Are You Accidentally Dieting? - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites

Podcast Episode #253: Are You Accidentally Dieting?

Diane Sanfilippo Featured, Podcast Episodes 6 Comments

TopicsAre You Accidentally Dieting? - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites

1.  News and updates from Diane & Liz [2:12]
2.  Shout out: Cassy Joy on the book tour [13:44]
3. Are you an accidental dieter? [14:47]
4. Symptoms of accidental dieting [37:41]
5. How to stop accidental dieting [53:04]
6. #Treatyoself: Fork in the Road chicken sausages [55:40]






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Are You Accidentally Dieting? - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites Are You Accidentally Dieting? - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites Are You Accidentally Dieting? - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites

Are You Accidentally Dieting? - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites Are You Accidentally Dieting? - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites Are You Accidentally Dieting? - Diane Sanfilippo, Liz Wolfe | Balanced Bites

You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 253.

Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast with Diane Sanfilippo and Liz Wolfe. Diane is a certified nutrition consultant, and the New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo, The 21-Day Sugar Detox, and co-author of Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. Liz is a nutritional therapy practitioner, and the best-selling author of Eat the Yolks and The Purely Primal Skincare Guide. Together, Diane and Liz answer your questions, interview leading health and wellness experts, and share their take on modern paleo living with their friendly and balanced approach. Remember our disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only, and are not to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Liz Wolfe: Hey everyone, it’s Liz, with Diane. Hi friend.

Diane Sanfilippo: Hey!

Liz Wolfe: How are you?

Diane Sanfilippo: Doing pretty well, all things considered.

Liz Wolfe: No you're not!

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: You’re broken.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m broken, but I can’t help but smile because the book has gone to print. So I have to be smiling.

Liz Wolfe: Hurray!

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. Hurray.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} Let’s hear from one of our sponsors.

Liz Wolfe: The Balanced Bites podcast is sponsored in part by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants, including me, I’m an NTP, emphasizing bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes local, whole, properly prepared nutrient dense foods as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s ability to heal. Nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants learn a wide range of tools and techniques to assess and correct nutritional imbalances. To learn lots more about the nutritional therapy program, go to There are workshop venues in the US, Canada, and Australia, so chances are you’ll be able to find a venue that works for you.

1. News and updates from Diane & Liz [2:12]

Liz Wolfe: Ok, so we got kind of a partial update from you Diane, but care to extrapolate on your brokenness and you're celebratory book situation?

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Ok, so here’s what’s going on. So the book went to print; hurray! Practical Paleo second edition, you guys have been hearing about it for a couple of weeks now. Release is September 6th; super excited about it. So much more to talk about, but last weeks’ episode was pretty much word vomit about the book. So if you missed that one, go back and listen to it.

Anyway, the book is off to print, and I had been feeling so amazing, just really proud of myself for taking care of my adrenals, having my sleep super in check, being really regular about getting exercise first thing in the morning. And I still feel really good about all of that, because energy wise, I made it through this, being the fifth time I’m going through, you know, publishing a book essentially. I mean, yes it’s a second edition, but as I said before it feels like I wrote a whole new book. When you guys see it you’ll see what I mean.

But, I was just feeling; I feel like I was a little too high and mighty about how good I was feeling, that karma just kind of bit me in the butt with this whole thing. Because I was at the gym, and I probably should have been taking a rest day on Sunday. I realize that was maybe my fifth day in a row at the gym. Not every day is that intense, but I try and go because it keeps me sane and it keeps me feeling like I’m taking care of myself. Anyway, I was doing some pull-ups, and weighted pull-ups were in my workout for the day, and I got two sets in and by the third set I went to; I actually took the weight off, because I was like; you know what, I don’t think I can do 5 more with this weight on me; so I took it off trying to be moderate. That was my attempt at moderation. We’ll talk later about how bad I am at moderation {laughs}.

But that was my attempt at being moderate, and I went one more rep, and it kind of hurt, and I went another rep; and let me tell you guys. When it kind of hurts when you do something at the gym, and any kind of sharp, stabbing, or shooting way, there are no more reps to be done. Do not try one more, because that next rep will inevitably be the start of your demise {laughs}. So basically, sharp shooting pain down my neck/spine area. I don’t really even know exactly where it is; I think it’s my thoracic spine, according to my chiropractor husband. And I felt immobilized and just in a ton of pain. I then texted Scott {laughs}. I was like; I’m dying, this is the worst pain ever, I’m freaking out, I can’t really move. Anyway, he said it was basically the worst text thread he ever had from me.

And I’ve been mostly in bed for the last couple of days because I can’t move that well. I’m actually sitting up to record this episode; but it’s been pretty rough, and it’s been kind of a slap in the face of; I was super excited to kind of celebrate that the book was off to print, and just have my freedom again, and now I’m bed-ridden, basically. So there’s that, but I’m smiling, because what can you do but laugh at the whole thing. And yeah. So there’s that. {laughs} So that’s what happened, and now I’m waiting for this pain to go away.

Liz Wolfe: Poor thing.

Diane Sanfilippo: And I have taken Aleve, just because people need to know that this is not; but we did have to go buy some, because we really don’t keep pain killers in the house.

Liz Wolfe: That’s not really so much as a pain killer as it is a pain muter.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok. Well, I’m still in pain {laughs} even taking it.

Liz Wolfe: I mean, if you could get some of the really good stuff, that might be fun. I’m watching Nurse Jackie right now, we’re working our way through Nurse Jackie, so I know all about that stuff.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok, I don’t know that I have access to stronger things.

Liz Wolfe: I know one or two street names, I think, by now.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} That’s amazing. I’m also taking this supplement that I had been taking at night for just relaxation, and we finally got some stuff linked up on the website, on the Balanced Bites website shop page, but it’s called Myosedate, and it’s basically a muscle relaxer, but just totally natural herbs and stuff like that. So I’ve been taking some of that too to just kind of help, because the muscles are basically freaking out around the injury, so it’s just been a ton of tension from that.

