It was never about the food.* #DIANEDIRECT | Diane Sanfilippo

It was never about the food.*

At some point in your journey, this has probably clicked for you. If it hasn’t yet, it will. Give it time.

See, for all of us who may have struggled or still struggle to eat in a way that represents our best effort to care for ourselves, that’s just it.

Let me say this another way: once armed with information and the truth about food, there is no longer anything going on with our choices of what to eat that has to do with THE ACTUAL FOOD.

You know what I’m talking about here. Whether or not you eat a meal or snack that’s “healthy” or “good” or “nutritious” to you has little to do with food in and of itself.

What you choose to eat has ALMOST EVERYTHING to do with:

Your priorities.

Your self-worth.

Your choices.

Your focus.

Your attention.

What you choose to eat and how you feel about it is a direct reflection of your ability to translate how you feel about yourself into daily actions that manifest those feelings into reality.

Holy crap. Let that last one sink in for a moment.

I am saying this out of pure and utter self realization that the choices we all make around food (from what we are going to eat to how we feel about ourselves once we’ve eaten it!) have everything to do with our senses of self.

Maybe that’s a #rebel thing?

I don’t think it is.

I think that once we know what is Food (like most of us here now know that a Twinkie is not Food, for example), the connection – or disconnection – between the knowing and the doing. THAT IS EVERYTHING.

That is the stuff worth digging into.

This is why so often when someone comments and says “Thank you! You/your book saved my life!” I almost always flip it right back around to identify that, in fact, YOU saved your own life.

I only had a hand in a teeny tiny piece of communicating information to you. You made the connection and the effort. And you did the work to translate your desire for change INTO ACTUAL CHANGE.

*There is a small caveat / exception here, and that is a very short window of time when it IS about the food. That time is the brief moment between when you awaken to the fact that you need to make a change, and the time when new information enters your state of awareness. Note that this information isn’t truly new to any human, if we’re being 100% honest with ourselves.

Once you become aware or awake to the truth you always knew – that real food is what humans naturally are designed to consume – then this window has closed.

The time of not knowing is over, and the time of taking action must begin.


What do you think? What was it about for you, or what is it about for you, knowing now what food truly is?

Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!


25 thoughts on “It was never about the food.*

  • I heard you comment on this at your book signing in Phoenix and I thought it was so great that you said it. Controlling our diet is a good way to get some order into our lives, but as we learn about food we can get obsessed and think tweaking our diet is our primary objective.
    Our primary objective is to lead a full and worthwhile life! And that means healing and growth in lots of areas. Kudos to you for saying so.

  • You’re totally right. for me it’s not about the food. It’s all about how I’m comforting myself with food. I like how you put my thoughts into words.
    What you choose to eat has ALMOST EVERYTHING to do with:
    Your priorities.
    Your self-worth.
    Your choices.
    Your focus.
    Your attention.
    Now, when i’m “choosing” to eat junk food. i’m reminding of what I’m really choosing. And this brief moment of pause, has helped to put away the junk food and actually desire it less.
    thanks Dianne.

  • You are so right…I’ve read all your books plus I’ve done the detox twice…just recently in fact the second time was in January….. I made it ….21days.. I was so excited….a friend of mine put her whole family on the detox program (ages nine to fourteen) ..they homeschool so they did it as a project…one would prep…one would make up the menu…one would do research on why …one would help cook and bake…. .they found it interesting…challenging and fun…(there were times that was downright hard) they made it to the end…they were so proud…..I talked to her yesterday and said that whenever they slip up the next day they feel sluggish and they know better….I told her that the information and the work your family put into this will always be in the back of your mind when it comes to choices….and the benefits are worth the time you put into it….

  • Yes to this. I think, ultimately, we know how to eat, but – when stressed – we can get so disconnected from our bodies that we can’t listen to what they’re saying. When I’m in my head (caught up in stress), eating is decidedly not about the food. It’s a constant work in progress for me to recognize when I’m in my head and then try to get back into my body.

  • Kathleen Shaw says:

    It’s really about my health.
    In 2012 my health was deteriorating and I did not want my future to include prescription medication and/or worse, ultimately an early death. I bought my first copy of “Practical Paleo” (I went on to buy a half dozen more copies over time as gifts for friends.) It changed the way I looked at food and nutrition.
    Focusing on my immediate personal health and healing forced me to finally separate my priorities and lifestyle away from my kids/husband. I got used to eating what I needed rather than what they wanted.
    I became addicted to feeling healthy, looking great and inspiring people to want to know what I was doing – I was a lighthouse and didn’t even realize it.
    In 2015 those things slowly slipped away when I decided to make more changes in my life.
    I went back to school, started my own beauty and wellness business, I have 2 employees and class A ($$$) business space…..Ironically, in seeking to improve my life, I have let stress lead my choices for the last few years.
    Declining health has once again come to the forefront. I dusted off my original copy of Practical Paleo and am starting over again. Switching focus to my immediate health makes food choices a tool for me, and proof positive beauty and wellness starts internally.

  • Elizabeth Brown says:

    I love following your blog and Instagram as I feel you show such authenticity that is rare in social media! And this… this speaks to me right now more than I say! I have the tools but need to acknowledge why I chose not to use them! I guess you can’t spell it all out for us, we have to do the work!

