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Nutrition Success by Tracy Reck

It's NOT All About The Food!

You know, we’ve got this eating healthy thing all wrong. There’s two halves to it, and one of those halves NEVER gets mentioned.

Probably because it has NOTHING to do with food.  Literally nothing to do with what you eat, how much, when or any of that stuff. I know - it’s a bit of a shocker, right?

This is what we’ve become accustomed to think of when we think of healthy eating: Vegetables. Lean protein. Smart carbs. Good fats.

We consider habits like: Drink 2 litres of water.  We work on rules like: Keep sugar intake low. All this stuff is about the WHAT. The foods, the quantities, the macros.  Focusing on this was not what helped me crack my thorny issues like eating a whole box of Cadbury’s Roses because it was Friday - eating ALL of the food when I felt lonely or scared - being ‘good’ all week and then binging at the weekend.

Yup, that was me. Don’t think I haven’t been there - I have. I know what it’s like to feel out of control with food. I also know how to come out the other side, and that’s what swings us into the second half of healthy eating, the half that has nothing at all to do with actual food. 

It looks like this: 

• not thinking of food as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Carrots are just carrots, brownies are just brownies. They both have their place

• not overthinking and obsessing over food, but not underthinking it and throwing caution to the wind either

• knowing how food affects your fitness, energy levels, mood, health, mental aptitude and so on

• not looking for emotional solace from food or using it as a substitute for fixing an actual problem

• eating predominantly when you are hungry. Not being scared of hunger. Being able to sit with it when necessary

• sometimes eating when you have a craving and sometimes not. Having the ability to choose!

• being able to stop eating when you are physically satisfied, i.e. before you have to undo your top button :)  

• choosing foods/drinks that you believe match what you need. Need energy for a workout? Need sustenance for a long day? Need hydration? 

• eating mindfully and slowly. Being present with your meals, rather than wolfing something down whilst tearing to your next appointment  

• being tuned into your internal body cues and using these, rather than trackers or calorie counts, to regulate your food intake. Are you hungry? Are you full?  

All these behaviours, mindsets, abilities - whatever you want to call them - are what make you a healthy eater. Further than that - in my view, eating the right kinds of foods (all that protein/carb/veg/fat stuff) - that’s a SYMPTOM of being a healthy eater.

So, although it’s not often said, both sides of ‘healthy eating’ need attending to if you have a rubbish diet you want to fix.

Tracy Reck is a fitness and nutrition writer, coach and speaker. You can read more from her at