But, so yeah. In happier news {laughs} for those of you who may have heard; I think just in the last episode I announced it, but I’m going to rattle off a bunch of cities that we’re coming to for the tour for Practical Paleo second edition release; also Fed and Fit book release; Cassy Joy, her new book, and of course Liz you’ll be with us in one stop, and Juli from PaleOMG will be with us in a couple of stops. But I’m just going to rattle off all the cities, and if you want to pick up on the dates for those, just go to or you can just click on the events button. But here we go; San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Tacoma, Sacramento, Phoenix, Kansas City, Denver, Boulder, Chicago, Paramus, New Jersey, and Austin Texas. So if you heard a city or town that’s anywhere near you, go to the website and make sure you RSVP to join us for a super fun event. They’re always a blast. We talk about the books, we do Q&A, we sign books, we have a great time. Love it; come see us.

I think that’s pretty much it. Oh, Facebook live. Thursday’s I’m doing Facebook live videos. So if you guys aren’t already tuned in over there and you’re around, typically I’m doing them around 4 p.m. Pacific, 7 p.m. Eastern. I would love some feedback. If it seems like you guys are having to miss that too often, let me know when a better time would be, but I am doing giveaways of the new book on my Facebook live videos. Wink, wink, hint, hint. {laughs} Come join me over there, because people are getting in on that, so. There we go. I think that’s it for now. What is up with you?

Liz Wolfe: Well, I ordered some Otto’s Cassava flour yesterday. Flour.

Diane Sanfilippo: That sounds very culinary of you, and like you might bake something. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Well, I might bake something. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to; I’m really interested in the moringa leaf; some people might have heard of it. It’s almost like a whole food multivitamin; it’s like liver, but a plant. I mean, nothing can be as good as liver. But moringa; I just find it to be very interesting. I got into it thanks to Jennifer Nervo from 20-Something Allergies. She’s a huge moringa fan, and I was kind of just curious what this was all about. And it’s a really, really interesting plant. It has a lot of potential, actually, for less developed areas of the world to be a nutrient dense type food for those regions. It’s a really hardy plant, and it’s just really interesting to me. So I’ve been wanting to incorporate it; but it just tastes so disgusting.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: I mean I can’t. I can’t even put it in a smoothie; because you know, at least when you do a raw liver smoothie, you can really puree it. Like, you really blend it up.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, ok. The way that you’re saying this woman is really into moringa, I think people would say that about you. Like, Liz is really into liver.

Liz Wolfe: I’m really into liver.

Diane Sanfilippo: And you even just casually mentioning that putting liver in a smoothie is easy, is testimony to that. So anyway.

Liz Wolfe: Well, I’m completely oblivious to my own ridiculousness. Which I think is actually kind of a thing these days.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} I’m going to point it out.

Liz Wolfe: A greater theme in the United States of America.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: So when you put powder in smoothies, it gets all clumpy and it goes to the top, and I’m not into it. It gets all foamy at the top. I don’t like it. So I got kind of sick of trying to do that. I’m thinking about doing a little bit of moringa baking, just to get a little moringa in once or twice a week, and then maybe for the kiddo trying a couple of fun things for when we leave the house. We have travel food, and then we have food at home. We don’t do squeeze packs or convenience foods as much as it’s realistic when we’re actually home, but when we go on a trip to nana’s or we go somewhere, she gets to have those things, so I figured just keep those things separate. Maybe do that a little bit when we’re out of the house just to get some extra nutrient dense food in. so I’m going to try and do maybe some cassava flour, incorporate some collagen peptides and moringa in some form of baking. We’ll see how it goes.

But the reason I ordered it, I’ve been hearing people talk about it. This is not like paid placement or anything like that. I’ve been hearing people talk about it, just being not interested. I’m really not into baking; I don’t really; just because I’m so bad at cooking in general.

Diane Sanfilippo: You don’t have to explain it to me, because I’m a terrible baker.

Liz Wolfe: Ok. Because you’re not into baking either. But then I just happened to click over to their Instagram, and it said you can sub it one to one for wheat.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Liz Wolfe: In a lot of instances, and I just found that really, really interesting. So there you go. So I thought I’d try it. So I ordered some.

Diane Sanfilippo: Worth a shot.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’ve seen folks doing tortillas with it and things like that, which I feel like the room for error there is less than something that needs to rise or have a specific kind of texture {laughs}.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Diane Sanfilippo: So if I were going to try anything it might be that. But people have asked me about it, I just haven’t used it much because I’m not a baker. I know; I’m pretty sure Brittany Angell has some recipes with it.

Liz Wolfe: Oh!

Diane Sanfilippo: I know that our friends Simone from Zenbelly and Jennifer from Predominantly Paleo.

Liz Wolfe: Predominantly Paleo.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, they’ve used those a bunch, so I think people can probably check out their stuff for some recipes. I’m pretty sure they used it in their new Yiddish Kitchen book and probably some other newer books that are coming out too.

Liz Wolfe: Well I’m thinking it’s also going to be a really good potential, like a lactation cookie or lactation muffin type component. I’m going to research it a little bit more just to make sure it couldn’t potentially affect anybody negatively, but it seems like people do really, really well with it and I think it would be interesting to incorporate. I’m not trying to make tortillas and bread every day, I’m talking maybe have some mini-muffins to leave the house with in case my kid turns into Slimer from the Ghostbusters.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Oh my gosh, and I haven’t even seen that movie, by the way, ever.

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh.

Liz Wolfe: Any of them.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok.

Liz Wolfe: Is that bad?

Diane Sanfilippo: I don’t know that I have seen it in a start to finish conscious adult paying attention to the movie kind of way. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: There was a cartoon when we were little.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, I don’t know. There’s a new one now.

