You are unique, and you have unique likes and dislikes. Research has shown that there are three common types of taste buds that influence what different people find appealing. I am sensitive to spicy foods and find that they easily overpower dishes, while others love to have lots of heat in their foods.

It’s important to respect what you enjoy eating, and you are the only one who is expert on this topic. Here are some of my own personal food rules.

  • Listen to signals. I listen to my body carefully and with a huge dose of respect. For example, I cannot eat desserts late at night because I break out in sweats and wake up hot and cold all night long…I can’t eat too much acidy fruit or my tongue gets unpleasantly tingly and numb…and I know better than to eat fruits with a full meal because I end up feeling bloated. I’ve learned these things by checking in and examining what I had eaten when I ended up feeling less than best.
  • Listen each day. I’ve also learned to review on a daily basis what I ate earlier in the day or the day before. This is especially helpful if I get a stomachache, if my energy level is off, or if I just don’t feel my best. I’ve continually tweaked my eating to serve me better by constantly listening to my body. The other side of listening and checking in carefully is that you’ll learn to eat what your body really wants.
  • Listen to odd reactions. The first time I had soy milk, a food that is often pushed as ultra-healthy, I was at a friend’s house and they served it with granola. I coughed about ten times immediately after the meal, and I don’t usually cough. About two months later, I was at a hotel and I had some soy milk again and, again, I immediately coughed. So now I know that soy milk is not for me, something I might never have learned if I didn’t listen to my body. I am sharing this story with you to illustrate how important it is for you to listen carefully to your
  • Learn to let go of diets. Not listening to our bodies also comes from being raised in a diet­obsessed culture. Many of my clients who struggle with weight don’t think they can trust themselves and are always looking to someone else, some other book, or some diet to tell them how to eat. I want you to do the exact opposite. I want you to strike the word diet from your vocabulary. I never use it because it has die within the word itself and feels inherently negative. By listening to your body, you will come up with an eating plan that works for you—and the weight will come off effortlessly.

Click here to buy Joel Harper’s book, Mind Your Body: 4 Weeks to a Leaner, Healthier Life