What kind of glasses do you wear?

two pairs of glasses

For the better part of two years now I’ve been actively involved in interacting with, and observing the victories and struggles of many who have started Eat to Live. I’ve discovered a common thread among those who succeed at getting their health back and those who repeatedly live in cycles of defeat.

It is my observation that gender, age, education, social or financial status, career choice, and even support from others or lack thereof, don’t necessarily determine one’s success or failure. In a nutshell, the commonalities of those who succeed and those who repeatedly fail boils down to what kind of “glasses” the two groups wear. In other words, their perspectives determine the outcome.   

Those who succeed have a mindset from day one onward to do whatever it takes to live in the best, optimal health possible. They are focused on assimilating Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritional information so that they can learn how to take excellent care of their body. They view the opportunity to earn health back as a privilege, and that perspective gives them a tremendous amount of pleasure and satisfaction with the nutritarian eating-style. They thoroughly enjoy eating for health. Even with therapeutic fasting for a couple of days or a long stretch throughout the night, they view it as a means to optimal health; giving the body complete digestive rest to clean toxins and repair damaged cells. As they become healthier with each passing day, they feel great! This “feel good” attitude fuels ongoing success for life.

Conversely, those who repeatedly fail have a mindset from day one onward of dieting. Their finish line is merely a number on the scale.  Typically, they view Eat to Live as just another diet book to lose weight and their focus is on restrictive deprivation. Dieting mentality invites “cheating”, and with continuous cheating taste buds never change and one never gets free from toxic food addiction. It also requires continual mental and emotional exertion, and yields much frustration; resulting in repeated failed attempts, lack of confidence, false guilt and consequent binge eating. This state of being holds one captive in continual poor health for life. 

One’s perspective determines the outcome. 

What kind of glasses do you wear?


image credits: somewhereinchicago.blogspot.com; family-eye-care.thrivesmart.com

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Comments (26) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Essie - May 21, 2010 6:38 AM

Another great post, Emily! But what advice to those who wear the dieter's glasses? In other words, how would someone go about changing one's attitude? Isn't it deeper than merely deciding to do it?

I have seen a few people (in my short time at the Member Center) shift from an initial "giving this a try" skepticism to "wow, this is really working" excitement, but those are the folks who are already open to the possibilities of Eat to Live (or Eat for Health).

It's the folks who struggle so much with "I will never succeed" feelings that I feel deep empathy for! It doesn't seem to me like a lack of faith in the science and guidelines of the plan--because there's plenty of clear evidence right there at the Member Center that it works!--but a lack of faith in themselves, or a conviction that nothing ever goes right *for them,* including this. In other words, these folks wear these glasses all the time, and view ETL through them, like they view most other things.

How can that be changed? I don't know. It's just something I've been thinking about as I watch people struggle.

Gary - May 21, 2010 7:38 AM

Absolutely! 100% correct! This is my story, I used to think of "dieting" of getting to some kind of goal or number. Now I see this as a lifestyle, and an incredibly enjoyable and satisfying one at that. I know what you mean by the changing of the taste buds and the "feel good" attitude. Thanks again for all your encouragement! And thanks to Dr. Furhman for his! And most of all thanks to God!

Claudia - May 21, 2010 9:07 AM


Thought precedes action. If a person believes they can't do something, they will not be able to. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In order for a person to get over the idea that they cannot succeed, they need to look around and take notice of all of the successes being enjoyed on this program by people from all walks of life, and to realize that they are not different from everyone else in the world. They need to be able to relate to other people, and to realize that they are perfectly capable of doing what so many others have done. With all of the great success stories that abound, it is not difficult to find people that you can identify and relate to if you open your eyes and look!

I've been around long enough to know that there is an unusually high rate of long term success on this program. Furthermore, people are achieving this sustained success after having experienced a lifetime of yo-yo dieting. One can choose to wear blinders, and hyper-focus on the few who are struggling, and haven't made it yet, and relate to them, or one can choose to focus on and relate to the people in the countless success stories. Just look at all these successful people, and realize that they are regular people just like you and me, and that if they can do it, then so can you!

Sometimes people just need to take a bigger look at the world around them, and come to understand that there just isn't anything that makes them so different than all these successful people.


aunt cia - May 21, 2010 9:29 AM

Emily...thank you! Having worn both kinds of glasses, I'm here to tell you and all who will hear that the nutritarian lifestyle change was and is worth every effort and stumble and rising again to get here! I'm not totally where I want to be yet, but this journey has been all about forgetting the numbers, choosing to eat for health and enjoying the newfound energy, blood pressure reduced to healthy range, etc. It's worth the strange looks from skeptics, the ridicule from the convicted and the lonely days where it seems all others do not get this. It is worth it!