Liz Wolfe: Which was less scary to me.

Diane Sanfilippo: There’s a Ghostbusters movie with women I think now.

Liz Wolfe: I know, yes there is. And I love that idea. I think that is an awesome idea, and I think anybody that feels like that’s ruining their childhood is probably going to need to be voted off the island. Give me a break.

Diane Sanfilippo: Amazing.

Liz Wolfe: “You’re violating my Ghostbusters safe space.”

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} I’m pretty sure Bill Murray is in that space. Right? Isn’t Bill Murray in the movie? Aren’t you like a big movie…

Liz Wolfe: In Ghostbusters?

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm. Is he not?

Liz Wolfe: Dan Aykroyd for sure.

Diane Sanfilippo: We’re all firey of expertise. We should probably move on.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. We should probably stay in our lane.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

2. Shout out: Cassy Joy on the book tour [13:44]

Liz Wolfe: Alright. Do we have a shout out?

Diane Sanfilippo: Do we? {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I mean, I guess I already kind of talked about this, but let me just give a shout out to our friend Cassy Joy, who was on the show just a couple of weeks ago. I’m just going to say it again, because I think she’s just kind of the greatest. I’m going to shout her out for joining me on this tour, because I’m super excited about that. I mean, I was excited about the tour anyway, let’s be real. I really enjoy it; it’s a lot of work, it’s very tiring. But knowing now that I won’t be standing up presenting totally by myself, it’s just going to be more fun this way. I think it’s going to be more fun for everybody coming to the events and certainly {laughs} selfishly it will be more fun for me. So I’m really excited about that. So I’m just shouting out to Cassy Joy at Fed and Fit; and thanks girl for agreeing to come on the tour with me. So there you go.

3. Are you an accidental dieter? [14:47]

Liz Wolfe: Sweet. Alright, should we move on to today’s topic?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yes, and should we preface it by how this topic came to be?

Liz Wolfe: Yes. I sent an email to my subscribers yesterday; we’re recording on Tuesday so I sent it on Monday. I sent it probably at about 7 a.m., and within a few hours I had at least 50 replies, which is incredibly unusual. Usually I only get a reply from somebody who is super, super ticked off, and hates what I wrote for whatever reason they decided to just hit reply, they don’t care whether it goes anywhere but they're just going to say, “I hate that you sent out an email about olive oil. What is wrong with you?”

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: So, usually it’s like getting chastised for something; and it’s hard, obviously, to please everyone. For a while I was just trying to be guided by what people would actually open, because I can see which emails are being opened and which ones are not. And for the most part, people open emails about sales and specials and deals and that type of thing, and a lot of times they don’t open the stuff that’s just me talking about topics. So I kind of got away from that for a little while.

Last week, I was just kind of thinking about this topic of dieting, and the actual subject line in the email, and the topic of this podcast, are “Are you accidentally dieting?” I was thinking about that; it was something I hadn’t thought about in a long time, and just thought I’d write a little email about it, maybe just to remind people of a few things. Specifically real food types, because I think a big ongoing challenge in this community, the real food community or whatever you want to call it, is that we decide that by virtue of the food that we’re eating, because it’s real food, that this is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle, and that it somehow is exempt from conventional diet behavior.

Yet, a lot of times people are actually treating real food, and getting healthier, and just trying to be more balanced about how you treat what you put in your mouth; really treating it just like a diet. So bringing that old toxic mindset into a new set of foods, and people really, really have a tough time with it. We see it all the time, we get questions about it all the time. And it’s tough to see; it’s a little bit heartbreaking, because I feel like we want everybody to find this emotional freedom when it comes to food, and when it comes to the state of your body and the journey that you’re on. But that’s just not the reality.

And specifically as we have a lot of quick start programs that people can buy or do for free, we start to run into this issue more and more of people basically living by the rules of, I guess a semi-arbitrary challenge. 30 days of paleo or 30 days of whatever or 12 days or 14.5 days; I don’t care how many days it is. But we just live in this mindset of short term success, failure; because we set up these dichotomies without even knowing it, because when you’re only thinking about how I’m going to “succeed”; how I’m going to change, how I’m going to be better. You’re also setting up that alternate parallel universe where you fail or you're not successful or you don’t like yourself.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, it’s good versus bad.

Liz Wolfe: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s I’m doing well versus I’m doing not. I thought it was really funny because I wouldn’t respond via email to your email, of course, I was like, I’m just going to text you. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: But I texted you in response to the email because I read it and I was like; you know, I think the mindset that happens when people go in and out of that diet world, it’s hard for people who are good at moderation to understand it.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: So, I know; I was trying to actually look back and see what my comment was to you, because of course now I’ve lost in the text thread. But I know it was something to the effect of; this is definitely something that with my own food choices; look. Just to kind of give a caveat on this; I definitely {laughs} if I change the way I’m eating for a period of time, it’s not because I think I’m a bad person or I’m feeling guilty or bad or any of that stuff. I have really good self esteem, so even if I’m heavier at a certain time.

Liz Wolfe: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: I do! {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: I know you do.

Diane Sanfilippo: If I’m heavier at a certain period of time, I really chalk it up to, like, ok I’ve made some decisions that have put me in that situation. I’m a big “take responsibility for yourself” kind of person. So for my perspective, going into creating a construct for myself. And I’ll say it that way because most of the time it’s my own construct, you know? So I think there’s a difference there as well, versus something that might be religious or dogmatic or rules that someone else creates. Which I think can be helpful at a period of time, but I’ll get into that in a second.

