The Food Rules We Live By

by tessa8m on April 23, 2012

in Serious Stuff

Good Morning Friends!

You know what I forgot to mention on Friday? A VERY important to date to a whole lot of people out there, especially several individuals on this campus, 4/20 aka National Smoke Weed Day! Well I’m not sure if that is the exact correct title, but it’s something along those lines. Basically the day where smoking marijuana alllll day, outside and in public places is perfectly acceptable.

Although I did not partake in the festivities myself, I was around several people that were celebrating the holiday on Friday. Right near my dorm there is a large piece of lawn that is at a sloped angle and named accordingly, “the Hill” a great place for people to gather outside and lay out, read, hang out with others, SMOKE, drink, play games and so on. There is a lovely view of campus from the Hill too and it’s a rather popular place, so you had better believe it was bumpin on 4/20!

On Friday I decided to get out of my own head and socialize and joined some lovely ladies from my staff to lay/hang out. It turned out to be a fantastic afternoon and it wasn’t until the very air I breathed in was smokey marijuana that I realized what the date actually was haha.

Anyway it was a rather delightful afternoon, followed by helping out a friend and several others, set up for a dance that would be happening for freshman students later that night. The whole afternoon I was around people, doing things other than constantly focusing on everything food-related, and let me tell you, it was a nice break. Yes by the end of the day I did crave some alone time for myself and that is just fine… I believe I am starting to find that balance between socializing with others and needing my space.

I even went out Saturday night!

But then- walking home happened.. in the rain.. in the pouring rain. Well it was an adventure at least haha

On Sunday I decided to venture on over to my dad and stepmom’s house for a day visit where I (obviously) cooked and baked my heart out. It was a rather perfect day for this as it was rainy as heck in these parts (and still is) and is supposed to continue like this for the next few days. We need the rain though, as we were experiencing a bit of a drought the last few weeks, so this weather is welcome!

Because I was around food, cooking and such all day on Sunday, it got me thinking about something- something that I have actually been wanting to write about for quite some time! I don’t know why I have waited so long to do so either… I guess it’s because I knew it would take me a bit to gather my thoughts around such a subject that has played a leading role in governing my life for these past several years.

Food Rules, and no, I am not talking about actual beneficial ones like from Michael Pollen.

The rules around food- the ones that govern what we “should” be eating vs. not, the times these foods are appropriate, the amounts, portions, the foods we “need,” the ones that should NEVER be consumed…. Food Rules.

In my opinion, women in this country (and some men too!) have some sort of disordered view towards food, eating and their bodies. I could be wrong here, but there is not one.single.person I know that doesn’t dedicate some kind of thought to what foods they are eating, when, if it will make them gain/lose, etc. You cannot live in our society and have a completely “normal” relationship with food and physical appearance… the information is too abundant to completely ignore.

You do not have to have a full-blown eating disorder to be effected by such obsessive topics within our culture, and that is something that is important to remember. Just because you may not meet the entire criteria for an “official” eating disorder, does not mean you are not suffering in some way… the extent of which only you can honestly gauge.

The idea of normal eating remains to be a foreign concept to me, but one I am continuously striving for, as I know this a key factor in recovering (whatever that means exactly) from the eating disorder that has nearly destroyed my life. However, there are countless obstacles in the way of achieving this more normalized view of food and eating, ones that I have managed to create in my own mind and for myself….

My personal “food rules” being a major one I have yet to overcome. These are rules I introduced into my life in the darkest and worst times of my disordered eating. While I have let many of these go, there is still a sense of longing I have for them, and some are much harder to break than others.

From dictionary.com- Rules,

  • A principle or regulation governing conduct, action, procedure, arrangement, etc.: the rules of chess.
  • The customary or normal circumstance, occurrence, manner, practice, quality, etc.

I think for this topic, the second definition fits nicely into what this is all about.

I believe that everyone has “food rules” to a certain extent- ones learned from our parents and friends on what methods of eating keep us the healthiest and also from gaining weight. But let’s not forget the ones that are drilled into our heads from magazines, the media, and TV for weight loss, maintaining and “thinness”. Ones like,

  • No eating after 7pm- causes weight gain in your sleep
  • Eat more in the morning and less at night
  • Protein at every meal
  • Cut back on carbohydrates (they are the devil after all)
  • Healthy fats only- 6 almonds ought to do it! Don’t even think about saturated or trans fat though!
  • Sugar is bad

Hahhaa this is great.

These are not “new” ideas, they are the same ones that are tirelessly seen in magazines on how to jump start your weight loss, lose the extra pounds and keep it off. Throughout the years, these rules have changed according to what the latest trend is, and the next set that comes out always claim to be the BEST, the most innovative, the ones that will surely work this time!

