Let’s talk about food rules.
What exactly do I mean when I say “food rules?” Well, food rules are something you’re telling yourself about what you should or shouldn’t eat, or when you should or shouldn’t eat, or how much you should or shouldn’t eat.
These rules can come from a lot of different places, including diets, diet culture, things we make up in our own minds, and from eating disorder thoughts.
When you’re wanting to make a change with your relationship with food, how can you tell if you want to eat or not eat a certain food for non-diet reasons?
How do you know when it’s “gentle nutrition” like we talk about in the intuitive eating framework?
It’s important to know when are you making a choice with food that’s based on your instincts and wisdom about your body, vs when it’s diet culture telling you to eat a certain way based on food fears and judgments.
I encourage you to make a list of food rules as you notice them. Start with a quick brain dump, and then stay curious about where other rules lurk in your life. Most people can identify several rules right off the bat, but then they’ll notice other rules over the course of a week or month. So just keep a running list where you can make note of them in your phone or journal. And then I challenge you to actively make an effort to break the rules, challenge the thoughts, and work through the feelings.
In episode 41 of the Rebuilding Trust With Your Body podcast, I’m talking about how to tell the difference between food rules and your food preferences.
- What “food rules” are and the many places these rules can stem from
- How food rules are different from a personal preference or a gentle nutrition strategy with food
- The “thought challenging” strategy you can use to reframe your thoughts around food
- The importance of actively breaking your food rules in order to truly break free from them
I’m confident that pretty much everybody has some type of food rule or food guilt that they can relate to, and it’s important that we can have these conversations and slow down to look at these things.
I know that this might feel tricky, but as you keep peeling back the layers you’ll get more and more clarity over time, trust me. Be patient with yourself, and stay curious.
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Search for episode 46 – How to Tell Whether That Food Rule is Coming From Diet Culture or Your Personal Preference
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