The fashion world gives us lots of rules for dressing. They tell us what to wear and how we’re supposed to look in it.
Nutrition is also fashionable. They tell us what to eat and how it’s supposed to be “good” for us. Of course, no one agrees about what really is nutritious! Everyone has a different opinion.
The 70’s were about fat as the evil food of the world. I was raised on low fat everything! The 80’s were about sugar as the evil of all foods. The 90’s brought about the carb-is-horrid fascination and all the diets on that kick. (I really don’t know about the time-frames for these, I’m just guessing and hope I’m making my point.)
The sad part is, none of these ways of thinking about food are making us healthy! There is good reason for this and it isn’t that you are failing at dieting!
Thinking of food as good and bad makes feeling positive about eating difficult; so do other food rules on how to eat, where to eat, when to eat, etc.
When I did a search on the internet, here are some rules around food and eating that I found (and some that I used to live by):
- don’t eat after 7:00pm or 3 hours before sleeping
- chew food well (at least 20 times each mouthful)
- don’t eat fruit with other foods
- drink only water while eating
- don’t drink anything while eating
- don’t mix proteins with carbohydrates
- never eat desserts with other foods
- don’t eat proteins with desserts
- avoid eating fruit or desserts for dinner
- only eat organic food
- eat several small meals throughout the day
- breakfast is the most important meal of the day
- finish everything on your plate, after all, people are starving in Africa
- eat your veggies
- just exercise more and it won’t matter what or how much you eat
- you can eat all the fat-free foods you want
- if you feel bad, eat a cookie and you’ll feel better
- and, the newest one: Don’t eat anything your great-great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
Notice that some rules contradict others? Which rules would you add to the list?
Imagine the length of this list if I included all the rules around “good” foods and “bad” foods.
What affect do all these rules have on you?
This is a great question to ask yourself. I think one thing it does is leave you feeling like you can’t trust yourself. Instead, you trust what someone else has told you. Now, throw in how you feel if you don’t follow the rules or if you rebel against the rules, just because they are rules. This lack of trust and negative feeling doesn’t just stop at food or eating… it extends to other areas of your life too.
Throw out the rules
If you throw out the rules (or keep only the ones that really fit for you), I think you will find you start to listen to your body, what it wants and how it responds to food. I think you will start to trust yourself and let other people have their opinions without trying to change them. As well, other’s opinions of what you eat won’t bother you.