Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Pleasure Principle


The Pleasure Principle
The Pleasure Diet is the latest healthy eating trend to hit Australia, and it counts Kate Winslet and Gisele Bundchen among its fans.
Pleasure Diet founder and holistic health counsellor Ingrid Arna is campaigning against a multi-billion dollar diet industry she claims is making us fat, sick and unhappy. Arna, who describes conventional methods as “counterintuitive to weight loss”, founded the alternative program after chronic dieting almost killed her.
“I developed a feminine strategy which brings pleasure to the forefront,” she says. “Traditional diets are based on ‘masculine’ ideologies - restrictions, punishing exercise, rules and quantifiers (think: counting calories and weigh-ins). However, research suggests that within five years, two in three dieters will have piled on more weight than they originally lost. Yet most women will blame themselves. They think: ‘There must be something wrong with my body’.”
The Pleasure Diet, on the other hand, is about learning to work in harmony with the body, being intuitive, and listening to your body’s needs and cravings. Arna is quick to distinguish her use of the word ‘diet’ from its conventional definition. “The Pleasure Diet is a lifestyle. We don’t do ‘dieting’.”
In her early 20s, Ingrid Arna moved to New York in pursuit of a modelling and acting career. She survived on a diet of “coffee, sorbet and a handful of Gummi bears.” Add to this a ferocious diet pill addiction, and her body was ready to give in. She was diagnosed with a chronic bacterial infection, and a hospital stay provided time for serious self-reflection.
“When I was in the darkest depth of my pain, the word BodyLove came to me. I vowed in that moment to find a new way of living that freed me from critical self-judgement.” Arna studied eating psychology and health counselling, and the BodyLove Diet was founded upon the principles of pleasure. Determined to practise what she preaches, Ingrid re-dedicates herself daily to the pleasure path. “Whatever size my body transforms into, I love and respect it. Appreciating my body is just an extension of self-love.”
Why pleasure works
You know stress is bad for you, but the extent to which it inhibits your weight loss may come as a surprise. “The mood you’re in while eating actually determines a food’s nutritional value,” explains Arna. “When the stress response is activated, we produce more insulin and cortisol and less thyroid and growth hormones, which all signal the body to store fat.”
In contrast, pleasurable experiences decrease stress hormones and kick the body into fat-burning mode. “The power of pleasure alone boosts your metabolism by up to 40 percent,” says Arna. In The Slow Down Diet, Arna’s colleague and nutritional psychologist, David Marc says pleasure is “a vital element that makes our meals nutritionally complete,” and adds pleasure also raises immune-boosting chemicals and feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.
A Thai study, which set out to determine how cultural food preferences affect iron absorption, yielded useful insights into pleasure. Two groups of women – Thai and Swedish – were fed two meals, one from each nation. Researchers found that each group absorbed more iron from their own culture’s dish than the other. In a subsequent experiment, both cultural groups were split into two; both were fed only the meal specific to their culture, but half were presented the dish in puree form. Although the blending did not alter the food’s nutritional content, those who ate the mushy version absorbed 70 percent less nutrients. “A food’s nutritional value is not merely in its nutrients, but is dependent upon synergistic factors that help us absorb those nutrients,” says Marc. “The key to weight control is how we eat, not what. Food can be medicine or poison - and it’s your choice.”
Pump up your vitamin P
"Remove Vitamin P, pleasure, and the nutritional value of our food plummets," says Arna. "Add Vitamin P and your meal is metabolically optimised
* Focus on how you eat Slow down, express gratitude and banish negative talk at the table. Really experience your food, not just on the tongue but the whole body.
* Choose quality over quantity A pleasurable food is anything you really enjoy – but choose the best quality of that food.
* Accept your body, just the way it is In order to create the body we want, we have to love the body we have.
* Ask yourself ‘What am I trying to get from this food?’ Make sure food is not the only source of pleasure in your life. Spend time on passions and relationships.
* Trust your body Ask it to release the weight and see it falling off you with ease.
* Use affirmations Before and during each meal, repeat Ingrid’s affirmations: Healthy food is pleasure, Pleasure is safe, Healthy food nourishes my body, I love myself by eating the best food for my body, I choose foods that honour my body.
Top 10 pleasure foods
Arna recommends certain ‘superfoods’ to maximise results. Here are her top picks:
1. Green leafy vegetables
2. Grain fed beef
3. Monounsaturated fatty acids - Arna suggests avocado and coconut oils. “We get a lot of pleasure from ‘good fats’, because they satiate us,” she explains.
4. Raw cocoa
5. Eggs
6. Any seeds
7. All berries - Arna’s favourites are goji berries and blueberries.
8. Sweet potato
9. Salmon - “It’s loaded with tryptophan to boost your mood.”
10. Stevia - “This natural plant-based sweetener is calorie- and carbohydrate-free.”
QUIZ: How pleasurable is your diet?
Tick the statements you agree with
I feel betrayed by my body
I am on a restrictive diet
My mealtimes are rushed
I often multi-task while I eat
I’m embarrassed to eat in front of others
Certain foods make me anxious
I count calories and/or weigh food
I feel guilty when I eat
Most of the time, I feel tired
I’m constantly fighting cravings
If you ticked more than five of these, it's time to try The Pleasure Diet!


Source : Nature and Health


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