Thursday, July 5, 2012

Food Rules

I overheard a discussion recently about what and how people should eat. It was the usual 'conventional Wisdom' that gets repeated. The things everyone 'knows' that are taken as truth simply because they are repeated so often.

One comment was that someone should stop eating bread. Bread is the 'worst thing you can eat'. I expected the reason to be carbs - but nope. It's because it has so many calories that you can't burn off.

Yep, that's what he said. While I waited for someone at the table to challenge this 'fact' I went through a list in my head of foods with more calories than a slice of bread. Yet mixed up as this statement was,  no one argued with it.

Next, the conversation moved on to when and how much one should eat. Of course, all heads nodded at the 'eat a large breakfast, the largest meal at lunch, and basically a snack for dinner'. All agreed that while this is the 'healthiest way to eat', not that they knew of anyone who ate this way, nor had they ever been able to do it themselves. Whether it was work schedules, or physical reasons, none of them explained why they couldn't do it.

Then there are those who eat by the clock. They decide what to eat or not eat based on what time it is. They prefer to go hungry rather than eat out of sync with the clock. And let's not even mention the idea of a non-traditional breakfast food at 8 am.

I don't want to debate whether this is a good way to eat or not. It was the nodding and acceptance without question that got me. No one asked 'why is this so?'. No one said 'Everyone is different. That may work for someone else, but it I tried it and it made me feel lousy'. No one said 'I eat when my body says, not when the clock says'.

I, however, can tell you why I eat the way I do. I don't follow anyone else's rules but my own, and my only rule is to listen to my body. I do what I do because it works *for me*, and I try to stay flexible. If my body tells me it's hungry I don't ignore it because it's not 'time to be hungry'.  If dinner leftovers sounds good to me at 8 am, I don't decide that's not appropriate breakfast food, and have an egg instead. And I know from experience if I eat too little at dinner I sleep badly and when I do sleep, I have nightmares, so none of that 'eat dinner like a pauper' thing for me.

I have to wonder what would happen if heads nodded in agreement at the idea of trusting our bodies instead of the latest diet advice. 

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