The Danger In Having Too Many Food Rules

Food Rules

I was talking to a business acquaintance (we’ll call him Tom) the other day and he told me an interesting story that I could really relate to.

He had a business lunch meeting recently with a woman. She was a mom and brought her children along to the meeting.

She packed her and her children’s lunches in Tupperware containers. While she was eating her lunch which was extremely healthy, Tom noticed that her children weren’t eating their lunch so he asked if her kids would like something else to eat.

She noticed what he was eating and said that her children would eat their lunch when they were hungry enough.

So then he offered her some water and she asked where the water was from and if it had been properly filtered.

After he explained the source of his water she declined the offer.

She is a personal trainer and explained that she could not get many of her clients to adhere to her nutritional guidelines.

Since she ate impeccably clean food she expected this from her clients too.

She felt that if her clients could not stick to a strict diet then she didn’t know how to help them.

I could relate to this story because when I was growing up I had to follow a lot of food rules.

This was good and not so good.

I was not a rebellious child or a fussy eater so I just ate whatever my mother served from brown rice and tofu to brewer’s yeast without complaint and I ended up becoming a healthy eater.

There were times though when I got tired of following all the food rules.

I remember once I had a piece of candy in my mouth (from my grandmother) and it made my tongue turn blue.

My mother came home early before I could scrub my tongue clean and she asked me what I had been eating.

In a panic I lied and said it must have been from drinking grape juice.

I was a good little girl and just didn’t want to disappoint my mother since I had eaten outside of the food rules.

What I have learned is that obsessing about eating a perfect diet can be very stressful especially on children.

Since I am the mother of three girls I really try to not impose too many food rules.

I noticed that in the past when I did all I got was rebellion.

The only thing I occasionally recommend to them is to make sure they are eating enough fruits and vegetables.

To be honest this is the only food group that I personally focus on because this is where you get the majority of your nutrients.

When you include at least the minimum recommendation of 3-5 servings of produce per day you crowd out the desire to eat less nutritious foods.

I think that when you impose strict food rules with yourself and/or your family you are not approaching the eating process from a place of joy.

I believe eating should be pleasurable and stress-free and when you approach eating from this angle then you will find that you naturally gravitate to foods that nourish the body anyway.

If I had the opportunity to speak to that woman with the strict food rules I would tell her to let go of the need to control her and her children’s food so much and instead focus on the joy of eating.

What I have learned as a mom about eating is that when children are taught the basics of healthy eating they will eventually make the wisest choices for themselves.

Eating good food should be less about following strict rules and more about savoring and finding joy and pleasure in the act of eating.

Do you find yourself imposing strict food rules on yourself or your family?

 

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