We’re halfway through the [work] week already!
Eat this not that. Limit carbs after lunch. Don’t eat sugar. White flour is evil. Three meals, no snacks.
Food rules. We all know them, we [might] have followed them at some point – only to end up frustrated and deprived. In light of yesterday being International No Diet Day I decided I’d further the celebration and purpose of this day. Dedicating today’s What I ate Wednesday post to looking at some food rules*. These are either ones I followed or popular ones given by the so-called dieting experts out there. Let’s throw the rule book out of the window and celebrate delicious food!
Rule: Skip breakfast to save calories.
Going without breakfast was one of my worst habits during my ED. After my ED set in I used to skip breakfast for years and tried to make it to lunch with nothing or an apple if I couldn’t focus anymore. Eight hours of class fuelled by nothing but a piece of fruit? Not a smart idea. Nowadays I make sure to eat a satisfying breakfast and usually feel like eating again 2-3 hours later. Sometimes earlier.
Yes, I tried to be a good blogger actually getting out a bowl for the picture. However, after taking the picture I redecided, put the oats back into the pot, reheated them, added cocoa and topped everything with almond butter.
Snack time #1
Rule: Going without food for as long as possible. Hungry? Drink a glass of water.
A rumbling stomach only an hour after my last meal got me anxious. I ‘had’ to wait until the next time I was allowed to eat. The possibilty that I was actually hungry just an hour or two after my last meal? It scared me. Countless cups of tea were needed to fill my stomach. You could see me walk around clinging to a mug pretty much all day at times.
As I took most of today’s pictures on a day off of work I had better snack choices than at the office. And what can I say? It might have gotten slightly chilly again over here [it’s meant to be spring, Germany!] but the frozen yogurt is still making a daily appearance. Back in the day I would have used the lowest-fat cottage cheese and probably skipped the jam altogether [sugar!] but I can tell the difference: creamy, sweet – perfect. And: satisfying.
Rule: The whiter the bread, the sooner you’ll be dead. – or: Cut out refined flour.
Aiming for whole grains whenever possible is a good plan and I find myself enjoying whole grain options more than white most of the time, too. However, this preference shouldn’t feel like a drill and if there’s no other option white grains once in a while won’t hurt. Case in point in my lunch? White tortilla wraps. I’d been curious to attempt creating a tortilla bake for a while but whole-wheat/ high-fiber/ brown rice/ you name it … ones aren’t available over here.
My options were a) not having tortillas at all or ) bite the bullet and get white ones. Simple as is: I wanted tortillas. So white it was. Did I feel awful eating them? No. Uncomfortable? No. I felt happy as a clam and satisfied. I’ll admit this was a first one for me last week because the ‘no white carbs’ rule had remained stubbornly. Now I can’t get enough tortillas, though, so I made sure to stock up while they were still on offer. Whole wheat or not the Enchilada Bake above was really good so if you’re curious about the recipe come back on Friday.
Rules: Snack on fruit and veggies only. No processed foods.
Fruit is still one of my favourite snacks and the amounts I eat every day could single-handedly keep a few farmers in business. But as delicious as it is fruit doesn’t replace dessert for me and sometimes I just want something different, too …
It’s labeling foods as ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ that ignites the dieting mentality and keeps us from giving us permission to fully enjoy eating. There are obviously foods that are more nutritious than others supplying us with vitamins, minerals and offering further health benefits. But limiting myself to just those doesn’t satisfy my soul’s cravings in the long term. Even if you strive on diet of green smoothies, sprouted bread and fruit for dessert external health can be deceiving.
We’ll skip the dinner picture because I didn’t actually take one but I can let you know I went the lazy route and had oat bran again. It’s my go-to I-don’t-feel-like-cooking dinner and one of those meals I still need to work on [hello, repititiveness]. Let’s look at my bedtime snack, though.
Rule: Go to bed hungry.
Going to bed hungry? No added sugars? Forget it, Bob Harper! Try to take my daily chocolate away from me and you’ll be in trouble soon. I’ve mentioned my sweet tooth before so a small piece of chocolate just doesn’t do it for me. Three squares are my usual chocolate fix, sometimes more. You know those days when you just need that bit of extra sweetness…
Giving up the rules and recommendations was scary for me at first. But in the end, all these food rules do is limit ourselves in living life the way we want to. When eating is bound to certain rules, plans, macros it’s no longer a pleasurable experience. Trying to outsmart our intuition and not allowing ourselves to strain from them, clinging to diet plans isn’t realistic or desirable in the long term [or at all]. Because – just like a very good blend put it so well in a recent conversation:
Dieting isn’t actually living.
And life’s too short to not live it.
* Note that this isn’t a full day of eats. I ate more than pictured and yes, there were more fruit and veggies.
Happiness inducing today: ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams playing when I walked into the gym.
Stay in touch!
Did or do you follow any food rules?
What are some of the most ridiculous food rules you’ve heard of?