At this point in my life, I no longer read anything on the topic of “weight loss” as of course this is not my goal, as it once was. Therefore the food rules about the best and most effective methods for losing weight, are no longer actively sought out. Unfortunately, that does not mean I haven’t managed to cling onto some of my personal food rules that I genuinely fear completely letting go… although I have improved greatly.

Some of my FORMER Food Rules,

  • ONLY coffee, an apple and carrot sticks before lunch around 1:00. The largest apple must be chosen because calories from apples won’t make me gain weight like calories from other foods will.
  • If I do choose to have something than an apple for “breakfast” it has to be other kinds of fruit, again safe calories.
  • TWO meals must be primarily vegetables- aka salads for two meals is pretty much necessary. These are safer calories and won’t allow for too much weight gain. (No wonder I was constantly gassy and in serious pain after every meal)
  • Keep carbohydrate consumption to a minimum, especially when I exercise as this will be the most effective way to lose weight- aka waste away my body to a gross nothing

  • No eating after exercising, even an intense amount, the fat will be utilized for recovery, no need to eat
  • No foods can be consumed with a calorie count of 150 or more per serving
  • Water-dense fruit and vegetables are fine, but ones like bananas are just not allowed, too many carbs and calories
  • Dinner cannot be eaten before 7:15 pm, what if I get hungry right before I go to sleep?!
  • No fats allowed, not even healthy ones.
  • Can’t have certain foods more than one time per day- especially dairy, protein and carb products.

“Safe calories” make a regular entrance here it seems…

I could go on but I think you get it, I was a disordered head case. I clung to these rules like there was no tomorrow… these were the thoughts I lived by and they HAD to followed to a T, otherwise I would gain weight, get fat and become even more unhappy and miserable than I already was. Breaking one of the rules would be destructive to my existence, I felt like a failure whenever it happened, my anxiety would be through the roof, and that the world was in fact coming apart by letting any of these go.

Gosh I am just so thankful I am not living as I once did. I reflect on how I felt during this dark time, and just wow, I was such an emotional headcase! Besides depressed, I was incredibly angry and frustrated at everyone and everything… especially when anything got in the way of my food rules, my routine, and schedule. How DARE someone try and intervene and mess me up? Don’t they know what awful, terrible things are going to happen?!

As I said before, I have made vast improvements from the worst times of my life thus far. I was able to let several of these food (and really LIFE) rules, by challenging them, breaking them at my own effort and seeing that DOOM did not quickly follow. Additionally I asked myself a key question, “so I have these rules and they MUST be followed. But how well are they really working for me? Yes I am losing weight, but at what cost?” My personality, my physical health and my sanity, that’s what.

Yes the improvements have been made, but unfortunately I do still cling to food rules. They provide me with some kind of security, of control because I know the ideas and values are in place that allow me to have some kind of direction and plan with how I am eating and what this food will do to my body.

Again, I am no longer trying to lose weight, but that sure as heck doesn’t mean that the fear of gaining too much or “getting fat” is still a destructive thought of mine. If I was completely able to trust my body- reaching it’s happy weight which would theoretically allow me to have my period back- I would not be dwelling on the foods I was eating, as I would be trusting myself to normalize everything in the end.

Clearly I am NOT at that point, as I monitor my food intake like a hawk. I just can’t help it, I am still unwilling to let all of this go… I am just so scared to see what will happen if somehow no longer think about food, weight, exercising, calories, nutrients, etc… to the extent that I do now. Perhaps I will actually be (gasp) HAPPIER, more care-free, and loving myself if I try and turn these food rules off?! NOPE, because I only consider the ‘bad’ results that could come- uncontrollable weight gain for example.

At this point, I don’t have a former written out list of the rules I follow, but I can think of a few key ideas that immediately come to mind:

  • No more than 400 calories before 12 pm
  • An apple must be eaten at least once per day, otherwise… just bad
  • The calories from at least one meal MUST mostly come from vegetables- these are much safer
  • I cannot go a day without vegetables making a regular appearance, otherwise my body will quickly fall apart
  • no more than 2 tablespoons of nut butter in one sitting
  • Fruit must make a regular appearance throughout the day, these are safer calories
  • Can’t have sweets every day, I will become too addicted to this habit
  • Keep carbohydrate consumption to a certain amount and also keep this macro-nutrient coming from several different sources
  • Get protein in my body ASAP after a workout or my fitness will all go to sh*t
  • I must follow a clean diet at least 98% of the time- I know the 80/20 rule is the more accepted one but I am the EXCEPTION this rule and gain weight must faster and easier than everyone else

Once again I am sure I could think of more, but I will spare you.

