Home > Articles

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Natural Eating Is Not a Diet

The end goal of every diet is weight loss, and in theory weight loss is simple—you have to consistently burn more calories (energy) than you consume. Unfortunately, this "simple" matter of energy balance is difficult to navigate behaviorally. Genetics, culture, social habits, motivation, and countless other factors affect whether you can lose weight and maintain the loss. Many individuals diet without considering the harm they may be inflicting on their bodies and minds or what is actually required to maintain a healthy weight for the rest of their lives. If you have been on and off diets for as long as you can remember or are considering a diet now, know this—you do not fail on a diet; the dieting process fails you.

Why Do Diets Fail You?

Diets are destined to fail you because

  • Diets do not address all the factors related to food choices.

  • Diets focus on the scale instead of behavior changes.

  • Diets do not often include, encourage, or promote physical activity.

  • Diets do not require a lifestyle change.

  • Diets have a beginning and an end.

  • Diets create a parent/child relationship with food (being "good" or "bad" when you eat, or avoid, certain foods) that frequently leads to rebellious eating.

  • Diets do not require you to change the way you think about food.

  • Your body desires weight stability and will go to great lengths to maintain your current weight.

What Does Work?

To succeed at changing your health habits, you must be willing to learn new attitudes and behaviors related to nutrition, physical activity, and life balance. It is absolutely critical to examine your current lifestyle to determine which factors are perpetuating unhealthy behaviors. It may be

  • A sedentary work environment

  • A lack of social support

  • Increased reliance on convenience foods

  • Unmanaged stress

Some individuals can quickly adopt new behaviors; others have deep-seated emotional and/or psychological barriers to eating healthfully or being active. You must examine these barriers, preferably with the help of a counselor or therapist, prior to or in conjunction with learning new behaviors, even if that interferes with immediate change. In the end, a healthy person is one who learns to enjoy all foods in moderation, consistently engages in physical activity, and copes with life challenges in an appropriate fashion.

Take a moment now for some personal reflection. Putting your ideas in writing in Figure 3.1 will help you get a handle on some of the challenges in your own life and can prevent you from wasting time and energy fighting an enemy you can't see.

Figure 3.1Figure 3.1 My personal healthy habit challenges.

What Is a Healthy Weight?

Although this is a book designed to help you improve your habits, many of you are also curious about what constitutes a healthy body weight. First and foremost, it's important to remember that weight is simply a number. As you learned in Chapter 2, "The Stages of Change—What to Expect," focusing on body weight as a goal can be counterproductive for a number of reasons, but because we live in a weight-obsessed age, this topic merits further discussion.

For many individuals, a modest loss of even 5% of current body weight can improve health parameters such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, most people who embark on weight loss programs begin with completely unrealistic goals—they report an inability to be satisfied with modest, but beneficial weight loss. This kind of all-or-nothing mentality is a recipe for frustration, body dissatisfaction, and preoccupation with body weight and appearance. For these reasons, I will not use typical methods employed by many organizations and professionals to determine your "ideal" body weight (there's nothing inherently wrong with the charts and tables; it's simply more productive to focus your energy elsewhere). If you prefer, go back to the section on your personal weight history and use this information as a starting point to determine a healthy weight range. Choose a range that you were able to maintain as an adult without dieting or excessive exercise but that reflects adequate nutrition, regular activity, and attention to overall health.

Another important consideration is respect for your basic body type. Many people attempt to change their body shapes with dieting and exercising only to become frustrated, tired, and obsessed with their various imperfections. It's an unfortunate result of a culture that has little regard for the beauty of genetic diversity in body types or the inherent worth of a person's soul and character. Learn to work with the wonderful body you've been given. You don't have to be enamored with every last inch, but do try to see yourself in a positive light.

In the same way that your genes determine where you store body fat, they will determine how you lose that fat. Do you have illusions of reducing body fat in select areas of your body? Many women, for example, are frustrated by the apparent tenacity of fat stores in their hips and thighs (or other areas of the body). Although balanced nutrition and regular exercise can improve many health parameters and decrease overall body fat, women must accept the fact that they are biologically wired to store fat in these areas. Keep this in mind if you are embarking on a weight loss program with someone of the opposite gender!

Again, focus on changing behaviors, and you will naturally arrive at a healthier weight. Identifying your eating style or styles is an important first step in changing your eating behaviors and working toward becoming a natural eater.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020