I am a rule breaker by default. I generally don’t like when people tell me what to do (except my coaches). I don’t like rules for the sake of rules. When rules are in place I do try to follow them, but my instinct wants me to rebel. No rules should be set in stone except for the moral ones (don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t kill etc.). This being said, I have spent a lifetime making rules about food. I cycle between depriving myself of certain food (making a rule), and then (when the going gets tough) breaking my own rule to binge on the forbidden item. I have done the South Beach diet, Atkins, Body for Life, Paleo, Gluten Free, Gluten Free/sugar free, Gluten Free/sugar free/dairy free, detox diets, the cabbage soup diet etc. All these diets have ONE thing in common… Rules about what you can and cannot eat.
The Problem with Diets
When you diet you decide you are going to follow a certain set of guidelines (rules) usually with the aim to loose weight and look like a sexy animal. Some diets are successful, and you lose a bunch of weight and feel like a sexy animal. Goal accomplished. However, when the going gets tough, or as time goes by your body will start to crave all the food you have been depriving yourself of. You will start to “cheat” and soon enough you are kicking yourself for gaining some or all of your weight back.
Thall shalt not Cheat
I don’t like the word “cheat” in the context of food. I cheated and I ate chocolate. Who are you cheating on? Yourself? Your diet? There is some guilt associated with cheating. I’ve cheated on MOST if not ALL of the diets that I have done, which in other words means I have failed, felt shame and ate a whole cheesecake. This is not the way to live people.
Make a choice, and forget all the rules.
If there are no rules then you have nothing to break. You cannot cheat. You cannot feel shame from eating a donut and then eat another donut because you feel bad about the first one (who cares anyways you already cheated).
Make a choice to make the right choice, most of the time. Do research and learn about food. Good food, bad food but eat whatever you want. Instead of depriving yourself, make the choice to add more good stuff. Start slow. Don’t take anything away, just add the good stuff. Add more greens, nuts, fruits and good stuff and don’t worry about the bad stuff. Don’t beat yourself up if you eat a donut or two. If your guilt about eating a (insert favorite “cheat” food here) is too bad, it will ruin the whole experience in the first place.
Easier said then done
I have made rules about food all my life. In the crossfit community I am surrounded by people who live the paleo lifestyle. They have made a choice. There are rules associated with their choice. I can’t live that way. Last night after eating clean/paleo for a while, I gorged on 3 pulled pork tacos, a plate of fries and 2 VERY LARGE beers… I then proceeded to finish my kids ice cream, bike home, put them to bed and eat toast and cereal. All things that are not paleo and/or clean. Just because of my damn rules. I am a horrible serial cheater and I feel shame.
NO MORE RULES
I am making a conscious choice to live the healthiest life I can. I will make the best food choices, prepare healthy meals for myself and my kids… but if I want a burger and a beer, I will have it. Because if I deny myself, I will live to regret it… I will eat double the amount and feel double the shame.
You have the choice. Unless you do not have the use of your arms/hands you are the one putting the food into your body. To be a sexy animal you need to eat the right food. Fuel your body appropriately with the proper nutrients. Make the right choice… and if you decide to make the wrong choice once in a while, enjoy every minute of it. Every yummy minute.