Want to Change Your Diet? Change the Way You Think About Food

James M. Loy, Miami University


Almost nobody enjoys being unhealthy, and the way to living a better life is no secret. So what’s the problem?

Why are two-thirds of adults now overweight or obese, and why are more and more spiraling downward into debilitating, even life-threating chronic conditions?

Part of the problem can be traced back to the food we eat. But, as most dietitians and nutritionists will tell you, the food itself isn’t to blame.

“Food is not good or bad,” says Pamela Nisevich Bede ‘03, registered dietitian and author of the new book Sweat. Eat. Repeat. The 90-Day Playbook to Change Your Food Habits. “It’s fuel and it’s a tool to potentially move you toward your goals or away from them.”

So according to Nisevich Bede, the solution begins by changing the way we think about food, which, she says, can make all difference.

Nutrition is science. Eating is emotional.

“We all know we should eat more fruits and vegetables,” Nisevich Bede says. “But why is it that you find yourself in front of the TV, eating all the chips? Why is it that when we have a rough day or a great day, we're turning to ice cream as a reward? Or we're drowning our sorrows in chocolate? These are not our body saying it needs something. It's our mind saying, ‘let's cope with food.’”

Uncovering, acknowledging, and understanding the personal motivations behind what we eat, how we eat, when we eat, and why are among the ideas presented in Sweat. Eat. Repeat, which offers the same wisdom she’s given to clients throughout her successful career as a prominent national expert of sport dietetics and weight management.

A graduate of Miami University’s dietetics program, Nisevich Bede has appeared in the New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, Women’s Health, and more.

Alongside her current role as the Medical Manager for Abbott Nutrition, she also runs a company for competitive athletes called Swim, Bike, Run, Eat!, and she’s been widely published across the health and wellness industry.

Sweat. Eat. Repeat. is the latest of her five books. It combines expert advice and information along with health coaching, motivational tips, habit tracking, and food journaling.

It also contains quizzes and worksheets that unfold across a 90-day guided program to help people gain deeper insight into how their habits and attitudes directly affect weight, energy levels, health, and performance.

“People want a quick diet therapy,” she says. “But there is no diet that works for everybody. I've worked with countless individuals, and my advice changes from person to person. It also changes across ages. It changes across stages of training. So the idea behind the book was: No one diet works for everybody. So let's give everyone the information they need to make their own informed decision.”

More than weight loss

And because health and wellness is about more than just weight loss, she also wants people to understand the full range of benefits that rebalancing their relationship with food will bring.

“Health is about so much more than that number on the scale,” says Nisevich Bede. “It is about how you're feeling. Your energy levels. Your cognition. Sometimes that number on the scale is just one tool that helps us see where our health is trending. Maybe better nutrition helps that number stay the same. But if your muscle mass increases and your fat mass decreases, that's a move in the right direction.”

“Strength. Mobility. Freedom. Independence,” she says. “There's more that goes on in nutrition than just how good you look in your pants.”

To learn more about the nutrition and coaching expertise of Pamela Nisevich Bede, follow her @PamBedeRD