7 Ingredients of Ancient Food Wisdom to Make New Year’s Resolutions Obsolete

Losing weight is one of the top New Year’s resolutions that millions make each year. Yet despite the best of intentions, many people continue to struggle with overeating and being overweight. Here are 7 ancient food-and-eating ingredients that empower you to access food’s invisible power to sustain, rejuvenate, and nourish. And in the process, eat and weigh less.

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By Deborah Kesten, VIP Contributor at Thrive Global

What if you never again need to make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight or “go on a diet” because your most-of-the-time way of eating throughout the year empowers you to eat and weigh less? Original, pioneering research by holistic nutrition researcher Deborah Kesten, M.P.H., and behavioral scientist Larry Scherwitz, Ph.D., reveals that replacing the complex reasons you overeat—called “overeating styles”—and gain weight, with the 7 ancient “ingredients” that kept humankind thinner and healthier for millennia, may make weight-loss resolutions obsolete.1,2

Here are the 7 ancient-food-wisdom elements Kesten and Scherwitz unlocked that can empower you to ‘reset’ and rethink what and how you eat; to replace traditional dieting with the Whole Person Integrative Eating (WPIE)® dietary lifestyle—a way of eating, their research revealed, that lessens overeating and that leads naturally to weight loss, health and healing.1,2

1. Fresh Food

Fresh. Whole. Inverse. These are the three what-to-eat ingredients of WPIE that lead to less overeating and weight loss. Freshwhole and inverse means you most-often eat unprocessed fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans and peas, and nuts and seeds, with small servings of chemical-free, lean animal-based foods: dairy, poultry, fish, and meat. These are the foods that have the nutrients your mind-body needs to be healthier. And WPIE studies—and that of hundreds of others—reveal that making this your most-of-the-time way of eating leads to weight loss, health, and healing.

2. Positive Emotions

Most of us are familiar with the phrase “emotional eating,” turning to comfort food to soothe negative feelings such as depression, anxiety, or anger; but also sometimes to enhance joyous, celebratory feelings in response, let’s say, to a birthday or promotion. To overcome emotional eating, the key WPIE concept to keep in mind is this: all seven ancient-food, WPIE ingredients I am telling you about are designed to work synergistically. In other words, to overcome the WPIE overeating style of Emotional Eating, WPIE research reveals that replacing negative feelings with positive emotions and the other WPIE ingredients each time you eat, lessens overeating and leads to weight loss as a natural “side effect.”

3. Mindfulness Eating

“Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing,” says mindfulness meditation researcher Jon Kabat-Zinn. Research on Whole Person Integrative Eating tells us that when you bring moment-to-moment, nonjudgmental awareness to every aspect of the meal, you eat less and weigh less. The opposite of mindfulness eating is the WPIE overeating style of Task Snacking, meaning, eating while doing other things, such as working at your computer or watching TV. An easy antidote: Do what you’re doing, but when you take a bite of food, pause for a moment, close your eyes, inhale, relax, and focus on the flavors of the food. Afterward, return to your activity.

4. Heartfelt Gratitude

“Gratitude is not dependent on what you have. It depends on your heart,” says Buddhism master Jack Kornfield of Spirit Rock. For millennia, humankind said blessings of appreciation—from the heart—over food. To up your odds of eating and weighing less, replace the WPIE overeating style, Food Fretting—dieting, counting calories, over-concern about what you’re eating—with an appreciative, authentic, from-your-heart connection to food and to the extraordinary experience of nourishment and eating.

5. Loving Regard

For thousands of years, Eastern healing systems—such as India’s Ayurvedic Medicine and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)—related to optimal eating based on whether meals included six tastes: bitter, sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent. Eating with a 6-flavor sensibility means that when you eat, you’re savoring the colors and flavors and scents of the meal before you. WPIE research revealed that when you “flavor” food by nourishing your senses and with loving regard when you eat (Sensory Regard), your meals are better metabolized and you’re more likely to eat and weigh less.

6. Amiable Ambiance

Most of us know that eating in congenial surroundings is, at the very least, enjoyable. Although it’s still an emerging field, the medical community is becoming more and more aware that environment has a profound impact on health and healing. Research on Whole Person Integrative Eating revealed that eating in an Unappetizing Atmosphere—both psychological and/or aesthetically unpleasant surroundings—leads to eating more and weighing more. The WPIE antidote? When you dine, create an amiable ambiance by being aware if your emotions and others’ are positive; and if the external atmosphere is pleasing.

7. Share Fare

If you typically eat by yourself, you’ve got plenty of company. The eat-alone trend has escalated over the last few years—and of course with today’s covid-based social isolation. More and more research is revealing that the escalating eat-alone trend—and its twin, loneliness—up the odds of overeating and weight gain. Some recipes for social nourishment: Consider creating an online cooking club “family”; make online dining dates; or, while eating, fill your thoughts with memorable meals you’ve had with others. Or consider dining with your pet!

WPIE Weight Loss, Health, and Healing: Ancient Food Wisdom Meets Modern Nutritional Science

“The quality of one’s life depends on the quality of attention,” writes Deepak Chopra in Ageless Body, Timeless Mind. So too are your weight and mind-body well-being strongly influenced by the “quality of attention” you bring to food and eating. Not only may giving quality attention to each of the 7 ingredients of the Whole Person Integrative Eating (WPIE)® dietary lifestyle ward off weight,1,2 but it also holds the power to balance emotions, digestion, the absorption of nutrients, blood-sugar levels, and more.

As you practice integrating each WPIE ingredient each time you eat, more and more you’ll become empowered to experience food as the symphonic masterpiece that it is, that plays the notes you need to up your odds of weight loss, health, and healing…and of making “go on a diet” New Year’s resolutions obsolete. 

To find out more, please visit www.IntegrativeEating.com.


  1. Larry Scherwitz and Deborah Kesten, “Seven Eating Styles Linked to Overeating, Overweight, and Obesity,” Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing 1, no. 5 (2005): 342–59.
  2. Deborah Kesten and Larry Scherwitz, “Whole Person Integrative Eating: A Program for Treating Overeating, Overweight, and Obesity,” Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal 14, no. 5 (October/November 2015): 42–50.

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