I want to try something new here, and that is to start a series of brief articles covering one topic of nutrition. As we go along, I’d love input on specific things you would like to see me write about or questions you may have. This series will be called “Letting Go of Food Rules.” I think the month of December is a great time to delve into this topic because a lot of stress has been created around this time of year centered around what, when, where, why, and how much we eat. The main purpose will be to talk about what food rules are and why they can sometimes create more problems for us. Each post in the series will discuss a specific food rule and ways to challenge your thoughts on why you are following specific rules. All of this is to help you find a little peace in your food choices, especially during this time of year when food is abundant and many have strong emotional bonds attached to them.
So what is a food rule? I like to think of a food rule as an eating practice that we follow very strictly. They can be followed out of guilt or fear, and/or social trends that have been deemed healthy. I think of a food rule as something that you follow strictly. Unlike a guideline which GUIDES your choices but has flexibility, a rule tends to RULE your thoughts and behaviors a majority of the time.
Letting go of a food rule is an important step in finding more peace and freedom in the foods you eat. I have said it before and will say it many times after this, life can be very stressful. Eating shouldn’t have to be. Usually food rules start out with good intentions. No one ever sets out to make food rules to make life miserable. Soon food rules become rigid and unrelenting though. What you once made as a way to make you feel better all the sudden boxes you in. When you break a food rule, it tends to make you feel really bad about yourself. Just like any rule you choose to live by, when you fail at keeping them they tend to make you feel like a failure, shameful, and upset. All of this leads to a big promise to go back to following the rules. There the cycle of restrict and binge is created. Each time a bigger promise to stick with it is made and each time the binge is harder, and the negative feelings are worse.
While it is good to have guidelines around food you eat based off of what you find out makes you feel best, following strict rules because of what a diet told you is not. Simple, flexible, and realistic are the key words we should look for when we describe our eating.
So I hope you will stick around during this series. Be prepared to challenge some of your thoughts around food, and get excited because we are about to break all rules for good this time. 😉
Next in the series: Eating Seasonal Foods