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Creative Eating vs Dieting

From Chapter 3 of

It’s Not a Diet, It’s Creative Eating!

Creative Eating or Dieting, which sounds more appealing? I personally prefer creative eating to dieting, and it has changed my life along with my waistline. Now that we’ve all read too many diet books, let’s stop for a moment to discuss creative eating instead of dieting. What’s the difference between dieting and creative eating?

Dieting to most of us usually means we start and stop a restricted way of eating. It means among other things, we eliminate one type of food (no bread sound familiar?) either permanently or for several weeks; we may skip meals, eat only particular foods or even give up favorite foods (giving up all our desserts for instance?). Some diets have us counting points while some have us ordering specially prepared foods. Some have exact meal plans we must follow, and some of them have us eating only certain foods in the AM and so on. Some diets even claim to help us lose fat in one area of our body (not true). Dieting unfortunately also means to too many of us losing weight only to regain it again at some later point. I call this the eternal yo-yo diet (I was on one once myself!).

So, this tip is based upon a few ideas that I have found to be helpful to create a long- term personal way to eat. It’s part of a lifestyle because I believe creating a way to eat is an art that each of us brings a personal palette to it. I have seen that we can have more fun while we lose if we treat it as such. While this is not an overnight process, I like to view it as a challenging journey. My Creative Eating Program has phases just like the change process has stages. We’ll read more about the phases of the program in my Let’s Get Structured Chapter.

So, Creative Eating is when we eat foods we like; try new foods, new combinations, and new cooking methods. Creative eating allows us to eat a variety of foods; it allows us to eat more food than when we’re usually dieting (very important to me); it allows us to feel satisfied instead of restricted. Lastly, it can lead us to develop new tastes, and to learn a new way of eating while we learn to maintain weight loss as we lose for the long haul. I’ve come to love the way I eat on a regular basis, and you can too.

Creative Eating is not a quick weight loss scheme; it is not a specific diet, nor does it just happen easily, or overnight. Trial and error definitely applies to creativity! And yes, since we all have taste, we all love food but we all hate dieting, we can become creative. Okay, here are just a few tips to become what I call a Creative Eater.

  • Try New Food Combinations: My motto here is “Make it a Combo”. I tried adding non- fat cottage cheese to my oatmeal and found this new hearty version more enjoyable (yes, I said cottage cheese after all, don’t we add warm milk to oatmeal?). I always eat more than one type of food at every meal or snack giving me more tastes, and textures.
  • Try Low-fat substitutions: An example might be sautéing our food in chicken stock instead of oil, or using cottage cheese instead of other higher fat cheeses (my favorite replacement for goat cheese and ricotta). Let’s try different herbs, Mother Nature’s arsenal of disease fighting weapons instead of high fat butters, creams and oils. “Go Lean” another tool of mine is my motto here that adds up to make long- term body fat loss.
  • Try New Foods. Let’s try new or not new foods. Many times our likes/dislikes are formed in childhood. Let’s try again! Let’s be open! Try new cooking methods. Sometimes we need to give our taste bud cells a chance to turnover to adapt to a new taste. What do I mean? We reinforce or even desensitize our tastes after eating the same foods with the same condiments. We grow new taste bud cells all the time and the bud turnover is about every 3 months for each. Ever remember giving up salt on food after loving it only to really hate salty food afterward? This is one reason to give low fat food preparation a chance (such as grilled or steamed without all the sauce) or a leaner choice I (fish anyone instead of red meat?).
  • Pick More High Volume- Nutrient Dense Food. Okay, I’m back to more veggies (fruits, fish etc. too)! The variety of vegetables is almost endless. Let’s try making veggies the major part of our plate. Let’s try new combinations of vegetables; try different colors, shapes, and textures. Let’s get creative with what we add to the veggies. Believe it or not, I have a plate of veggies almost every eve as an appetizer, and then I’m stuffed and too tired from chewing to eat a huge dinner plate.
  • Make a Pretty Plate. “Food feeds our Senses” is a tip of mine. Let’s take our cue from famous chefs who spend much time on food presentation. When we feed our other senses such as sight, we may actually eat less.
  • View Eating Creatively as a Challenge. Make creative eating a challenge rather than a chore! This is just as important as deciding to lose weight. Our perspective can make a difference between success and failure. If we can view learning to eat a new way as a challenge instead of a chore, we just might live up to it!

So now that we’ve put on our creative thinking caps on with a few creative eating tools, we’re ready to begin our journey. A little stuck on creativity? Shop for spa cuisine cookbooks and let’s give our brain cells a little push. Let’s get started on a journey to changing the way we eat, and the way we think so we may lose weight, keep it off and become creative eaters one day at a time, one tip at a time. Here are the best of my weight loss tips, favorites of my readers over the years. Read them to gear up for our program, and come back to them time to time to learn and stay motivated.

About The Author

June M. Lay M.S. – Health Coach

Nutritionist & Weight Loss Specialist

Women’s Exercise Specialist

Master’s Degree in Women’s Health, Rosalind Franklin School of Medicine

B.S. Behavioral Science, Behavioral/Cognitive Counselor and Health Coach, NSHC

A.C.S.M. Certified Health & Fitness Specialist

American Dietetic Association, Nutritionist A.A.S. & Certified Adult Weight Management Specialist

Medical Exercise Specialist The American Academy of Health and Fitness Rehabilitative Professionals

Lifestyle Columnist,,

Health Writer and Published Author of It’s NOT a Diet, it’s Creative Eating”!

For more information on June, visit