I don't follow the "rules", and I've already come to terms with that fact. Letting others tell me what I should eat everyday and should never put on my plate ever again (but what if I want ice cream?) just doesn't make sense to me. Sure, some of those people may be nutritionists, well-educated on which foods are better for the body than others, but the only person educated enough to tell me what to and what not to eat is ME.
When I cleared my mind of those overwhelming "do's and don't's", I left open a space in my brain that still needed to some guidelines to follow when I'm tempted with a plate full of food. Ten thousand rounds of trial-and-error later, I've figured 'em out!
- HYDRATE, DON'T DILATE - fluids, fluids, fluids! I don't know exactly how many glasses of water I drink a day - too much counting. Here's a rough estimate - 2 before breakfast/workout/etc., 1 BIG glass during/after each meal, 2 ish between meals, 2 before bed (including tea) - so, about eleven or twelve, give or take some depending on how thirsty I really am. Tea is another one of my favorites, but I always make sure it's unsweetened.
WHY? Drinking water keeps my digestive system working at it's best (yes, it helps me poop), my energy level nice and energized, and my appetite under control. Drink one glass a few minutes before you sit down to eat - you'll probably eat less, and your insides will be all moisturized and ready to absorb nutrients!
- NO ELECTRONICS - not forever, silly! I put my phone and laptop away when I'm eating because they're just too darn distracting. Instagram and emails can take over my spoon and keep shoveling ice cream into my mouth if I'm not paying attention to my plate. Plus, I probably worked hard on whatever I made and, chances are, I'm HUNGRY, so why would I pay more attention to someone else's Instagram post than my big, fat plate of love?
WHY? Electronics (distractions) + food (love of my life) = something like this.
- QUIET TIME --> MEAL TIME - I love to talk, and, if you get me going, I'll talk about food until Zac Efron proposes to me. Then I'll be a little distracted. But really, the more I talk about nutrition and eating and my favorite recipes and my favorite naughty treats, the more likely I am to pretty much just lay myself on the table and automatically call "DIBS" on every plate. Happens every once in a while.
WHY? Those two or three minutes of shutting myself up allow me to listen to my body and it's cravings, analyze how hungry I really am, and mentally portion out which foods from the spread available I'll choose. No quiet time looks like this, but just enough looks like this.
- PRETEND TO BE PSYCHIC - this one's fun - look at the food that's tempting you, and ask yourself how you'll feel after you eat it. Most importantly, be honest with yourself. How good will you really feel after a big ice cream sundae? If your self-control is impeccable (I'd like to meet you) and you know you'll stop after one scoop, go for it, but really, who can do that?
WHY? Because I'm in college and my schedule leaves little time for me to lay on the couch and wait for my stomach to recover from a heavy, not-so-worth-it indulgence. Because I want energy and liveliness and motivation to keep eating feel-good foods. Because I want to look forward to eating again later on in the day - who doesn't?
- EAT IT TO BEAT IT - give in to your cravings. Acknowledge what your body wants and treat yourself to satisfy and silence the craving. I've dreamt of fluffy, buttery chocolate-chip pancakes more times than I've eaten brussel sprouts (I'm a vegetarian and I've put them on my plate like twice in my life); I've had a hankering for potatoes at 10 pm; I've needed something deep-fried - mhm, neeeeeeeeeded it.
WHY? This one sounds strange, and it's a challenge at first, but listening to my body helped pull me out of an ED. When I want chocolate chip pancakes, I use oat flour, protein powder, and cacao nibs; I drizzle a little EVOO and oregano on my baked potato; I treat myself to authentic falafel (not the baked kind). If I don't beat my craving, it'll beat me.
Don't steal my guidelines - make your own. Rude.
Just kidding! But keep in mind that I've experimented and tried and failed and eventually succeeded in the process of discovering which habits I want to adopt and which ones I need to let go in order to stay a happy (hungry) Haley. For you, this process may take a while and it may not. Be patient with your body and find the time throughout your day to relax, breathe, and recognize your physical state.
Understanding my body has transformed my relationship with food, and I'm so happy with where I am. Take these habits as guidelines - NOT RULES. Don't follow the "rules" when it comes to food - make your own!
Questions? Comments? Scroll down - there's plenty of room! You can also email me, tweet me, and find me on Instagram :) thanks for reading!