What I have told you are my personal food rules, but they have actually come from SOMEWHERE… mostly the media and our society establishing what is “right” and “wrong.” These food rules don’t always have to be about losing weight, although this was the initial reason that I adopted so many into my life.

If you think about it, food rules are popping up everywhere and not just in weight loss related magazines… I am looking at you blog world and Pinterest! They are all claiming to be the best for you, the ones that will fight disease, make you a lean, mean fighting machine, the rules that you MUST follow to have optimal health, otherwise you will die a slow, painful and unfortunate death. Perhaps a bit extreme, but you get my point.

I see this all of the time throughout the “Healthy Living” blog world… all of which have their won set of rules that some claim MUST be followed:

  • Paleo Diet, this is the best thing for you!
  • Only organic!
  • Go gluten-free, you don’t need it anyway!
  • Veganism, don’t eat animal products ever!
  • Eat CLEAN and only CLEAN!
  • Cow’s milk is just terrible for you, go with almond, soy!
  • You use white flour? Ha, that’s so yesterday- buckwheat, almond, coconut, chickpea flours (and more) are the only good ones

Now before getting angry with me on this, I completely understand that some people really do have genuine gluten-intolerances, Celiac’s, and so on- they actually do NEED to steer clear of gluten. For those that choose to go Vegan, that is there personal choice for whatever reasoning they use and that is of course fine too. Paleo diet works for you and you feel better than ever? Awesome, I however would rather stab myself than completely give up carbs and grains (even with the fears I still have).

There are so many other diets and trends out there that claim to be the BEST, but let’s be honest here, no ONE way of eating works for every.single.person. If that was the case, our society would be a whole lot healthier and happier. Of course the ideal solution is to eat the foods that are actually nutritionally good for you, prolong life and all of that good stuff, and then enjoy items that are purely for taste and pleasure, all in moderation, but no more thought and attention is needed than that.

But that is simply NEVER going to happen. Our culture’s focus on food, the latest diet trends, the “best” ways to eat, weight, exercising, is way too intense and popular to ever lessen in intensity, let alone completely disappear. I am not saying I am above any of this at all… in fact my whole life is about FOOD, much thanks going to the eating disorder on that one. I love to think about eating, planning meals, cooking, baking, preparing, tasting, seeing the pleasure on other people’s faces when something turns out successfully…

And yet I hate food because of the way it torments me, and takes charge of my life, make decisions for me… I hate how I fear it, yet can’t stop obsessing, it RULES me and so much of my life is based on the simple act of consuming food. But of course it is not so simple, everything food related is just the surface of disordered eating, the physical image, habits, rituals and acts that are just symptoms of whatever else is going on... the tips of the iceberg if you will. I mean it’s called an EATING disorder for a reason.

I feel like I am all over the place in this post… but I suppose the overall point I am attempting to articulate is that there is always going to be an endless supply of claims and trends for the “best” diets, eating habits being released, and there is just no stopping it. But choosing how you approach and handle this information is important. Furthermore, several of us have deeply ingrained lessons about food from out childhood that are quite hard to break, plus the ones we have picked up throughout the course of our lifetimes.

Of course not all of these Food Rules are bad. The ones that are there to help your physical and mental well-being can actually be helpful. The problem comes in when these food rules are so regularly accepted, internalized, are supposed to work for everyone, and if you just follow the rules well then everything will be A-OKAY! Yet I know personally that trying to follow these rules which claim to make me happy and awesome, have actually made me miserable, anxious and physically sick at points in my life.

So I ask the question again, “how well are these food rules working for me? Am I physically healthy? No, no period. Am I happy with myself and with my life? No. Am I no longer obsessing about food? Hell no.” Hmm there’s something not quite right going on here!

Like so many aspects this eating disorder, the food rules have got to go. They have clearly done NOTHING beneficial for me and have only heightened my focus on food and making sure none of these rules are ever broken. Times when they are, well the anxiety is often difficult to handle, the fear of not knowing how my body will react to what has “broken” is a emotion I am quite frankly tired of experiencing.

I know there will always be influences from society, our culture, items and blogs I read on the Internet on a daily basis, but what is essential is finding what works the best for me and my body. Rules, tips, claims, what I “should” do aside, what kind of diet works for me? What can I do to establish the normalcy of eating into my daily life? How can I make the obsessions stop?

Right now I do not have definite answers to these questions, as I feel I never do, but finding what works for Me, myself and I, is something that must be done. Otherwise the focus will continue, the fears, anxiety, sadness, will never leave me. Plus I will never be able to experience something new and different with food without inevitable horrific emotions, if I don’t cut the crap with these Food Rules. This is not life to me, and I deserve an existence free of all of this, as everyone does too.