But what I want to say about that is, I do it from a very positive perspective of; I want positive change and I know that my personality is not one. I mean, I’ve been trying it for so long to go back and forth between sort of the abstainer; I either do this or I don’t do this. That’s my, what I have found works better for me is more black and white, with some wiggle room when I decide the wiggle room is good. But for me having a moderate, moderation; do things in moderation, don’t make so many hard and fast rules; it actually doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t work in practicality, it doesn’t work in making me feel happy or good or free. The rules actually make me feel freer. But when I say rules for me, it’s rules I’ve decided work for me. So I think that’s a really big difference.

I think what you’re saying is, a lot of times; and I love talking about this because I’m someone who has a program. It’s a 21-day program. But I do not ever want people to take that program and have that be their identity. Like, “that’s how I eat all the time, that’s me, 21-Day Sugar Detox is my life.” I don’t want people to do that. I really don’t. I want people to use it as a tool for what it is, and then move on and learn from it. Because it is a great program, it’s not hokey, it’s real food, all of that great stuff. And I think for the most part, that is what happens. I think for the most part, people learn about how to eat. And I think the positive side there is that people feel like when they're not going to eat sugar, they don’t’ know what else to eat, and so that program shows you; here’s what to eat instead, right? So we’re reeducating people on how to cook and how to put meals together; all of that.

But, between the communication that I have, my team, my coaches, nobody is out there trying to make people feel like this is the right way to eat and other ways to eat aren’t right. And I don’t want people to have a moral dilemma over berries.

Liz Wolfe: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Once they’re not eating on the 21-Day Sugar Detox, you know? So I think a real difference comes into play when people create that morality around their choices and the good and bad, and I’m being good now and I’m not being good. I ate some gluten free fried chicken yesterday; I was being really good. {laughs} I mean, I’m joking because I don’t care. It’s good or bad, it’s whatever. I was just enjoying it. I’m like; I’m going to have some gluten free friend chicken. I’m doing it. We’re having it. It’s not a thing. We just want to have it.

And I think that’s kind of the part that gets a little bit hard for people, is finding a balance of how to enjoy certain things in their life and find what works for them. So the comment I made to you was that; I think because you’re really good at moderation and don’t have that same kind of struggle; I mean, as long as I’ve known you.

Liz Wolfe: Now! But yeah, now. Let me just put that in there. I’m good at that now; but I spent 15 years, and that’s a low estimate, being completely obsessive; on wagon, off wagon, miserable. At some point, I’m going to take out the spreadsheets I made for myself that itemized every single carb, calorie; and I would be on that train for a while, and then I would completely go on the other side of it and order every kind of take out you can possibly imagine every single night and eat it in my room. So I have not always been good at moderation {laughs}.

Diane Sanfilippo: But I don’t know that that’s; I actually think that that is the sign that you’re better at moderation, because the hard and fast made you swing from side to side like that.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: So I think when people see when they have rules, they go from following the rules to when they’re off the rules going totally off, because they’re just pissed about it. I think that is kind of; I don’t know, I think that could be a hint that you would actually do better with moderation and it’s something that you probably; you know, we didn’t have the language at that time to figure it out.

Liz Wolfe: Maybe so.

Diane Sanfilippo: Whereas, every time I’ve gone through some kind of program or something, I actually feel really happy and calm when I’m doing it, because I feel like what I’m doing is what I’m choosing to do and it’s feeling really good and I’m really happy about it, and I give myself the space to kind of have some wiggle room in there; do you know what I mean? Like, if you would be better at moderation than when you try and be so black and white, it’s like, it’s horrible.

Liz Wolfe: I don’t know. Because I might have tried moderation back then too, and it didn’t; the mindset I brought to it was different. And also the desires are different. I just feel like a lot of things have shifted that have brought me to a place of peace with moderation. But also, is it really moderation when I’m actually pretty much eating healthy food all the time? I don’t know.

Diane Sanfilippo: You know, I think the moderation is probably just the mindset part. I think it’s less about the food itself.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Because two people could actually; like, you and I could be eating exactly the same food, but for me it feels like I’m abstaining from certain things, and to you it feels like you’re being moderate. Does that make sense?

Liz Wolfe: For me it just doesn’t feel like anything. It just feels like a choice.

Diane Sanfilippo: And I think it’s just a personality thing. I think we have to figure out.

Liz Wolfe: It must be.

Diane Sanfilippo: We have to figure out what works better for our personality, and I think that’s really hard. I don’t think moderation was really a thing when we were either in high school or college; it just wasn’t… nobody would ever talk about things that way because that’s not sexy when you’re 20 years old and trying to just fit in or whatever the case may be. You know what I mean? Just somebody who is kind of eating whatever. That’s not interesting at that age. Does that make sense?

Liz Wolfe: I did just uncover some pictures of myself from college.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: And there was definitely not any moderation going on, on any front.

Diane Sanfilippo: Were there like choker necklaces?

Liz Wolfe: There was a lot of belly; yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Choker necklaces, a lot of belt sashes and just a lot of really large beers and pizzas.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s amazing.

Liz Wolfe: Ok. Let’s get back to the email. So I did go through…

Diane Sanfilippo: Let’s talk about the accidental part, too.

Liz Wolfe: The accidental part. Ok. Because I do list some symptoms, so I felt like I needed to answer the question, “how do you know that this is you?” because obviously there are different personality types, different places that people are in their lives that encompass and define their approach to food. So I do have some symptoms for people to kind of identify themselves or identify their situation by, and we’ll get to that.

But let me just read a little bit of this, and maybe we can hone in on what I’m actually trying to say here. Because I’m not very eloquent just off the cuff, but I’m quite good at writing things out. So what I had said was, and I feel like I’m reading my audio book again, it’s kind of funny. I said,

“I've been thinking about DIETING a lot lately. Specifically, dieting in the Paleo/Primal/Real Food/Whateveryoucallit community.” And this actually is also something that Cassy Joy and I talked about in our podcast interview recently, “accidentally dieting”.

