I have been doing a lot of thinking on the concept of one’s relationship with food. I personally think everyone should have the 80/20 Rule when it comes to food – 80% of what you eat and drink should be healthy, while 20% ‘not so much’. I also feel everyone should strive for 85/15 then 90/10 then 95/5. And under the category ‘not so much’ that doesn’t mean absolute horrid junk – a medium place.
Secondly I think that many of us, myself included, think WAY too much about food. What are we going to have for dinner? I shouldn’t have eaten that second cookie. How many calories/grams of fat/carbs have I eaten today? I have a craving for X, Y and Z. And so much of our social world revolves around food – we have celebratory dinners, depression induced binging – all emotional ends of the spectrum. And because food is something that we MUST have to survive, it is impossible to not think about it.
Then there are the ‘food rules’. I think that to best understand your personal relationship with food – is it healthy or a disaster or somewhere in the middle – you must have a clear idea of how many rules you have and perhaps how much you obsess over them. And even though your personal list of rules might be keeping you healthy, the lists can be exhaustive. I personally have food guilt. Something I wish I didn’t, but I do. So in hopes of one day not, I have decided I need to better understand my personal relationship with food in order to think of it always in a positive light. I know WHY I have the guilt – pressure from society, family, the opposite sex, myself – to look a certain way. And eating bonbons and chips doesn’t adhere to that standard. So even if I only indulge in junk food once in a while, I still have a negative space in my head that obsesses over it.
So what are my food rules? My list, although quite healthy ideologies, is exhaustive. And to be quite honest, some are borderline concerning to me once I wrote them out. I won’t get into the ‘why’s’ of each for now, although in the spirit of sharing and becoming a healthier woman every day, here goes:
- When it comes to meat, I only eat chicken and fish/seafood. No red meat, pork, game, etc…
- I do not eat dairy
- I do not eat processed cereal
- If I buy anything processed I read labels and ensure there are no more than 10 grams of sugar per serving, no more than 500 mgs of sodium per serving, and pay close attention to the calories per serving
- I have a healthy and substantial breakfast every morning that includes a carbohydrate (wrap or toast), protein (usually eggs), vegetables, fruit and coffee
- I have a salad every day and make homemade dressing when possible
- I pay attention to the ‘dirty dozen’ when it comes to grocery shopping and buying organic when I can
- I have turmeric, cayenne pepper and aloe (to eat) every single day one way or another
- I take a handful of vitamins and minerals every single day
- If I eat ‘too much’ one day, I try to make up for it the next
- I weigh myself almost every day
- I do not eat white starches
- I avoid pop and sugar-filled ‘fruit’ juices as well as alcoholic beverages that are full of sugar (I mostly stick with wine and vodka)
- I cook only with raw, organic coconut oil or cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
- If I have a heavier carb in the morning (i.e. bread) I do not eat any other starch-carbs that day (i.e. no more rice, bread, potatoes, etc)
- I have flax, chia and/or hemp seeds every single day
- I try not to eat three hours before bed
I do feel that the majority of these ‘rules’ I have made for myself are for the most part healthy (with the exception of numbers 10 and 11). That said, having so many rules also has it’s own drawbacks. Does having such a regimented way of eating affect my ability to have a healthy relationship with food? I do feel that food is something that should be consumed to maximize your health and longevity. But am I over thinking it all? Is this list of ‘rules’ contributing to my overall food guilt when I go off the rails? Absolutely it is. But it is also absolutely keeping me healthy. My internal investigation on this subject will continue. I think making this list has helped me understand that even though I have my own fair share number of rules, for the most part they are all centered around healthy habits.
So what about you? What does your list look like?