Barbara - May 21, 2010 9:40 AM

HI Essie,

Your comment is very thoughtful and right on the mark. I know this sounds hokey, and I don't read many self-help books so don't have anything to back this up with, but I really think you can practice having a positive attitude. I think you can repeat to yourself, I am a wonderful person, and smile when you do it, and feel some joy about it. And repeat to yourself, I am worthy of love. I think that makes a big difference. I think it can stop a person from going down the binge path. Replace the "I can't succeed" with "I am wonderful" Replace "this food is awful" with "I'll give this a try, what the heck!" Replace "I can't afford this" with "This is going to be fun, making all these crazy concoctions!" (and yes, you can do this on a budget). Replace "Everyone will think I'm weird" with "I'll be a good example." Practice in every situation. You'll discover you can turn every negative into a positive! I'm not saying it's easy, but it does help to do this. :)


LaurieInOklahoma - May 21, 2010 10:13 AM

When I was first diagnosed with MS, a relative sent me a book called "The MS Diet". I actually tried it, but it involved eating stuff like cottage cheese with the whey rinsed off, and I didn't stay with it.

In contrast, because there are so many totally delicious nutritarian foods, I was enabled to see earning my health back as a privilege. And what a privilege it is!! Mother Nature could have been cruel; it might have been that once oa person had type 2 diabetes or MS or heart disease, those conditions invariably became worse and worse. How excited I was when I found out that was not the case. (I should mention that although heart disease and diabetes can be reversed at almost any stage, in the later stages of MS dietary change is not effective. The earlier on one changes, with MS, the better.)

I have observed that those who struggle to eat healthy continue to see junk foods as "better" than nutritarian foods. It was a real eye-opener for me when my husband first refused a piece of cake at a social event, thinking to himself "That's not good enough for me". He really meant it. It was devoid of fiber and micronutrients, and actively damaging to his health. It also lacked the nuances of flavor that natural plant foods contain, being glaringly overly sweet.

SAD foods aren't "better". Nutritarian foods are better.

Great column, Emily, and some great comments.


Horsecrazy - May 21, 2010 11:34 AM

Emily - well written as always. There are so many at the Member Center that I hope will read this and take it to heart! Eat to Live and Eat for Health cannot be looked at as just a means to lose weight. They certainly can accomplish that but we all need to see this as a way of life. Not I do this, lose the weight, and then go right back to what I was doing. I guarantee you I am with this plan for life!! And I expect it to be a LONG life!! Age 61 in years but much younger in the way I feel!!

Sue - May 22, 2010 9:20 AM

Great article, Emily! I think developing a simple framework of meal plans and variety of delicious recipes is a great start. People should follow it for 6 weeks, with a daily diary of food intake, exercise, noted benefits/effects (not just weight loss) and other comments. This sets the wheels in motion, and the diary can be a tangible reminder/motivator. I'm going to try this framework at my workplace in the fall (I'm the wellnees committee chairperson). A good mindset can follow initial success as well. The important thing is if there was a lapse on a given day or days, people should simply brush themselves off and continue with confidence and determination, instead of the all or nothing mentality. For some, the good mindset is basically unflappable from day 1, but I think for most succeed in the end, it comes with more fits and starts.

patty - May 22, 2010 11:41 AM


I feel that a shift of perception happens with ETL. Is it not within my view of how or when it happens, just that it is happening. I know by my life experience ETL it is a process. The body tells the person when eating nutritious and delicious tasting foods change happens and self-care becomes a reality where it is the most important care.

Listen to the word diet, that is the old style paradigm, now listen to the word Eat To Live, that is the new style paradigm. From a lifestyle change of self empowerment through ETL, a shift happens where change is welcomed. I see people, animals and all creatures of nature rejoicing because the earth is in balance with ETL. We have the power through ETL to eradicate disease while empowering everything within our view.

Mahalo for checking my I's... love patty

Susan - May 24, 2010 1:18 PM

I agree Emily, but I also think mentally it is more challenging for some than others, even with the right attitude. I think a great addition to this program is Dr. Daniel Amen's, Change Your Brain, Change Your Body.