So we say, “Just Eat Real Food,” we say, “It's not a DIET, it's a LIFESTYLE.” But is that REALLY how we're treating things? Or are we accidentally slipping in to the same old habits, except with different foods? And are we failing to eat better (or, if it's your thing, failing to look better) as a result? As we've grown as a movement, more and more “programs” to help people get started have sprung up. These programs are good…when used as directed. And “as directed” means using these programs as a temporary (like, 30 days temporary) bridge for…, number one, cutting through the overwhelming task of switching to real food from a Standard American Diet (or any other “Diet,” whether that's Weight Watchers or Atkins or The Hollywood Cookie Diet) & shortening the learning curve.

And I’ll add a note there; I actually got an email from someone who really liked the email, but was also saying that she’d found a lot of peace and a lot of balance on Weight Watchers. And that is awesome. This email is about the mentality; it’s not about the actual program that you’re on. Because you can learn a ton from a program, and you can use it as intended, and it can be really set up for success, and I do have to say I think the new Weight Watcher’s is doing a good job of really embracing a little bit of a more body positive, just pro-health whole food approach, which I think is great. This is about the mentality.

Number two, what you’re using these programs for, “Getting a better grasp on what your body needs (and what it feels like without processed food), and three learning to cook real food, because for a lot of people who have never even turned on a stove, that can be the biggest impedance.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: So, the key word there was “temporary.” When not used as directed, these programs become…food jails and dependencies and missed opportunities. And when I was writing this, I was thinking about some of just the random like Kansas City mom’s groups I’m in; they’re not paleo groups, they’re not real food groups, they’re just moms groups. And I see threads constantly of people saying, “Ugh, can I have blank on the blank plan? Oh my gosh, I’m just dying! Last night I woke up at 3 a.m. and had 6 cookies.” And I just don’t see some of these programs associated with truly positive or revolutionary behavior. It really just seems like the old mentality being brought to the new program.

And for a lot of these people, they’re doing it for the 10th, 11th, 12th time. So it’s not a newbie with this; it’s a lot of people that are just consistently using these programs in a way that’s not really benefitting them, and that’s a bummer. So the whole point is these programs become accidental diets. And when I say “diet” I mean; and this is really the most important part; so when I say diet I mean:

1. A set of rules you follow because you feel that's the only way to do things “right” – as if a program holds the key to your health or happiness
2. A set of rules that becomes a “wagon” that you're either riding or falling off of in spectacular fashion; or
3. A set of rules you get REAL militant about rather than learning what foods work for you, which ones address your body's possible deficiencies, and what OTHER lifestyle factors are keeping you from reaching your goals.

And a lot of people feel like; well, I don’t have time for this, I just need a program, I need a list of what to do and what not to do. Ok, yeah, but if folks have all of this time to obsess over what is and isn’t on a program, they have time to learn a few extra things along the way.

So do you have anything to add at this point?

Diane Sanfilippo: I think what you were saying about people who are doing these plans 10, 11 times; it’s just such a red flag. I think the person who does it like once a year, or maybe does it once and then that was their first time, and then a few months later they do it again because they’re trying to learn, I feel like that’s kind of; I don’t want to deem it good or bad or right or wrong, but I feel like there’s a big difference there when someone feels like the program is the right way, and what I do the other times is not the right way. So if I’m not on the program then I’m not doing the right thing, and so I have to do the program multiple times a year, and all of that.

Whereas, for other people, and I definitely see this with the 21-Day Sugar Detox. Some people are just like, I really like how I feel when I’m on it and I use it as a reset now and then to give myself these confines because I know I feel really good when I do that, so they make the choice and they just happen to do it with that program because there is community and they can come do the recipes and whatever. And there’s a lot of positivity around it, but what you were talking about is totally; I mean, it’s just spot on with the mindset and the punishment and all of that stuff around, “I can’t have this, and I feel like I’m dying” or whatever.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Diane Sanfilippo: Where as when; you know, when I found going through trying to eat to a certain macro plan over the winter that worked really well for me, I always try and learn from it. Like, what is it about this….

Liz Wolfe: Yes! It’s data gathering.

Diane Sanfilippo: What is it about this that’s working. Yeah, and so I’m looking at; ok, well I’m actually going from eating all, you know more low-carb, higher fat and how do I feel doing that, and now I’m eating leaner meats again and a little bit more carb and I’m trying to pay attention for what does that mean for how I should build my plate as I move forward. Like, what do I enjoy eating, what works for my body, and my goals, and my energy, and it’s not always about aesthetics.

Although, of course, I’m someone in the public eye and I’m sensitive to that stuff too. I’d be lying if I said that I don’t fluctuate between wanting to lose some body fat or just going through times when I’m not in front of people, I really don’t care as much. I would rather feel great at the gym, have the energy I want to have, and just enjoy eating whatever the heck I want to eat and carry around an extra 5 or even 10 pounds, which gets to be a lot at only 5’4”, but when I am in front of people, I’m much more sensitive to that because I know how other people look at things, and I definitely want to be part of the conversation, which I think we are a part of, to kind of break that down a little bit and not always be in front of people looking super ripped. Which there’s nothing wrong with that, but if it takes you crazy extreme dieting to get there, then I don’t think that’s the right example to set.

But anyway, I digress. I think what you’re saying; when we get really militant and we are doing it because it’s a rule and we’re not taking it as something to learn from, then we’re becoming dogmatic and religious, and that’s not something that we want people to become around food choices.

Liz Wolfe: And also; ok, first of all, back to what you were talking about just a second ago. I want to point out that I just hope at some point the attitude of not caring, like society implores us to care, is not going to be this revolutionary thing. At some point, I hope we all just don’t give a crap, and it’s not some big revolutionary statement that we’re making, first of all. That came to my mind.