-Have you ever succumbed to rules and restrictions with food? If so, what are some of them?

-Where have your food rules come from? Parents? Society? Media? ….Blogs?

-Have these rules changed throughout your lifetime? Intensified or perhaps have lessened? Have you noticed changes in your emotions and attitudes when either of these shifts occurred?

-What are the craziest food rules you have ever followed (if any!)?

-Do you know any.one.person that has what you consider to be a “normal” approach and habits when it comes to food and their bodies?

-Have/did you celrate 4/20?! Hehe. How was your weekend?

I know this was another lengthy one… especially for a Monday. So if you read the whole thing great and if not, understandable :) Have a nice rest of your day!

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{ 125 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Vien @ We Dare Food April 23, 2012 at 5:12 am

oh goshhh I have the fruit thing as well except mine’s with grapes! and it used to be kiwi! No grapes = bad bad for my body. I know that it’s still a disordered thinking but i’m glad it’s much better than those days where my thinking is “ONLY grapes!”
My food rules actually came from a particular friend who suffered from ED. Heck, I didn’t even knew what calories were before I talked to her about her problems. Stupid me, trying to be a good friend. Asking her about her thoughts & feelings which are now my burden to bear.
hmm.. I do know a few people who are ‘normal’ around food so, I definitely try to stick to them and learn from their habits! Well, my ed habits were learned from one person so I’m positive and hopeful that I can learn better habits from others :D
Vien @ We Dare Food recently posted..Momofuku’s Crack Pie

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2 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 8:54 pm

I am glad to hear you have gotten so much better now too! I am sorry your friend influenced you like that… I know I have had friends that have added to my “knowledge” of all of this too

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3 Khushboo Thadani April 23, 2012 at 5:39 am

I really enjoyed this post, Tess and I am sure many women (disordered or not) can relate to it to some extent! I wrote about this a couple of months ago and like yourself, our perception of normal eating is completely skewed given the mixed messages we perpetually receive from the media. As for blogs, I try not to let myself fall into the social comparison trap- everyone has their own style of eating and exercising and hence no one way is best! My food rules are nowhere near as much as in the past, (thank goodness) nor are they as extreme! Some which come to mind from past years include:

1) No bread in the evening…any other carb is fine
2) Protein in every meal
3) Veggies in both lunch & dinner
4) Cheese & nut butters should be avoided
5) No lunch before 1.30 pm, otherwise the gap between lunch and dinner is too large (God forbid I had an afternoon snack)
Khushboo Thadani recently posted..Nam-as-tay, homies…

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4 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I need to work on not falling into that trap too… so so difficult as I am “great” at comparing to others. Ugh. That is wonderful that you are getting better at your rules too, such a less amount of anxiety!

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5 Alexandra April 23, 2012 at 5:44 am

Best. Post. Ever. :D Seriously though you are so spot on– I think especially for people who have suffered from an ED, rules can be so controlling in life. It’s absolutely ridiculously what the mind can make up. Sometimes when I stop and think about how insane some of the rules I followed during ED were I have to laugh. Like who cares if someone eats a 4 course dinner 10 minutes before they go to bed– their body doesn’t know what time it is, it’s just hungry and needs fuel! And unlike society thinks, that person won’t blimp out in 3 seconds and get huge haha
Here’s to living food rule free, fueling our tunmies well and enjoying life without the restrictions we put on ourselves! :)
I’m so happy you had such a fun weekend!! And umm do you realize how flipping GORGEOUS you are even soaked in the rain?! I look like a hot mess haha ;)
Have a great Monday lovaaaaaa!!
Alexandra recently posted..Sports Nutritionist Recap

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6 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I agree it really is absolutely ridiculous what our minds can do! I love your idea of living life free of food rules, always what I am striving for :)
And thanks woman! Hot mess, you so silly :D

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7 Melissa (Better Fit) April 23, 2012 at 7:42 am

It’s so true- everyone has their own ideas, thoughts, and concepts about eating. In some ways I think that’s a good thing because our bodies are all different and we require different things from our nutrition. But when the rules are unhealthy, this can also be dangerous. Your point about getting nutritional information from magazines or the internet is well taken. It can be dangerous- and can lead to unhealthy habits. (To clarify, I’m not saying all of this information is bad, but not all of it is good either! Especially when the information is too general, or when it’s just plain unreliable).

My top general food rule is probably to: eat real, whole foods in their most natural form whenever possible.

Thanks for another thoughtful and sincere post to get us all thinking! :)
Melissa (Better Fit) recently posted..Fun trick: I promise you’ll work harder!