Lisa - May 24, 2010 1:37 PM

One comment I'll make as a newbie to the nutritarian lifestyle is that it takes time to develop new behaviors. I'm pretty good with ETL but I'm no saint. I'm never leaving chocolate. Period. And well, I still like coffee. My sins aside some years ago I came up with two acronyms for D.I.E.T.

DIET = Diet Is Everyday Torture
DIET = Diet Is Eating Today

I had to decide which of these I was going to follow so I choose to focus on "Diet is Eating Today". Much of my life is "one day at a time" and this is no exception. I hope this helps.

Robyn Chuter - May 24, 2010 5:17 PM

Essie, you've hit the nail on the head. The deep, underlying belief that 'nothing works for me' or 'I don't deserve to succeed with this' will overrride the strongest intellectual commitment to any program for self-improvement. Women seem to be particularly prone to making value judgments about themselves based on what they eat ('if I eat chocolate, I am bad'), and of course, when they feel bad about themselves they feel driven to eat sweet food.
As a nutritionist who has been teaching the ETL approach to my clients for years, it frustrated me endlessly that some people would sabotage their own progress again and again. Now I incorporate EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), a form of energy psychology, into my practice. I use EFT to target and change those deeply-ingrained beliefs that people often don't even realise they have, and also to neutralise addictions to unhealthy foods which stop many people from even starting the program.
EFT + ETL = lasting success!

Jerry Amos - May 24, 2010 8:37 PM

I've got "irregular cells" in my prostate, and my wife has some "watch" areas on her breast. Second opinions enabled us to avoid drastic side effects and expense of conventional treatment. We read "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell, eminent scientist, which gives scientific analysis and statistics about the "diseases of affluence "heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, osteoporosis, dementia, .... These diseases directly follow from the "diet of affluence" heavily based on animal foods. Plant foods not animal foods fight these diseases of affluence. Dr. Fuhrman's site and books take the scientific data to a practical useful level for us. We have a vegan diet, feel just fine, weights are just right, she triathlons at age 71 and I'm 75 and exercise 6 days a week.

Sara - May 24, 2010 9:15 PM

Lisa- Try Dr Fuhrman's chocolate smoothie recipe. You don't have to give up chocolate- just the fat and sugar.

Ginny - May 25, 2010 5:29 AM

I didn't like this article. I think it is harmful to people who are struggling yet not 100% successful. I went for 6 months, ETL but after some major stressors in my life I strayed and have found it hard to get back. It is pain that takes me out, a desire to give up on life. This article tells me I am a failure. I don't think so, I have had much success with this way of eating. SAD food is more than just tastes that we are accustomed to, there are many memories attached to these foods too. To say that eating a food 15 x's makes it a habit is not true. It takes more than that. How many amongst us have eaten this way for 5 years? I will never quit trying to stay the course, my goal is to keep my cholesterol low, bp low and of course my weight low. To lose weight is to be healthier!!!!! Yes, it is a diet! Lose the belly fat, lose weight all over and you will be healthier! Don't label me. You don't know me.

Phoenix - May 25, 2010 9:42 AM

Ginny, I can hear you. I, too, didn't like this article. It puts labels on people and labels a good deal of people as failures because of the way they view the program.

The world is definiely not THAT black and white. People should consider this before raving about how good that article is.

Some people should also ask themselves if they've always been holier than the pope, always been perfect from the first day on and maybe they won't judge the motivation or state of mind other people are in and belittle their struggles.

For some it is a longer journey. Everyone has a diferent learning curve. And some might never get to their goals for whatever reason.

EFT sounds interesting. Can one learn it without a therapist?

Michael - May 25, 2010 12:47 PM

I also didn't like this article for the same reasons. While I'm sure a person's mindset, outlook, whatever is helpful to being successful on this program, it would be more productive to focus on techniques, methods, etc. that helped the person change to be able to eat this way. I have lost over 75 lbs. over the past 10 years, but the eating plan has been secondary to changing the way I think and act in general. Using counseling, Overeaters Anonymous, journaling and ETL have all helped me tremendously, but without the first 3, I was completely unable to follow a ETL or a similar eating plan for more than a day. This is a complex issue that just can't be solved with a positive attitude and ETL for every person.

Marcia - May 25, 2010 7:51 PM

Dear Robyn,
You can access info about EFT at www.emofree.com or google Gary Craig. At the webssite you can download a free manual and sign up for a free newsletter. Much success in your endeavors!

