04/29/2015 05:02 pm ET Updated Jun 29, 2015

The One Nutrient That Is Missing in Nearly Every Diet

Getty Images

More than one-third of Americans are considered obese or overweight. The diet and weight loss industry is at an all-time high. Gluten-free, paleo and vegan are now household terms.

So why, in a country rich with health information, weight loss fixes and diet trends, are we still overweight, hungry, and in many ways, malnourished?

It's because the answer doesn't lie in yo-yo dieting, food restrictions or cheat days. It can't be found in a bottle, a hospital or fitness center. It's not made in a lab or cultivated on a farm.

The answer lies in one nutrient that is missing in nearly every diet. This nutrient is abundantly available, yet rarely used. When you get too low on this nutrient, look out for symptoms of stress, anxiety and low self-esteem. A lack of this nutrient can cause emotional eating.

Filling yourself with this nutrient will fill hunger pains and make you truly feel whole. This nutrient is found within you, but often gets lost over time.

This magical nutrient is self-love.

We have become so fixated on having to look or be a certain way that we've pushed our own self-love to the side.

If you truly love yourself and your body, you naturally want to feed it healthy food. You honor your body and want to take care of it. You appreciate yourself rather than focus on your flaws. You enjoy life rather than fear it. And if you truly love yourself, you can find joy in living rather than in food, deprivation, or trying to achieve some unrealistic measure of health.

Over the years, I've realized that it's not so much a healthcare crisis we have, but a self-love crisis. Our health depends on so much more than exercise programs and vegetables. No cookie, diet soda, sandwich, or chip can provide the same nourishment that you'd gain from truly loving yourself. Nope, not even a kale smoothie can fill you up as much as truly loving yourself can.

So give yourself a self-love check-up. How are you talking to yourself? How are you treating your body? How are you appreciating your unique self? Understanding that nourishment and nutrients extend well beyond the physical can help you nourish yourself in ways that you didn't even know was possible. Once you check-in and incorporate more of the magical ingredient of self-love, you can always feel full.