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8 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 10:46 am

I agree with what you are saying Melissa…. not all of it is bad, but some of it makes it seem like it’s AWESOME for everyone and then is when we have trouble
I like your rule, basic and good for your body :)

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9 Living, Learning, Eating April 23, 2012 at 7:53 am

It’s so sad, but so true, that something as natural, simple, and enjoyable as eating food can be so twisted by these artificial rules that we as individuals, but even more so as a society, impose. I personally think most diets, like the Paleo, are rubbish. As for rules about when to eat and when not to eat? Also rubbish. Eat when you’re hungry! I feel so bad whenever I see little girls, sometimes middle schoolers and sometimes even elementary schoolers, falling subject to this nonsense. It’s a vicious cycle and sometimes its never ending. I’ve heard six year old girls talking about getting fat and avoiding bad foods. I almost cried.
Living, Learning, Eating recently posted..2:1 Protein Bar Review: Peanut Butter Brownie Time!

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10 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 10:45 am

I know I agree… it really is awful when girls (and some boys!) are so young and starting to adapt these “rules.” They will be struggling in different degrees for the rest of their lives

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11 Lauren (@poweredbypb) April 23, 2012 at 8:25 am

Great post! I used to have a lot of food rules, but I have managed to break a few of them lately. I never used to eat after 7pm (Now I always make sure I have a snack later than this, or I wake up hungry in the night!). I also never used to allow myself more than one of a certain type of fruit (i.e only 1 banana, 1 apple or 1 pear a day, never more than one… Ironically the other day I had 3 bananas, and 3 apples!). There are still a lot of foods that I avoid, and a lot of rules that I follow, but I’m taking them down one step at a time :P
Lauren (@poweredbypb) recently posted..Rhubarb & Walnut Banana Bread

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12 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I feel ya on so many of these rules… and that is great how much better you have gotten with them!

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13 Kaila @healthyhelperblog! April 23, 2012 at 8:43 am

Great post girl!!! So glad you had a fun social outing! Laying out in the sunshine is just a necessity some times!

Food rules are such a sad part of our society….they tie down people and restrict peoples choices so much! And its all because thats what the media and society put out there as being “right”.
Kaila @healthyhelperblog! recently posted..They see me vloggin’

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14 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 9:07 pm

It is so a necessity Kaila :) The media definitely made a huge difference in why I have these rules!

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15 Jocelyn @ Peace Love Nutrition April 23, 2012 at 9:04 am

Oh college- I remember 4/20 and I definitely had my share of fun those days : )

I just wrote about food rules on my blog also! Such an important topic- esp for those of us who tried restricting them to an extreme.

xo

http://peacelovenutrition.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/5-easy-changes-for-a-healthier-life/#comments
Jocelyn @ Peace Love Nutrition recently posted..5 Things Yoga has taught me about Life

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16 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 10:43 am

Ill check it out

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17 Laura@keepinghealthygettingstylish April 23, 2012 at 9:10 am

One of the reasons I’d really love to be a health coach is because different things work for different people – now wonder people have no idea where to start with all the mixed messages out there! I know what you mean about food rules. For me it was no banana’s, pasta or bread because I thought it would make me fat. I’ve got so much better at that now thankfully. One thing I am doing which seems a bit counter intuitive right now is counting calories – but to make sure I eat enough! I’ve lost a couple of lbs over the last few weeks and although its focusing more on food I need to make sure that doesn’t happen. Its kind of reassuring in a way because it reminds me how much I can eat. Its almost like I have to re learn what a normal amount for my body is, crazy!
Laura@keepinghealthygettingstylish recently posted..A weekend of TV sport and a twist on Caponata

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18 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Thankfully indeed, it’s amazing how much less anxiety I have when I have let go of the food rules, even though I initially thought it would makes things worse!
I feel ya on re-learning, that is what I am doing too

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19 Devon S April 23, 2012 at 9:14 am

The weather looks lovely where you are! And good for you for acknowledging this issue…it’s something I still deal with and it drives me insane!! Some of my food rules include no more than two tbsp of peanut butter per day (I’m allergic to any tree nut butter), same thing for breakfast and lunch every day, I have to drink at least 64 oz of water per day, I freak out if I go over 1,000 calories before dinner (I’m getting better about it though!) and a lot more haha ugh. I think all of these rules basically just came from things I’ve heard growing up, things I see, and all the research I did during my ED (of course I didn’t pay attention to any of the things telling me my rules were stupid). My boyfriend’s sister is the most normal person in the world around food. I’m obsessed with her because of it! She doesn’t measure out anything, she eats ANYTHING she wants to and never complains…I don’t think I’ve ever heard her call herself fat or say “I shouldn’t be eating this”. She just doesn’t care and guess what…she’s not a whale!! She’s a huge role model for me :)
Devon S recently posted..Guess what…

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20 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 10:42 am

Thank you for your thoughts here Devon! Oh yes, I have been there with the 1,000 calorie thing before dinner too… well not being able to go over! For me it was with weight watchers points, I had to have a certain number of points left before dinner, otherwise… DOOM!
Your boyfriend’s sister does sound like a great role model, good for her!

