Do you struggle with getting back on your feet after having been stuck in a dieting whirlpool? Is there research that backs up leaving the diet-culture for good? What is mindful eating? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about the fact that you can eat like you pee … yes, you can have your cake and eat it too.


  • A 1944 study on food restriction that is still relevant today
  • The necessity of having this information available
  • Eating is like peeing!
  • Benefits of mindful eating

A 1944 study on food restriction that is still relevant today

Even though this study is clearly dated, its findings are both beneficial and necessary and I found ways in which my experience resonated with what this study showed. In 1944, there was a study conducted on the psychological and physiological effects that starvation has on the human body. Although the volunteers for the study were all male, we can still learn from their findings.
  • 1570 calories was considered then to be starvation on the human body. During this study and after eating only 1570 calories a day for an extended period of time, the participants became way more preoccupied with food. They would talk about it whenever they had the chance, they would dream about it, they would notice it in movies and they began to excessively chew gum.
  • After the volunteers began refeeding after the study had completed, they started eating several meals in one sitting as if they were overcompensating,
  • They suffered from headaches and NGI stomach issues
I find it interesting to see that some of these symptoms that these volunteers suffered from, I too suffered from while I was moving between diets, and I also see these symptoms in my patients. These men also began developing body dysmorphia issues as well as social issues, and some began to suffer from anxiety and depression where they did not have any anxiety or depression at the start of the study.
Now here’s something I really want you to take note of: by the end of the starvation period, the volunteers, these men’s basil-metabolic rates, their metabolism had decreased 40% from their baselines.
Some researchers have suggested that this was due to the fact that their caloric intake was so low that their weight dropped, but their muscle mass also dropped by 40% - and that last fact alone tells you what you need to know about dieting. That is why when you go off a diet, you gain the weight back as well as a bit more because you damage your metabolism and decrease your muscle mass due to the dieting.

The necessity of having this information available

Now it is still up to you if you want to continue dieting, that is your choice, but I believe that this information should be out there to teach people that dieting – if you really want to become fit and healthy – is not the way to achieve your ideal body. Dieting harms you and your body a lot more than it does you good. You may see small changes in your weight or body shape when you start a diet, but that is because you made a change to your routine. That change is not exponential, and then you commit to a diet that in the long-run damages your body far more than it empowers it. Adolescents and adult humans are some of the only creatures in the world who overeat because we eat for nutrients but we can also eat due to emotions. After dieting for so long, we can become disconnected from our hunger signals and disconnected from what our bodies need.

Eating is like peeing!

Eating is like or should be, like peeing because you would not proudly go up to someone and brag about having held in your bladder all day – that is both ridiculous, painful, and dangerous yet we feel some kind of pride for when we have withheld food from ourselves for the entire day. We need to pee like we need to eat. What is important is to listen to your body’s signals and that is where mindful eating comes in, a practice to help you reconnect with your hunger and your bodily signals for understanding what you truly need in a sincere yet holistic way. Mindful eating is allowing yourself to become aware of the process of eating from start to finish and seeing this process as an opportunity for us to nourish ourselves. Mindful eating is using all your senses to choose food that is satisfying to you and nourishing for your body.

Benefits of mindful eating

The way I wanna explain it very simply is you wanna feel better, emotionally and physically after you’re done eating than before.
  • It nourishes not only your body but also your heart and it empowers you to make choices about food, unlike dieting allows you, you want to enjoy in this moment.
  • It brings awareness to your relationship with other people in the context of food.
  • It shifts your focus from external authorities to your internal authorities and your body’s internal wisdom.
  • Someone who eats mindfully knows that there is no ‘wrong’ way to eat, unlike with dieting. When you go on a diet, all food is either good or bad but when you’re mindfully enjoying your food, you choose the food and the experience of the food on a moment-to-moment basis.



I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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