The beauty of the fitness journey is we are always learning and always adjusting. I think about how I use to eat and workout, even just 4 years ago, and it has completely shifted. My new rules of food and fitness serve me so much better and have changed the way I approach eat and every day.
Old: All or nothing.
I use to either eat super strict or not care. Neither one made me feel good physically or emotionally.
It doesn’t matter whether I am at home, out to dinner, on vacation, or at a friends house, I eat the same. I make healthy choices with strategic indulgences. Deprivation doesn’t feel good but neither does being super stuffed. I could end up at Jack In The Box and still make a healthy choice. I think. 😉
Old: What the scale says.
Oh that scale. I really don’t think it counts for a whole lot if it is within a few pounds. There is nothing more meaningless then stepping on a scale every day and judging your progress or self worth by a pound or two.
New: How my clothes fit.
How clothes fit are a much better indicator or if you are gaining or losing fat/weight. When using a scale you could be down a few pounds from a night of drinking. Healthy? Not necessarily. Or up a few pounds from extra sodium in last nights meal. Unhealthy. Not necessarily. Of course the scale can be a good indication and progress for some, but it is not the only one, and should definitely not be used to judge worth.
Old: Keep food out of the house.
I use to keep tempting food out the house and this can be a great initial tool to use when practicing moderation. The trouble is, unless you confine yourself to your home, you will be faced with tempting foods at some point. I had a phase where I just said no to things like ice cream in the house. Then I went crazy and said no to peanut butter in the house. I was scared that one bite would turn into the whole thing.
New: Keep food in the house and practice self trust.
Here is what I did. I would *practice* by keeping those mini Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or individual peanut butter packets in the house. It was there in case I wanted it but not so stressful that I would eat all of it. Once I developed that self trust, I introduced those foods back into the house without feeling the stress that I might eat it all.
Old: Eating on a clock.
Eating 6-8 meals is a modern way of eating. We train ourselves to to be hungry 6-8 times a day. I did follow this strategy for quite a few years, and I think it can be helpful for some people, but for me it became stressful and I was always hungry. I pack my lunch almost everyday and trying to shove 6 meals into my lunch bag was not fun or convenient.
New: Listening to my body.
I still eat 4-5 meals/snacks a day but I do practice with the cues my body gives me. Am I hungry? Am I craving something? Am I thirsty? If I am not super hungry first thing in the morning I don’t make myself eat. But because I know my body, I will make sure I eat within a few hours so I do not get cranky by lunch time.
Old: Working out to burn calories (lots of running and long workouts).
I gotta tell you. I am not a fan of heart rate monitors that boast 900 calorie sweat sessions. Often the more you burn, burn, burn, the more you eat, eat, eat. Tons of calories burned is not the answer to your goals.
New: Working out to build lean muscle.
My workouts are short and sweet now and consist of three days a week of weight lifting, one day of intervals, one yoga or pilates session, and lots of dog walking. I would rather preserve my lean muscle and manage my appetite, then be a slave to calories burned.
Old: Never letting myself get hungry
I use to NEVER let myself get hungry. With the slightest acknowledge from body that I might need a calorie and I would immediately grab a snack. I would fear I would eat everything in sight if I got too hungry.
New: Letting myself get hungry
It is ok to let yourself get a little hungry. I have, over time, developed trust with myself that I will make good choices, even when I am starving. And when I am a little hungry, food tastes better. When I eat not to let myself get hungry, it is not as enjoyable.
These practice may take time to develop, but I would love to hear from you, if any of these resonate, or if you have any old versus new rules that you use.