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21 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries April 23, 2012 at 9:19 am

i’m SO glad you had such a great weekend!! you look so beautiful in your photos. :)
as for food rules, oh man, i used to be FULL of rules for myself regarding food. i look back and just think how miserable that was. those rules have definitely diminished as the years have gone by, but every once in awhile i catch myself resorting back to those rules and i have to snap myself out of it.
Ashley @ My Food ‘N’ Fitness Diaries recently posted..A Night On The Town

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22 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 10:40 am

Well thank you Ashley, that was nice for me to hear :) That’s great you have improved with the food rules so much! I am working on it too for sureeee

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23 Amy Lauren April 23, 2012 at 9:42 am

I’ve always had crazy food rules too. Possibly one of the craziest was trying to hold out from eating until lunchtime because I like how thin my tummy looked when I woke up. Wow… just wow.

I celebrated 4/20 with a Subway sandwich and a cupcake because that’s what I eat before races and I had a race the next day. Unfortunately, one of my track kids told me they had drug dogs come to his school the day before to try to bust kids who were going to smoke pot on 4/20 (and sadly, his school is a middle school).

Glad you were able to go out and have fun with your friends! Doing things with others definitely helps get my mind off of anything I’m going through, whether it’s food/body image related, or trying to deal with my husband’s job search (he’s look at jobs in other cities). So much easier not to dwell when you’re with others and have stuff to focus on!
Amy Lauren recently posted..{Race Recap} Run for Brighter Days 5K/10K

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24 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 10:39 am

I can relate to that first one you said here… I “love” that feeling of being thin… it helps to ease my anxiety. Ugh. Sadly that doesn’t surprise me about cops being at the middle school, it is quite a popular thing to do in my town around that age!

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25 Alex @ therunwithin April 23, 2012 at 9:45 am

This entry speaks wonders to me. I think rules are something that although you can be recovered or recovering, it is something you always need to monitor. It is hard because every freaking article you read will put more rules into your head. As I said before, my biggest tool is always writing them down and crossing them off. Breaking a rule everyday or at least a couple times a week keeps my mind in check. But society sure doesn’t help with all their stupid ineffective rules being bombarded at you on a daily basis.

Thinking back, my food rules were crazy. It makes me laugh now and actually see how unhappy I was trying desperately to follow those rules. Now, I know I still have some but I always try to come out with them with my nutritionist so that I can work on changing them.

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26 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 10:37 am

That really is a great technique, the crossing off idea… I still need to give that a go! Our society certainly does implement a ton of these into our heads, we need to filter them!

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27 Tayla @ She'll Be Free April 23, 2012 at 9:55 am

So glad you had a good weekend..looks like you had an awesome time! Thanks for this post, it helped open my eyes to my own “food rules” and now I will be taking some time to reflect and work on changing these because like you said, they only hurt me in the long run and make me miserable in the moment. I really liked reading this today. I hope you continue to have a good week!
Tayla @ She’ll Be Free recently posted..{monday loves}

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28 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 10:36 am

That’s wonderful to hear you are going to try and challenge some of your own “rules!” That is the best thing we can do and then prove how irrational they are to ourselves

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29 Daybelis martinez April 23, 2012 at 10:01 am

Tessa you look so beautiful, love your bathing suit! I can sooooo relate to this post because during my Ed past rules ruled my life. They continue to exist now and it truly is hard to just get over them. Some of my absurd rules would be not eating dinner past 7 , not eating more than 2 pieces of fruit in a day( especially banana) , no carbs late at night, no more than 2 servings of dairy in a day and yada yada yada. Who the hell cares? (sigh) apparently I do. I really can’t wait for the day in which I could just eat without thinking about anything.

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30 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 10:35 am

Thanks Daybelis :) Well I know saying “who the hell cares” seems right, but of course we do care! I know that acknowledging these is a helpful way of getting over such thoughts

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31 Daybelis martinez April 23, 2012 at 11:30 am

Yes accepting the truth is a step forward sadly I think the media makes the process even harder-_-

32 Kat April 23, 2012 at 10:08 am

Is it bad that this post actually made me laugh?? Sorry, its true. Probably because its like your stinkin reading my mind here!! Love it lady. Preach it!! Especially the “healthy living” ones!
P.S. lookin gorgeous as usual love :)
Kat recently posted..Game Day Eats

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33 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 10:34 am

Nope it’s not bad, it helps me to know I am not alone in this Kat :) And thank you!

