I’ve never been one for rules. I’m an Aquarius and a serious rebel. Most of the time when someone tells me I can’t do something, that’s the one thing I’m going to do. In a lot of ways, the idea of “food rules” seems totally unnatural to me.
But lately I’ve been focusing A LOT on what is going into my body and how I’m supporting it and I have this comforting sense of control.
I’m not talking about the type of control that limits me to 1,500 calories a day. (You can read more about what I think about counting calories here).
I’m talking about knowing that if I eat something good for me, that I will look and FEEL good: maximum energy (aka no afternoon crash!), glowing skin, zero bloating.
But what is “GOOD FOR YOU” anyway? There’s so much hype out there its hard to know (and honestly so many BAD food rules)…
Before I was a health coach, when I was struggling through life working 80 hours a week and not really caring for my body, a lot of the time I thought I was eating healthy.
In the morning, I’d be running late (having overslept after tossing and turning all night), so I’d grab a CLIF bar or yogurt and the largest coffee I could find, and off I’d go. Read: SUGAR CITY.
Lunch was often a take-out salad loaded with dressing or a quick, microwave 200 calorie Lean Cuisine. Officially the mayor of SUGAR TOWN, USA, with a side of serious restriction.
Obviously an afternoon latte was in order to fight my impending crash – I had big work to do! But it was sugar free, no whip – not too bad, right?
Dinner was pizza (wouldn’t life be grand if pizza was a superfood?) or pasta – something FAST that took zero thought, as I was totally spent mentally spent by that time. CARB HEAVY, NO VEGGIES.
Some of those things on the list are definitely considered “healthy foods”, but was I healthy? HECK NO. Did I feel GOOD? NO WAY.
I was loaded up on sugar, caffeine, and simple carbs. I had trouble sleeping. I was amped up and then crashing 20 minutes later. I was bloated with a severe 9-5 muffin top.
But beyond that, I was totally absent from the whole food experience. I was more than happy to buy anything that read healthy on the label and would take zero time or thought.
When I started to really explore and learn about food and my body, I realized it wasn’t just about WHAT I was eating that made it healthy or unhealthy. It was about how I approached my plate.
Insert >>> my food rules.
These aren’t hard and fast rules, like: do this or else. But they’re the guiding principles I use when I approach my plate and I think everyone woman can benefit from them.
1. Just Eat Real Food
Simple and to the point: drop the processed crap with crazy ingredients you can’t pronounce and eat an (organic) apple instead.
Does all of it need to be ORGANIC, FREE RANGE, GRASS FED, LOCALLY HARVESTED, IN SEASON?? Those things can be beneficial, but don’t let their lack hold you back. Start where you can. (and if you want my recommendations for what organic produce to always invest your $$ in, check out this year’s Dirty Dozen list).
2. Be Mindful
So often we’re absent from our eating experience. Recently, I heard the beautiful Sarah Jenks share a story about her daily habit of eating Tasty Delight:
One day, she decided to sit down and mindfully eat her treat in the park – focusing solely on the eating experience. Turns out, she didn’t even LIKE Tasty Delight. It tasted gross to her when she actually stopped to pay attention! But she’d been eating it daily for who knows how long, because it was a “healthy” treat she’d allowed herself.
3. Don’t restrict yourself
Food is fuel and medicine – it’s very utilitarian. But it’s also something to be ENJOYED. Allow yourself to enjoy the things you really enjoy – while mindfully questioning if you actually like what you think you like (see above if you're confused by this paradox!) - and leave the rest.
4. There are no “food rules”
The most important rule of all: THERE ARE NO RULES! Ultimately, you are 100% in control of what you put into your body – don’t let anyone else (even me!) govern what you eat or how you feel about it.
I want to hear from you: Do you have “food rules”? Have you abandoned rules in favor of freedom?