I’m going to take a stab in the dark here and say that at some point in your life you’ve created a number of rules based around food. I have. I came up with a huge list of things that I wasn’t allowed to do and I’ll write a few here:
- No food after 6pm
- Avoid carbs
- No sugar
- Fasting all day because of the amount of food consumption the previous day
- Don’t have dairy because of fats
- Have your five a day, but not too much fruit because sugar is bad
- Dairy is bad, don’t have it
Sounding familiar? We do it all the time! But what if I told you that there was no need? That you could live a happy life, free from rules and restrictions? What a crazy notion!
So let’s take a step back and think; where do these rules come from? Idle chatter amongst friends? Magazines and newspapers? Comparisons? Pretty much all of the above. We are brought up believing these lies that are fed to us, that if we eat after a certain time we will gain weight, that if you have too many carbs you’ll bloat out or if you endugle in a treat every now and again you’re ‘unhealthy.’ These are all myths!
Diet culture thrives off making us believe that we will all fall apart if we don’t keep to rules and restrictions around food, telling us that our bodies can’t be trusted and we become increasingly disconnected from ourselves. We are made to believe that if we engage and listen to our bodies we will fail, we will all go crazy, turn to junk food and become ‘fat’ (which by the way, isn’t a bad word or a bad thing to be). But guys, I have a secret…. last week on holiday I had bread EVERYDAY and I mean more than once a day too. I had pizza every other night and guess what? My body felt pretty much the same as it did when I left home. Because I listened to my body, I tuned in and became connected again. Some days I stopped eating when I was full up and saved the rest for later, on other days I finished my plate even when I was becoming full because the food was so tasty! Nothing bad happened, the world didn’t end, I didn’t fall into a binge, I was okay and I was Happy.
It all starts from honouring yourself and your body. I believe that a lot of the time we are completely disconnected from ourselves, focusing on every possible way to change our bodies for the ‘better’ that we fail to see that they don’t need to change, they just need us to care, they need us to to switch our mindsets and stop sabotaging any possibility of a positive relationship with them.
How rubbish do you feel when you break one of your rules? Disappointed? Angry? A failure? Or do you just say you’ll just start again on Monday? Have you ever considered that maybe the whole reason we loose control over these rules is because it’s our body’s way of saying ‘hey wait I don’t like this, I know better this.’
When this happens maybe we should take a breath, take a pause and listen to what our bodies really need instead of forcing another rule upon them. Sometimes you will really want that bar of chocolate, other times you’ll be happier to eat a plate of veggies. Listening to your body does not mean you’ll loose control, it does not mean that you’ll be draw to junk food at every waking moment. It simply means you are looking after yourself. Give yourself a chance to retune and it will start becoming a lot easier to understand.
You may be sitting there thinking ‘okay great but how do I do this, it sounds ridiculous.’ It’s okay I hear you. So what you need to do it work out what makes your body feel great. Don’t follow the crowd, don’t listen to your friend talking about her newest fad diet, don’t pay attention to your work mates newest restriction, avoid magazines and diet books. Focus on you. Stand your ground.
Here’s a few things I discovered about my body over the last few months:
- Because of my job I need to eat way more on some days compared to others
- My job also means that I will eat late as well, sometimes past 9pm and that’s okay
- It’s works for me to limit my dairy but not get rid of it completely
- Drinking lemon and water really aids my digestion
- Soft drinks cause me a lot of discomfort
- Slowing down whilst eating really helps me connect and realise when I’m full
- Drinking coffee past 4pm is not a good idea for me. Also if I’m slightly anxious I shouldn’t have it
- It works for me to have a smaller breakfast and larger lunch
- It works for me to snack and make sure I have something every 4 hours
This list is constantly changing and developing because I’m taking the time out to listen to my body and meet its needs.
So I challenge you guys, get rid of that diet mentality, accept that your body is different to everyone else’s! Write down on a piece of paper all of the rules you have created for yourself, scrunch it up and throw it away! Then write down a list of all the things your body agrees with, focus on the positives and don’t forget the things you like are allowed on there too! Sit with your body, understand what it needs.
We don’t need rules. We need to show our wonderful bodies the love a nurturing it deserves!
Time to reconnect!