I’ve spent quite a lot of time overcoming my disordered relationship with food. Throughout my journey, I’ve developed what I believe is a really healthy food philosophy. They aren’t diet rules or a number of calories to follow, but rather guidelines I use to keep my body fueled properly and to feel maximum satisfaction after eating. I’ve adapted some of the guidelines from Geneen Roth’s Eating Guidelines.
Healthy Eating Food Philosophy:
1. Let go of diets, rules, numbers, calorie counting. Simply eat ONLY when you are hungry. Eat EXACTLY what your body craves. And STOP eating when you are full. To any yo-yo dieter, this probably sounds completely crazy. You might be thinking to yourself, “If I could eat anything I wanted I would eat pizza and ice cream sundaes every day and blow up like a balloon!” Trust me, you won’t. Sure, if you’ve been restricting for a while, and you suddenly allow yourself to eat what ever you want, at first, you will crave indulgent foods you’d been denying yourself. Eventually though, and in my experience it will take less than a week, your cravings will subside and your body will crave the foods it actually needs. Sometimes this might be a balanced meal with lean protein and veggies and other times you might want a bacon cheeseburger.
The problem with forcing yourself to eat foods you don’t really want is that you don’t feel satisfied after eating them. If I really want a cheeseburger and french fries, but I force myself to eat a salad, I won’t feel satisfied after eating. I’ll keep thinking about food and grazing despite the fact I’m not hungry. But, when you give yourself exactly what you want, the meal feels complete, and you can enjoy your life without obsessing about food you won’t allow yourself to have.
2. Eat without distractions. People often balk at this guideline too. Eating without distractions means not reading, watching tv, driving, playing video games, browsing facebook, etc. while eating. Eating without distractions allows you to fully experience the taste and texture of your food. It makes eating a much more satisfying experience.
From my own personal experience, this guideline is great. First of all, it keeps me from sitting in front of the tv, mindlessly chowing down potato chips when I’m not even hungry. Secondly, it gives me maximal satisfaction from my food. I used to browse the internet while I ate my breakfast every morning. After a few minutes, my breakfast would be gone and I couldn’t even remember eating it. Eating is a pleasure we should savor.
3. Eat according to your hunger cues, not someone elses. Don’t accept food just to be polite. Furthermore, don’t eat food just because you don’t want it to “go to waste” or because “there are hungry kids all over the world.”
If you aren’t hungry, don’t accept food that is given to you. For some reason in our country it is seen as impolite to refuse food. I used to hate doing it. However, now I finally have the gumption and self-respect to realize that if I’m not hungry I don’t want to eat.
Do not turn into a human garbage disposal and eat everyone’s leftovers because you can’t stand to let food go to “waste.” You eating the food also turns it to waste. Also, there is no way your leftovers are getting shipped to the starving children all over the world. If you are full, stop eating.
Have you ever accepted food just to be polite?
What are some philosophies you follow to achieve healthy eating?