Dieting is More than Food – Treating the Whole Person

Dr. Dani, or Mariana Daniela Torchia MPH, RD, PhD (, has a slightly different take on addressing health and wellness. Instead of pushing a specific diet or exercise program, she works on addressing the whole person or situation. Food matters. Exercise makes a difference. But the best food plan and exercise program won’t make a difference if the person doesn’t believe that they can change or that their efforts will make a difference.

According to Dr. Dani, each person comes to health and nutrition with their own issues, behaviors and emotions. So, she asks why before she asks what to eat or how to exercise. The answer to that question influences everything else.

Instead of a blanket answer or a one-size-fits-all solution, she looks at what has caused an increase in weight for example. What influences the behavior? What are the stressors or obstacles they face? What has formed the beliefs about whether they can or can’t achieve their weight loss goals.

I was impressed with how she focuses on starting with the small steps to build confidence and courage to make bigger changes. I was also impressed with her website and how she inspires people through being good to themselves and giving them some ideas on the small steps they can take to get started.

She says, “Be kind to yourself – Kindness to yourself reflects onto your surroundings. Enjoy a smile, have your feet touch the grass, or wiggle your toes in the sand.  It's O.K. to start over every day, it's a bright new day each day.”
She suggested starting with one of these small daily goals:

Daily Goals

  • Drink pure water
  • Eat a walnut
  • Try a coconut
  • Have a berry bowl
  • Try a new vegetable
  • Dance till you laugh
  • Try a new food, explore
  • Walk a few steps more each day

Give yourself a gold star!

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