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An interview with Lisa Lewtan, health coach and author of 'Busy, Stressed, and Food Obsessed,' on why we can't stop thinking about food — and what our bodies are really trying to tell us.

Interview: Lisa Lewtan, Author of ‘Busy, Stressed, and Food Obsessed’

Lisa LewtanI had the opportunity to interview Lisa Lewtan, a health coach and the author of Busy, Stressed, and Food Obsessed—Calm Down, Ditch Your Inner-critic Bitch, and Finally Figure Out What Your Body Needs. Lewtan’s book is a revolutionary approach to conquering food obsession, and a must for anyone who’s struggled with trying to get their eating under control.

When we’re obsessing about food, what are our bodies telling us?

Thinking about food all the time is usually a sign that our bodies need something. The question is what exactly that something might be. It could be a nap, a hug, or just a break. But we may feel guilty taking a nap during the day. Instead, we reach for food.

You write about the challenge of overcoming your own food addiction. What wound up working for you?

I was and will always be a sugar addict. If I take one bite, I want to eat more and more. Then the next day, I want sugar again. Staying away from sugar completely and for long periods of time is what really works for me. There are times that I do choose to indulge in desserts, but it’s with the full knowledge that there will be consequences — and also, no guilt. It doesn’t take long to remember how awful I feel when I’m stuck in the sugar zone. So as soon as I’m ready, I leave sugar behind again. For many people, the power of a group commitment works really well. That’s why I created a program that can help them do this.

We all have foods we know we should avoid. Are there any particular foods, such as comfort foods, that you recommend steering clear of?

We are all different. The key is to figure out what works for your particular body. Many people that can eat one small square of dark chocolate and be completely satisfied. For others, that can prove quite dangerous. The same goes with the bread basket, or with cheese, or wine. When I work with people individually, we experiment with the effects of different foods. Then we can shift some foods from the “never” category to the “once in a while” category.

You mention in your book that only ten percent of wisdom comes from our heads (or minds), and 90 percent comes from our bodies. How do we tap into that?

We tap into the wisdom of our body by slowing down and listening. When we’re in a calm state, we can tune into what’s really going on. Is there a tightness in our chest? A growling in our belly? A headache may be a clue that we haven’t had enough water, or we’re straining our eyes, or clenching our jaw. Rather than just popping a pain reliever, we can address the true cause — and meet our body’s needs.

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About Patricia Gale

Patricia Gale has written and ghostwritten hundreds of blogs and articles that have appeared on sites such as Psychology Today, Forbes, and Huffington Post, and in countless national newspapers and magazines. Her "beat" is health, business, career, self-help, parenting, and relationships.

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