  • I’m still trying to wrap my brain around what you are stating. It’s not that I don’t agree, but I’m trying to understand how it applies to me, and really understand the depth of it. I’ve been obsessed with food as long as I can remember. Junk food as a teenager to comfort me during stressful times, extreme food/calorie restriction in my late teens, back to comforting junk food and beer during my college days. Then slowly, incorporating healthier food options from my twenties into my thirties. Now, in my early 40s, I’m working on eating mindfully, eating to promote gut healing, hormone balance, reduce stress. Food choices always have and probably always will be a struggle for me, but I’m working on improving my relationship with it everyday. Diane, you are always a wise and truthful voice in this maize of health information. You help me ignore all the noise and understand what is true and to listen to my body. Thank you for all you do!

    • Hey Jen- you’ve said exactly what I’m saying in your comment, but in different words..
      “in times of stress, ” “comforting junk food,” “eating mindfully,” “relationship with food”…
      The thing is, it is NOT ABOUT THE FOOD, nor any relationship with it. I think it’s about our relationship with ourselves first and foremost. That is, once we know what healthy food is, ya know? Which clearly you do.
      SO, in those moments when you are either 1) reaching for unhealthy foods, or 2) punishing yourself for eating something (even if it’s healthy by whatever measure you have), THOSE are the times to pause and ask yourself what’s up.
      I think eating mindfully is noble, however, I want to say that it’s not really just about the choosing of food or the chewing – it’s about our intention behind how we eat — and how POSITIVE we feel about all of it. EVEN a treat! Like, how wonderful to enjoy a brownie now and then, but how NOT wonderful if we just then beat ourselves up and dig into a hole as a result, right?
      It’s about finding the damage we’re trying to heal with food when the time comes. For me, I certainly would eat when I felt lonely or upset. We all have our thing.

  • This made me tear up a little. I struggle so much with food… I know I eat a lot of crap and I know it’s emotional, but I’m still struggling to make a significant change. I’m embarrassed at how hard it is for me to put the crap down and eat for nourishment. The saddest thing is I have done a lot of research, reading, etc and come to understand a lot about what I *should* be eating, and fully believe it would help with aspects of my life, but there still seems to be a dark spot in me that keeps winning out. Thanks, Diane, for another reminder to continue to work on myself.

    • Katie-
      First of all, it’s hard to put crap down because it’s literally ENGINEERED by scientists to be hard to put down. So, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way… this is exactly why I wrote this post. You can know what to eat intellectually but emotionally not be able to do it for yourself. Digging into what’s causing you the pain you’re soothing with junk food is critical. Over time, it gets easier, I promise, but it requires work. A good therapist may help a lot.

    • Hi Katie – I just wanted to echo what Diane said about the food being engineered this way and also tell you that YOU ARE NOT BROKEN. You have nothing to be embarrassed about. Our bodies are hard-wired to seek out foods that make the pleasure centers in our brain light up. When we find those highly palatable foods, our bodies also want us to eat as much as we can get. With the way foods are processed and so readily available in our current world, it can be a real challenge to make the healthiest choice every time. Continuing to educate yourself and really listening to your body and mind will help. Good luck!!

  • I recently had a long conversation with my therapist about food. I find when I have control over my food and I’m cooking and eating well everything else in my life is good. I recently lost my mom and it was the first time I lost control over food, I wasn’t cooking because I was visiting her in hospice every day and would stop at Whole Foods on the way home and over eat gluten free donuts. It felt good, I didn’t regret it and I knew it was temporary. Fast forward 4 months I am cooking again and eating well and I’m noticing I am happiest when I have control over what I am putting in my mouth.

    • I think it makes total sense that it wasn’t really “control over your food” that you lost, but a really important person in your life who you lost. And it’s FAIR that it made other things in life super hard, ya know? I think it’s less about being happy leading to food control — more about being happy leading to choices that are less emotion-based, if that makes sense?

  • When I started learning about what “real food” really was – or rather what “fake food” really was and how disgusted I was at what I had been putting into my body, I was really excited! I bought all the books, made all the food, told EVERYone. I saw positive changes and other people noticed too. Then….I fell off the wagon. I decided 80/20 would be okay, but that 20 turned into 30, then 40, then those great changes went away. How could I tell others what they were eating was so bad for them when I couldn’t even put it down and I KNEW how bad it was for me? I stopped talking about it and then I kept making bad decisions. I’m not completely off the wagon. I still eat mostly better than I used to, and there are certain “food” groups I will absolutely never eat. However, I’m in the worst shape of my life since starting this journey and just am sad. I truly believe it is NOT about the food, it is about something else. I just can’t figure out what that something else is. But thank you for writing this post, in this way, at this time. It is inspiration for me to finally get to the bottom of it.

    • That something else always comes from either stress and trauma, or a detachment between who we know we are and want to be and the actions we’re taking in our everyday lives. If you align yourself, your actions, your choices, your words, who you spend time around, etc., etc. with who you know you want to be in the world, things will shift. I highly recommend listening to this podcast, I hope it helps.

      • Wow. “A detachment between who we know we are and want to be and the actions we’re taking in our everyday lives.” Yes. That is it. I have to align exactly as you said. I don’t think anyone has said it in a way that clicked like that. Listening to the podcast, the biggest point I captured was looking at the intention before an action. What is my intention and does it align with my goals?

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