MIke Rubino - May 25, 2010 8:53 PM

I liked the article and do not understand what the complaint is about it. Emily didnt label anyone she just stated that those with a more positive mindset were more successful in weight loss than those that didnt have such a mindset.Mindset is big in whatverver one does as its a motivator. She was not critical she just was making an observation and passing it along to those who want to succeed.

I pass the following along to my son about mindset. I was on a golf team in the 60s that was loaded with talent. One fellow out of the 5 or 6 with that talent made it big and is now in the PGA Hall Of Fame.None of the other fellows made it on tour. From a physical standpoint he was the least talented but he had the most positive mindset of any person Ive ever met.

One day in the 70s I met him at a PGA tour stop, he said to me, hey Mike, why dont you play in the US Amateur, if you finish in the top 8 youll qualify for the Masters and you can stay with me in Augusta. Now I had never looked on myself as a top finisher in the US Amateur nor a player in the Masters but here is this fellow who has won over 20 tour events thinking that I was. Thats mindset. It dawned on me that if he was in my shoes he would be thinking that he could and that was why he was so successful .

So you really have to go after things that you want like a dog after a bone. Including getting healthy and eating right.

Elijah Lynn - May 26, 2010 10:51 AM

I wear magic glasses! They show me anything I want to see and I thank my father for that.

My companions father always says, "Look good feel good, feel good do good". I have started dressing a bit nicer now and just dressing nicely can make you feel good and when I feel good I do good. Tony Robbins & Sean Stevenson also talk quite a bit about posture, attitude & energy being related.

This is some great perspective Emily and I am sure it will help many people including myself!

Tom McGlinchey - May 28, 2010 7:17 AM

This is an excellent article and the psychological viewpoint is very helpful. It is similar to Albert Ellis' Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy. He says that just because we find something difficult does not mean it is TOO difficult. He developes the idea of short-term and long-term hedonism, with long-term benefits uaually being much more important, like good health, than giving in time and time again to immediate short-term temptations of "just one" cookie/milkshake etc. Is it ever really just the one ? The other aspect of breaking the standards we set ourselves is we are generally not at all forgiving of that behaviour in others. What is the standard breaker's reaction to the car mechanic who says they cut corners repairing your brakes because they were not in the mood, under stress, pushed for time etc. Let's keep our promises to ourselves, concentrate on the long-term benefits rather than short-term discomfort and be grateful for role models like Emily, who share their own experiences and time so generously. You are an inspiration, Emily. Tom

Jane - May 28, 2010 1:40 PM

I think this article is far too simplistic. There are simply not just two groups of people in the world that's ridiculous. I find the article makes me feel really angry. It doesn't give any hope to people who are struggling. It makes me feel that I'm doomed to failure as I simply don't have the right kind of 'glasses'.

Anyway. there are clearly 3 types of people in the world - those who can do math and those who can't :)

Claudia - June 1, 2010 7:56 AM


Saying that a person doesn't have the right kind of glasses is just another way of saying that they need to change their perspective, or see things in another light. It does not mean that they are doomed. We always have the possible to put on a new pair of glasses and consider things from a new perspective. People have great capacity to make dramatic changes in their lives, and that includes paradigm shifts, where a person puts on new glasses and sees things in a new light.


Joanna - June 4, 2010 3:38 PM

Each of these articles has led me to homogenize my thinking and has given me hope once again. I can have it all. Just don't get stuck in any one-way thinking. Frankly, I've had a few bad breaks recently and was doubting my self. No more of that. I'm a winner! And, frankly, Dr. F's diet is delicious and makes good sense. I know it works from the past, I just got off track for a bit. A big THANK YOU to each of you writing in. Joanna

Michelle - August 17, 2010 11:43 AM

I loved this article. And whether we argue if it's a "good" or a "bad" article, it was good for one person at least- me. I was on the fence. I'm ready to go home tonight and stop being on the fence. I will shop and plan my meals. Thanks to everyone writing in to comment on this article. I've taken points that have stuck out at me and am putting them in a word document that I can open whenever I'm feeling "on the fence". Personally I think those who read this and don't like it, were the ones especially who needed to read it!

Con - November 22, 2010 11:03 PM

So very true! When I finally came to the conclusion that I have to eat super healthy to have super health, I jumped in all the way! I went completely raw for several months and it has been an exhilarating, fun and interesting experience. It has not been onerous or difficult at all. I eat mostly raw with some cooked veggies and beans thrown in as Dr. Fuhrman suggests. Losing some weight and feeling great makes it easy to maintain this way of eating (and thinking):)

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