Second of all, I want to also point out that a lot of these programs; and not just real food programs, any program. The 21-day Fix, I think I saw an infomercial for that one time; and it got me thinking about how incredibly curated a lot of these programs are in their public image. So you only see Instagrams of somebody doing, you know, a workout and looking really awesome, or an Instagram of somebody’s hair looking really good. “Confession; I’m not wearing any makeup.” Yes you are.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Everything about these gurus; and I’ll talk about guru in a minute; it’s all highly curated and it’s all oriented around selling an image that therefore sells a program. So, I think that’s important to point out, because that’s kind of a different; when you’re buying into that, in a way you’re kind of doomed from the start. Whether or not these programs are trying to teach real food principles or not; you know, I don’t know, 21-Day Fix I think has some real food, some shakes, some BPA laden plastic; I don’t really know what it’s all about. But these programs in a way just aren’t set up for long-term success. Some of them, it does tend to be the truth I think that real food based programs tend to foster more success in the long term. But we were talking before we started recording, that just because they help more people than they harm doesn’t mean the people that are not doing so well or the people that are struggling mentally and emotionally are not important and don’t need to be addressed and uplifted, so that’s kind of why we’re doing this episode.

Diane Sanfilippo: Pete’s Paleo has opened a new location on the East Coast. Since they’re still operating out of San Diego, as well; this means local produce and meat coming from both coasts. And drastically reduced shipping prices. Check out their new and improved website, to take advantage of low shipping rates; and be sure to use coupon code 1FREEBACON. That’s the number 1; free bacon, and receive a free half pound of bacon with the purchase of a meal plan. Go to

4. Symptoms of accidental dieting [37:41]

Liz Wolfe: Alright, so all that said, I’ll get into basically the symptoms. How do you know you're an accidental dieter? So this was kind of that moment of self reflection where I went through everything I’ve gone through with relation to food and my relationship to whatever diet I was on or whatever real food program I was on. These are the symptoms; you're still emotionally tortured about your food choices, your ability to make decent decisions, or how your body looks. You still think of food in terms of “bad” or “good” or worse – “approved” or “not approved” …even 30 days later, or 21 days later, or however many days later. You're still looking at someone else's body or life and hoping your chosen “program” will bring you closer to looking or living like THAT. Or; you have a “guru” you look to rather than being your own guru.

So, I think those were maybe the points that kind of hit folks hardest; at least that’s the feedback that I got. Because I got a ton of people saying, “Thank you for this!” Like, this is exactly what I needed to hear today, I’m really struggling. And the whole point of this, like I said a minute ago Diane, I think you dropped off. The whole point of this is we’re all ok. You’re not being judged if this is where you are in your journey, at all. Just remember that if you are there, it’s going to be ok. Just keep swimming. “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: You don’t have to stagnate. You’re not doomed to repeat the same cycles that frustrate you so much over and over. We’re not reading this; we’re not talking about this to make folks feel badly about, whatever, not doing it “right”. You know; you're not doing it right one way, you’re not doing it right another way. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

So the point is, the root issue here, and this is part of my email, is that we don't trust ourselves. We've internalized society's message that we're not good enough, and that we need outside help as a constant crutch if we want to become “more” or “better.”

So deep down, we don't think we're truly capable of success, and so we fail. So I think that this is just, ask yourself what you’re communicating to yourself with what you’re doing. So this is something actually that, I do a lot with my kid, and I probably overthink it. But I think a lot of times we treat ourselves almost more absently than we treat anyone else in our lives. So a lot of times, I think I forget that my kid is a person {laughs}. Sometimes she annoys me, or she’s being difficult or whatever, and I forget that this is a human being that my actions and my words communicate to, intentionally or unintentionally. And a lot of times, we kind of treat ourselves that way, or our bodies that way. Our body isn’t doing what we want it to do, it’s not responding how we want it to respond, so we start this mode of communication with ourselves that is frustrated, it’s misunderstanding, and it’s not positive. And it’s not honoring of the humanity in each of us.

So I don’t know, that’s kind of the question I ask myself a lot of times now, is what am I communicating to my kid, even unintentionally? So, maybe I think through discipline I’m communicating she shouldn’t do something. But whoops, I’m actually communicating that she is bad. I don’t want to communicate to myself or to my kid that we are bad; I want to communicate what might be better choices and why. So that kind of went on a tangent there.

But the point is, a lot of times we don’t realize what we’re communicating to ourselves or others, but we need to really get down to brass tacks and analyze what we’re really communicating to ourselves. And that can really open I think some doors from there.

So what needs to happen? So the answer that I presented in my email, and the reason I thought nobody was going to read it, because the answer is really hippie-dippy, and I think a lot of times we want concrete steps. But the fact is, just because it’s a hippie-dippy answer, doesn't mean it’s any less on-point. And here’s what I said.

“The fact is, even if the food changes, if the mental approach to how you think about yourself doesn't shift, then the struggle continues. I don't mean changing the mental approach, as in changing what you think qualifies as food for your body. Because that’s what we really get stuck on, right? ‘I don’t eat that food anymore. This is real, nourishing food for my body. I eat real food.’ But what is the overall approach that you bring to that choice; that’s the important thing.

So my whole point is, changing the “mental approach” means stripping away everything. Even the body composition goals, just for a minute, the “I want to look like THAT person who isn't me” stuff, and taking away the “I have 30 days to fix myself or I've failed” mentality. Just strip it to the bone; that’s not saying any of those thoughts are right or wrong, it’s not labeling that, but it’s really taking away all of those things and stripping it down to the very, very basics, and recognizing that what really needs to change even before the food and before the goals is that subconscious mind-set that we are 1. Not good enough; 2. Have never been good enough; and 3. Are simply incapable of being good enough, ever – and that we need to live our lives on a “program” or by a set of dietary regulations if we ever want a chance of being good enough.