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34 *Andrea* April 23, 2012 at 10:40 am

I am in love with your blog! I’m also on a similar journey to stop “obeying” weird food rules, and treat my body with care.

This is a REALLY great quote below from an incredible author that I though you would enjoy:

“What is Normal Eating?

Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it -not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful. Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be undereating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.

In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.”

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35 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Hi Andrea! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog! I loveee this definition of normal eating :) I found it a few months ago and have it posted up in my room!

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36 Rachel @ Eat, Learn, Discover! April 23, 2012 at 11:00 am

great post! I think food rules are a huge issue for way too many people – but living in Europe I have noticed that it’s *much* less in the spotlight than it is in the States. People eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, whenever they’re hungry. Of course there are certain ‘rules’ that have developed as a part of the culture, but they are implicit in a sense. Don’t get me wrong, food rules are still there, but you hardly ever hear anyone turn down food if they’re hungry and it looks good (unless you’re vegetarian or lactose intolerant or something, which also isn’t really common here).
Anyway, I can say that I have definitely had my struggles with food rules – but am coming from a slightly different stance. I have issues with both ends of the spectrum. Since I come from a history of emotional eating, I could easily live without food rules, but I would be eating all the time, and relapse into the “food as comfort” time. On the other side of things, too many food rule would also make me really unhappy.
I think you’re so right in saying that each person really needs to figure out what is right for themselves. For some people, myself included, having a few food rules makes me feel like I have a purpose. I didn’t want to eat meat and pasta all the time when my parents cooked, and burgers for lunch on weekends because that’s what my family did. I genuinely did not enjoy how I felt when I ate those things. Just as I know I truly feel better when I limit my sugar and dairy. But, I also know that I’ll drive myself crazy if I don’t have an indulgent meal or dessert every now an then. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have at least some dessert every day for my sanity.
So for me, my ‘rules’ are about what feels good – and I guess you can say that it becomes a lifestyle.

I have faith that you WILL find what works for you. I do find that the less you eat what you think you *should* and just what makes you feel good, the closer you will get to that happy balance :-)
(sorry for the novel response, again. your posts are always so thought provoking!)
Rachel @ Eat, Learn, Discover! recently posted..Re-Thinking My Image

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37 tessa8m April 24, 2012 at 10:52 am

Hi Rachel! It must be so interesting to really see how others are eating while abroad and how there really are less food-related and disordered eating issues! I can also understand about what you are saying about the food rules and how you personally internalize and utilize them. It is a bit different with some similar thoughts of course… but you are using them in a more positive and lifestyle way, I love this! Please don’t apologize for a longer comment, I really love to hear your thoughts!

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38 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table April 23, 2012 at 11:09 am

Your weekend looks like so much fun! In ATL we can’t forget when it’s 420 – Sweetwater 420 beer throws a huge festival. :)

You make such good point about “rules” and the popular ones right now (GF, paleo). It really does come down to what works for YOU. Food is personal… but it should be fun (in my foodie-opinion. :)).
Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted..Raw Bulgur Breakfast Bowl + A Giveaway

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39 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Food should be fun Laura… I very much agree with your opinion :)

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40 Faith @ For the Health of It April 23, 2012 at 11:12 am

Ugh – it seems like food rules are inescapable! Even in my recovered state, I still feel like I have unspoken rules to keep myself from backsliding into disordered eating, if that makes sense. I try to add specific amounts of good fats to my diet, accept treats when they’re offered, never skip meals even if I’m not hungry…they do dictate a lot of my eating habits and I’d love to break them and just eat without having to even think about it.

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41 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 9:30 pm

That does make sense, for sure. I probably will have that as well.. WHEN I get into a more recovered and stable state :)

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42 Catalina @ Cake with Love April 23, 2012 at 11:15 am

I didn’t follow any crazy food rules, I remember when I was 16 until 19 I really tried not to eat anything after 8PM, exceptions were fruits and vegetables! At this moment I think these are my rules:
- Eat 80% Organic
- Everything in moderation
- It is fine If I didn’t eat any vegetables today, and had Biscoff after every meal, tomorrow will be a mosre balanced day
- Don’t obsess over food
- Enjoy each meal
- Don’t eat 2 hours before a workout, it feels like I have steel in my stomach
I think this is it, also sometimes I make some cleanses, like 5 days no sugar, and I try to drinka lot of juices and smoothies!!
Catalina @ Cake with Love recently posted..Condensed Milk Donuts

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43 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Sounds like you have a pretty balanced outlook going on here Catalina! That is very inspiring and the not obsessing one is key if you ask me :)

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44 Lindsay @ Fuel My Family April 23, 2012 at 11:34 am

