Omg, does your head ever get so filled with food rules you want to scream? Each new diet or new research that comes out has some new food rule to follow. What the hell is right?!
Food rules feel like being bound up!
Have you ever labeled donuts as BAD? Have you ever beat yourself up for eating one? Or 4?
Remember the 80’s and the new thing was LOW FAT everything? Talk about feeling bullied into not touching anything with fat in it! The horror. That was just the tip of the iceberg, for me at least. What was the name of those fat free cookies??? You know, the ones you thought you could eat the entire box of and it was ok because they were fat free. Snackwell's??
My mother put me on a restrictive diet when I was 12. I made this mean that I wasn’t enough because obviously, in order to be loved, accepted and worthy, I needed to be thin. I realize now that she really just wanted a partner in restrictive eating. A support person. Yay, I was the lucky one. NOT!
This began part of my journey with food rules. I learned a lot about food and nutrition along the way because deep within me, I knew diets were bad and I really, really liked food, too. I was always looking for the best way to get real food into my body and still lose weight.
I’m not much of a math genius so counting calories was never my thing. Put a fork in my eye! I always felt counting calories was kind of stupid and pointless. I mean, if it were that easy, wouldn’t we all be at our ideal weight?
Oh my gosh, I remember post baby #1, going to Diet Center. I thought that was healthy because we did take vitamins and supplements. I ate like a bird, but damn it, I ate all day.
I lost the weight. Yay!
I couldn’t maintain the weight. Loser, low blow to my self esteem, etc.
I couldn’t eat more than 1 egg and 1 slice of toast for breakfast; ½ a sandwich for lunch; ½ an apple for a snack; dinner was a salad with grilled chicken and some sort of processed fat free dressing. A splurge was eating out and NOT measuring my grilled chicken salad, no croutons, no cheese, no bacon bits, no fat dressing. GAH! Clearly, this was not a lifestyle and I knew it.
This was DEPRIVATION. Frustration sets in because now everything that had worked, didn't transfer to the life I wanted.....which was ultimately food FREEDOM.
Enter in vegetarianism. I love veggies! I love animals. I never could choke down beef, unless it was ground. I ate cottage cheese, eggs, and fish for my protein sources during this time and spent HOURS in the kitchen trying to make fancy vegetarians style meals. Then, because I wasn’t thin enough and I’m kind of competitive, I pushed it a bit further and went more vegan. I gathered a lot of food information. I even managed my 3rd pregnancy predominantly vegan, then raising my 3rd child for the first few years of his life as a vegetarian. Albeit, a bit of a junk food vegetarian.
Picture this: McDonald’s drive thru with 3 children. 1 vegetarian and he naturally liked foods vegetarian. I order a cheeseburger Happy Meal, no burger. Say what?! Yeah, that got some confused responses. *heehee and shaking my head
Finally, I discovered weightlifting. This opened a whole new world for me in many regards, but specifically in the food realm. As I started gaining muscle mass, I started to CRAVE animal sources of protein. I had to get over myself and my food rules and listen to my bodies messages. I experimented with using my hand to judge portion sizes. It was still a food rule, but it felt so much different.
After baby #4, my weight was NOT coming off. I needed help. I exercised, ate ‘right’ and lost as much as I could on my own, but then I enlisted the help of a personal trainer. I actually went through several, online and in person. I learned yet another new way to eat!
Now this is a mathematical system I could handle! I could easily add my grams of protein, carbs and fat in my head. I didn’t mind weighing my food in ounces or grams. Holy smokes! This was actually kind of fun, scientific, easy and it worked.
Until it doesn’t.
Did I mention I’m a bit competitive? Yeah. That’s what happened. I started to compete in natural bodybuilding. It was fun and a great ego trip, until you walk off the stage and then it just goes to hell in a handbasket. I’ll save the mental angst for another time, but what happened for me was extreme rebound weight gain, adrenals were fatigued, my gut was leaky (thanks Splenda and all the artificial crap I was eating because my body was really starving for real food!), I had developed allergies to most of the foods that I ate and, well, you get the picture. I was a mess and had such an aversion to RESTRICTIVE EATING I could scream!
I had to learn to look at food in a new way.
I had to take apart and fight all the food rules that were stuck in my head.
I had to educate myself on whole food nutrition.
I still remember the time I went to Sonic and ordered a cheeseburger/tots and forced myself to say with every bite, “Omg, this is exactly what my body needed today! This is so good. This is so nourishing for me right now.” Try it sometime. I dare ya to start tackling the judgement of food in your head. It really took the draw to fast food off the table for me.
You see, this was part of my journey to release the restriction that food rules had created for me. I was so damn sick and tired of JUDGING each bite that went in my mouth; counting every f*cking gram I consumed; making sure I didn’t eat anything labeled “bad” or that I got my ass to the gym no matter how bad I felt because, by God, I was going to force my body to lose the extra weight!!!!! I was wearing myself out and creating stress where there just didn't need to be any!
Food rules were bullying me! And I allowed it. Until I decided I didn’t want to live my life this way. I decided I was so tired of being frustrated and I just wanted to eat good food and get my health back.
Weight took a back seat so I could focus on healing my body and being ok with my weight and really accepting and embracing that food is simply ENERGY. It is nothing more and nothing less. The labels we give food is what can make or break us.
Personally, I was just tired of food rules and stopped jumping on the next new thing that the government wanted us to believe. Good grief, the information overload that has come out in the last 5 years alone is crazy!!
For me, the end of frustration was also the end of eating to follow some food rule.
How are food rules affecting you, your weight, your mental health, your relationship with your body and the world?
I want to from YOU! Share in the comments below or share in an email. I’d love to hear from you, especially if you are sick and damn tired of feeling frustrated and overwhelmed due to the FOOD RULE BULLY.
Let’s do this a different way!