So if you take away all that stuff, and that is what you see; and I’m not saying that is what you’re going to see, because this doesn’t apply to everybody. But if you strip all those things away and you see that that root of this is that you don’t think you’re good enough, you never will be good enough, or ever have been good enough, then this is for you.

Most of us don't realize when that’s our mindset. But if deep down it is, there are probably some really clear symptoms. And the symptoms I listed, there’s 3 of them; first up, constantly being frustrated about cravings, failures, and falling off the wagon; second one is feeling like you can't trust yourself to make a decent decision; and the third one is beating yourself up about past failures…and fully expecting more failures in the future.

And we’ve talked about this before. At some point, I just stopped. I just stopped thinking that way, and it was so, so freeing. And I learned, I think if we can’t embrace ourselves in the now, even though we feel like we’re imperfect or we have a lot of work to do or we need to change, or whatever; if we can’t give ourselves grace now we probably aren’t going to be able to do it at any point in the process or after the 30 days, or at any other time – even if we do manage to make some changes that we’re proud of.

Because I really, really, really know in my heart that change starts from the inside and not the outside – which means that loving yourself and giving yourself grace starts BEFORE you change your body and not after, and it’s what actually enables you to have success at whatever it is you’re choosing to do.

So. That was kind of the whole email.

Diane Sanfilippo: Hear, hear!

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. Was that the part you liked; I think you liked that part.

Diane Sanfilippo: I mean, I like all of it. All of it makes sense. I think something that happens a lot is that social media just kind of magnifies a lot of insecurities that people have, and if you think about; there have always been ways for that to happen. There’s always been a conversation around diet and all that, and commercials on TV and whatever, but I feel like everyone was sort of more able to just do their thing and be on their own and not have as much of a peek into other people’s curated lives so much. It was so few people in the spotlight who were “celebrities”, and now anybody can become this person in the spotlight, and whether or not {laughs} most of the time it’s not somebody we should be looking at. We should just be dealing with our own selves, and I think that goes back to that guru thing.

I know you and I have always felt really uncomfortable with people referring to us as a guru. And I understand it; people look at it as like you’re a teacher, but I just think there’s a lot more loaded into that word, and I’m like; I am just like you. I’m a regular person figuring this stuff out, sharing thoughts and experiences along the way. I think unfortunately with social media, we end up sort of idolizing certain programs and people and whatever else. And like you said, feeling like we can’t trust ourselves because somehow we feel like we have to trust this other person or program. And you know, feeling like a failure because someone says, “that’s not on the program.” It just; it becomes all too much.

And you know, I get the other thing that you’re touching on here is; look, however long any program is supposed to be, whether it’s the 21-Day Sugar Detox or a two- week meal plan or a 30-day meal plan or whatever it is, unfortunately the shorter and more doable it seems, because we don’t want to overwhelm people. So if I write 30-day meal plans in Practical Paleo, it’s because I’m not going to write you a 6-month meal plan in a book {laughs} where I can’t fit it and it’s not practical for me to write that kind of a plan. Because it’s not practical for someone else to tell you how to eat for most of your life. It’s practical for me to say, “here’s an approach to take for maybe this month. Here’s 21 days, here’s whatever.”

But what’s funny is, I definitely found personally that when I approach something as a 3-month, 12-week; you know I did, over the winter, it was a 12-week thing; it was so much more of a learning process, just inherently, because you knew that it wasn’t a quick fix, you knew that you were going to have to create different habits and learn things, and the longer amount of time makes it feel more like I’m learning things for a lifestyle, and it’s almost like, if we could create a program that’s like, “here’s a 30-year program that you’re going to follow.” That would be the most realistic because that would be the slowest, smallest changes; the mindset, everything. And I think the problem is; we’ve said this so many times; we have gotten to this place, let’s just say our average listener is 35. You spent 35 years doing what you’ve been doing, having the inputs you’ve been having with your body, and you expect everything to change in the next 3 weeks? It’s so unrealistic. It’s so unrealistic. So looking at a program as an educational tool, and dropping any other meaning about what being on it or off it means about you as a person. Because it doesn’t mean anything about you as a person and your worth and your value and your contribution to society and your family and friends and all of that; whether or not you're doing a program, whether or not you succeed on it, whether or not you like it, you want to do it again; none of that means anything. Especially if your experience with the program wasn’t “I learned something, I can apply it to my life, and move on from there.”

So maybe I’m getting a little bit off topic.

Liz Wolfe: That’s kind of the theme of the podcast today.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, it’s like, be on it but don’t be on it. {laughs} So, yeah, I think what we’re saying is that these plans really, and the intention should be, and I think everyone needs to hear this to be freed from the reins, that a program is there to teach you something, and it’s just like, we’re not in school our whole lives. Right? We’re not in a classroom our entire lives, at some point you have to take what you’ve learned and apply it out there, and you have to be responsible for yourself. You can’t put your own health and choices and self-worth and decision making process in anyone else’s hands; you are responsible for yourself. And you're ok to be responsible for yourself. You’re perfectly capable of that; especially when you take information that you learn and apply your filter and apply it to your life, right? You read Practical Paleo; you read Eat the Yolks; you go through the program, whatever you do, and you take what you need and leave the rest. You just don’t take all of it with you forever, because it’s just not going to serve you.

