. Plenty. An increase in energy, if you haven't been fueling efficiently before, is an immediate result you can enjoy. If you really do plan to care for yourself from now on, to eat efficiently and give your body what it needs--and if what it needs turns out to be lots of great stuff--you may well ask yourself "What's the hurry?"

No one can promise you that you will lose X amount of fat in X amount of time. How could they? You are an individual, and no one can know exactly what you are going to do from now on, any more than they can tell exactly where your body is now.

There are few things I can promise you, though. If you fuel yourself, you'll always be headed in the direction you want to be going. Your whole life will become that never-ending path, getting better, fitter, and healthier continuously. You'll notice landmarks, milestones--but none need mean you're "done."

You'll have fun. You'll be eating, not dieting; living your life, not "on a program." You'll be eating a lot of food. It may even mean rediscovering food and eating.

You'll enjoy peace and confidence. That's what comes with knowing that any biology book you get your hands on will confirm that the amounts and proportions of the foods you consume are just what you need.

Without a perspective that goes far beyond next month or even next year, it's unlikely you'll transcend the paradigm of diet thinking. I also believe that superstition about a watched pot not boiling. So stop lifting up your shirt every day to see if your belly's gone. It won't disappear much faster than it appeared. Appreciate the changes inside that will show up in terms of what doesn't happen 30 years from now, not just in what does happen two weeks from now. Live your life and forget about manipulating your thighs. It will all happen in good time.

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 Important: The information in this book and on this website is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you need medical attention, please seek the advice of your own health practitioner. You should have a health professional check your condition before making any changes in an existing treatment program.