Lessons from the Movies: Hungry for Change

One meaningful message from this documentary has helped senior editor Courtney Lewis Opdahl dramatically change the way she eats.

tired guy eating pasta

This weekend, I finally watched the movie Hungry for Change (you’ll notice a few Experience Life friends in this flick, including Kris Carr of CrazySexyLife.com and Thomas McNamee, who wrote, “Hero Foods,” featured in the March issue). Overall, I enjoyed it and recommend it if you haven’t seen it. There are a lot of similar messages in the film that we’ve shared in articles in the magazine, so I’m guessing you’ll find yourself nodding your head frequently as I did.

One of my favorite ideas from the movie — and one that’s worked well for me — is an alternative approach to changing your diet. Far from the restricted-diet approach, the experts in the movie suggest adding in simple, healthy foods at every meal (more veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds and healthy fats). Eventually, as you continue to add more and more nutrient-dense foods, they’ll start to crowd out the unhealthy options, like fried foods and sodas.

Last summer when we were working on a feature story about blood testing, I was profiled in the piece and had the opportunity to speak with Paul Kriegler, RD/LD, at Life Time. He had a similar thought, and suggested I focus on adding in healthy fats to help me feel fuller. I had made dramatic changes to my diet thus far, but I was still feeling hungry and tempted from time to time, so his theory helped me beat the physical cravings. With more healthy fats in my diet, I could distinguish between physical hunger and instead deal with the emotional feelings that were truly driving my cravings.

What I also like so much about this approach: It takes the focus off deprivation, and the foods you “can’t” have. I’ve spent 19 years (yes, I sadly tried my first diet when I was 12 years old) restricting foods and thinking of “diet” in the sense that it was temporary and painful — but eventually I could go back to eating “normally” (welcome to the world of yo-yo dieting!). It’s a cruel thought process, and one that set me up for failure time and again.

Instead, when I think of all the rich, flavorful foods I enjoy, I don’t miss those old temptations as much. I’ve tapped my love of food and transformed it into one of finding the highest quality food, where I know about the farm and how the animals live or how the vegetables are grown. It’s a much more powerful place to live in than one of restriction. And it gives me back the control that I felt I relinquished when following low-calorie, low-fat diets.

What tricks have you used to transform the way you eat?

Share in the comments below, or Tweet at us: @ExperienceLife, @RevAct and @clewisopdahl.

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