Liz Wolfe: So this whole podcast is not about demonizing 30-day challenges or whatever you're talking about. This is about; ok, so this is about programs being our entry point into this discussion. Because it just so happens that programs can and often might distract folks from what actually needs to shift in order for them to have the success that they want. This is not against programs, at all; they have absolutely utility. The whole point of my email was like, if you’re not using as directed.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Liz Wolfe: So, going into them with the expectation that you’re going to gather data about yourself, for however long; 12 weeks of gathering data, and ideas, and assistance to get you going. But you don’t want to have training wheels your whole biking career; right? You start out with some assistance, and some help, and sometimes you haven’t ridden your bike for a while, so you go back to the basics and you remind yourself of what’s important and you go on from there. I mean, obviously there are so, so many shades of gray here. This email was for the people it was for. The email was for the people that were like; wow, that is me. That is me right there. You know?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: We’re running out of time.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, the people who get in that mindset of, “if some is good more is better.” You know? Just the constant; yeah. Who don’t just do it, and “great, I learned something.” And move on. You know? And adapt. I think it’s a good discussion to have, and I think we’ll probably continue somewhat on this topic in another episode, we’ll see kind of what the responses are and what you guys are all thinking; definitely leave us some comments and further questions and we’ll get into this more in another future episode.

Liz Wolfe: Our podcast sponsorship today comes from Vital Choice, an online purveyor of the world’s best wild seafood delivered right to your door; because juggling a busy life shouldn’t mean you have to forgo healthy meals. At, you’ll find wild Alaskan salmon, halibut, tuna, sable fish, and cod, as well as prawns, crab, and scallops. You’ll also find grass-fed organic Wagyu beef, free range heritage chicken, fresh frozen organic berries, and dark organic chocolates. Make a vital choice by eating the highest quality food you can. Vital Choice; come home to real food. Use code BALANCEDBITES to save on your first order at

5. How to stop accidental dieting [53:04]

Liz Wolfe: Can I read the end of the email to close this out?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, of course.

Liz Wolfe: Alright. Very good. So, here we go. Yeah, maybe we could be healthier or happier versions of ourselves, but that doesn't mean that fundamentally we aren't good, or worthy, or capable NOW. A big part of the mindset that needs to change is the one of constantly comparing ourselves to OTHER PEOPLE (and if you've scrolled through your Instagram feed and envied another person's body as “better” than yours, you might fit that description).

What we REALLY need is to use any short-term challenge to gather data about ourselves without judgment; to enjoy the journey; and to keep our eyes on our own bodies and our own plates. If that learning process starts with a challenge or a program, great! The goal, though, isn't just completing that program. It's coming off the program with enough wisdom to set your own rules from there.

So, here's how to stop accidentally dieting:

Don't just follow instructions; work on learning why something works well for you so you can take the reins for yourself. Be patient and learn as you're able. (Podcasts are a great tool for this, so you can learn as you drive, walk, or clean.) You don't have to know everything right now.

If something doesn't seem to be working, don't blame yourself and give up (this is what leads to “falling off the wagon”). Just observe, take note, and try something different. Remove that emotional anguish from the equation so you can operate from a stable foundation.

Remember that this isn't a race. You're climbing a mountain, and 30 days is not enough to reach the top. 30 days gets you started. 30 days gives you tools. Now, you need to use those tools – or trade them in for new ones as appropriate.

Remember you're on a mission to gather data about yourself so you can tweak your approach as needed.

Self-experiment. If you think something might work for you (whether that's adding carbs, targeted supplementation, having some damn ice cream, or eating crêpes), give it a try with a balanced state of mind. The last thing you need is guilt. “Treats” don't make us “fall off the wagon.” Guilt and shame do.

Understand that you're capable of running your own life, and changing your own life, and that you know your body better than anybody else on the planet.

I think we all come to the real food community wanting to be healthier and happier, and to become the best versions of ourselves. But to do that, there are some sneaky and toxic mindsets that we need to ditch, and accidental dieting is one of them. And scene.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ha, love it. So good. So good.

6. #Treatyoself: Fork in the Road chicken sausages [55:40]

Liz Wolfe: Alright, so maybe it would be appropriate to do a little treat yoself.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Should we; we should do one? We love a good treat yoself.

Liz Wolfe: Love to.

Diane Sanfilippo: Alright, here’s my treat yoself. Fork in the Road chicken sausages; look, treat yoself doesn’t mean things are always indulgent, not indulgent.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s just, I like it. It’s just something I like, and try it. That’s all it is. So I really like these Fork in the Road chicken sausages; they’re really yummy. I actually really like their pork sausages too, but when I was doing; here’s my learning process. When I was doing my macros program, which meant I was eating less fat, I gave the chicken sausages a try, and let me tell you guys, I don’t normally like chicken sausage. It’s like turkey bacon to me; it shouldn’t exist and let’s not even try. But I was like, I’ll give them a whirl. And I really like them. And so I usually try and buy them on sale, because they’re kind of pricy. But yeah, Fork in the Road chicken sausages. I think it’s the Fuji apple ones that I really like; really tasty and yeah. I don’t know, give them a whirl. Not paid to say it, just love them. {laughs} I mean, even though we have sponsors, we would talk about those people anyway at some point, I’m sure. But yeah. I mean, we only have sponsors we love. But there you go.

Liz Wolfe: Alrighty then. Well, that’s it for this week then. You can find me, Liz, at and you can find Diane at Join our email lists for free goodies and updates that you don’t find anywhere else on our website or on the podcast. Or, join our email lists for emails like the one I sent out at the beginning of the week. While you’re on the internet, leave us an iTunes review. See you next week.

Comments 6

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  5. I very much enjoy your podcasts and listen to them for hours at a time while I drive. My interest was peaked regarding the moringa use and I set off to read of all the benefits to decide whether or not it was something I wanted to use.
    I was surprised to find out that it can be used as an abortificient according to this article: and wanted to bring it to your attention since “baby making” is in your wheelhouse, Liz.
    In my case it’s significant that moringa “exerts estrogenic activity” since that’s the last thing this girl needs!
    Thank you for the informative show and for keeping me company on the road!

    1. Post

      Hi Chance- for specific notes to Liz, it’s ideal to contact her via her site as she won’t see comments here as readily. One quick note that not all websites that have information are to be weighed equally in their accuracy. So, while I’m not familiar with this ingredient personally, I’d just take things you read as a one-off with a grain of salt!

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