Do you know what you're going to have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner today? If so, is it based on some list of foods you should or shouldn't eat that you read on the internet? Or, is it something that you actually want...something that will make you feel good? I ask you those questions because there was a time when I used to be in a state of constant confusion about what and what not to eat. You know why?
Because my inbox and Facebook feed were bombarded with things like this:
"Top 10 Foods to Avoid"
"10 Foods to NEVER Eat"
"7 Foods That Should Never Cross Your Lips"
"31 Healthy Foods You Should Be Eating Now"
"10 Healthiest Foods on the Planet" (side note: I have no idea what scale they used to calculate healthiness in this one)
These food "rules" drive me crazy!! One of the reasons I hate this stuff is because it's full of "should", "never", and "always", which can make you feel like a bad person if you're not following along.
Guess what? You're NOT wrong, bad, or out of control if you enjoy donuts, bacon, or soda.
Here's the truth: Eating processed foods, white flour, or deli meat or anything on a "bad" food list once in a while will not kill you.
These lists of rules rarely take YOU, the individual, into consideration: your goals, your activity level, your individual preferences and tastes. And of course, the one thing that most "eat this, don't eat that" lists love to exclude is that your food should make you happy.
Most food rules tell you to treat your body like a machine...fuel it and take care of it so it doesn't break down. This is absolutely true, but, unlike other machines your body has a mind and spirit attached.
Food is an incredible source of pleasure. Choking down dry chicken breast and asparagus because it's "good for you" ultimately leads to rebellion by eating everything that isn't nailed down. The "Screw it! I'm gonna eat something bad because I'm tired of being good" episode is usually followed by guilt and shame, which then causes you to jump back on the chicken breast and asparagus bandwagon. And the cycle continues.
We all just want to be able to eat food, feel great, and be happy, right?
I've never been happier than I am right now with my food choices. No restriction, no deprivation, no worry or anxiety. It's just all pleasure, all the time.
It IS possible to get to that point yourself. Here's how I did it:
1. I include ALL food groups in my diet. Unless it's something I don't like, I'm deathly allergic to it, or it contains poison, I'll eat it.
2. I stopped googling things like "foods to eat to lose weight" and "what should I eat to get a 6-pack". The amount of information (and mis-information) on the internet is mind-boggling. There were times I was so confused and overwhelmed by what I read that I just wanted to eat some cookies and take a nap.
3. I became very connected with how I want to FEEL everyday. I want to feel alive, energetic, and pleasure every single day and these feelings help me to decide what to eat. There is incredible FREEDOM when you stop listening to the lists, and start listening to your own body.
4. I surround myself with people who enjoy eating and don't eat by the rules. It can be depressing and anxiety-provoking to be around people who constantly talk about what they should or shouldn't be eating. A total drag. I decided that I wouldn't be that person.
5. I realized that my food choices are MINE and they have nothing to do with anyone else. Likewise, other people's choices are none of my business.
6. I was patient, loving, and forgiving with myself. Significant change does NOT happen overnight. Just think of it as an opportunity to do some research on what makes you happy. Good research takes time.
So if you've been walking around wondering if certain foods are good or bad for you, just stop it. Today.
Life is too short to live in a cloud of confusion about what to eat everyday.
If food rules are making you and your family INSANE, now is the time to change that.
Grab a copy of my free ebook, Freedom From Food Rules 101 and get started on the path to creating a better experience with food.
Here's to no more food rules!