Not that I am perfect in ANY way but I really dont have a single food rule i dont think. I eat what I want when I want it. If that means a massive salad for lunch then ok. if that means 5 pieces of pizza and ice cream then ok. Since my body feels best on healthy food thats what i tend to crave (well plus my massive sweet tooth) but if my body wants 2500 calories one day, i go for it. If it wants 5000 I go for that too (given I am a breastfeeding mom). I have 2 little girls and it is so hard to try and teach them to be healthy but not make them obsess over what they eat. Society is really messed up with eating these days, and people go to the extreme. Somehow anarexia and obesiety are both huge issues.
Lindsay @ Fuel My Family recently posted..Its All Over Now

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45 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Well wow Lindsay, this is seriously helpful for me to read… how inspiring and you prove that it is possible!

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46 Brittany April 23, 2012 at 11:37 am

Gah I know these rules all too well. I used to live by them religiously. I have kicked every rule I know to the curb, and have listened to my body. If I am hungry at 8pm..I eat a snack. This was WAY hard at first, but I keep the snack light to keep my mental stability.

Your outfit is SO EFFING cute!! LOVE the jacket!! ANd you look amazing laying out with your friends..ok that might sound weird since you are half naked..but I mean that in a good way! Not in a creepy way..I’m stopping now.
Brittany recently posted..Banana-rama

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47 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Brittany, yesss for letting those rules go, that is the key to getting better and better! And thanks lady, NOT creepy at all, you are too sweet :)

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48 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin April 23, 2012 at 11:44 am

Ughh yes I was the exact same way when I had my ED! I had so many rules that dictated my life and they were literally ALL I could ever think about! No more than 1/2 cup of cereal with breakfast, no snacks between meals, always leave a few bites of my sandwich behind so that I don’t eat all the calories, NO fat whatsoever, only eat when my hunger is screaming at me and I can’t handle it any longer, etc. It was such an awful way to live! Thank goodness we’re both past that. ;)

It’s so true that blogs, even healthy ones, can still be a source of some “food rules”. We just have to remember to do what works for US and to not let someone else dictate our definition of “healthy”.
Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin recently posted..Sunday countdown

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49 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Gahh thank goodness indeed… it is just no way to live, so much anxiety! Finding what works for ourselves is they KEY, but also avoiding triggers and filtering needs to be worked in there too :)

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50 Liz @ Southern Charm April 23, 2012 at 11:51 am

Um YES!! I have had/still have so many food rules. Right now I’m trying very hard to just go with the flow and eat what I want, when I want, until I’m full (so I guess, in moderation?).

And I agree .. everyone food-wise … is completely different. I think that’s what makes us human, being ourselves, ya know? I’ve dabbled in a little bit of everything trying to find who I was food-wise, and honestly, I’m a mixture of it all!
Liz @ Southern Charm recently posted..4 Month Bestie Challenge

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51 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Moderation sound good to me… that seems to be the idea that is the goal, but of course harder to achieve than I would have thought!

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52 Yellow Haired Girl April 23, 2012 at 11:57 am

Loved this post! The one that I always have to keep in mind that eating after 7pm isn’t going to kill me. There are SO MANY “rules” out there … I just have to remember that I need to listen to what my body needs. If I want a snack because my tummy is rumbling, and it’s 2 hours until bed, I’m gonna eat one :)
Yellow Haired Girl recently posted..Relaxing

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53 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Good for you lady! It’s all about listening to our bodies… that seems to be always what it comes down to!

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54 Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health April 23, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Great post Tessa! Such a good topic to write about. There are definitely food rules that are always floating around in my mind. Sometimes I listen to them, but often I try not to and then that just sometimes causes guilt…but I’d rather feel guilty and know that I did the right thing! I’ve also gone through periods where I lived by my food rules and that just wasn’t fun or healthy at all! So sorry that you got soaking wet on Saturday night!! I would have wanted to take a super hot shower after that haha. Hope you have a great Monday love!
Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health recently posted..Random Monday Musings

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55 tessa8m April 24, 2012 at 10:56 am

There really is a strong correlation between food rules and unhappiness! I know when I have more of them, my anxiety is through the roof, not fun at all!

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56 Michelle @ Blogitness April 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm

While I don’t smoke, I smelt 4/20 in the air everywhere. That smell is terrible!
Michelle @ Blogitness recently posted..Hanging In There…

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57 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Hahaa so true… but amusing. Although I kind of like the smell lol

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58 Chelsea @ Chelsea Runs April 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I used to have food rules, but those went out the window now that I’m needing to eat so much more and have accepted that. I eat ALL of the time, whenever I’m hungry, however much I want. It’s great! I really hope you can conquer your food rules, especially the restricting before noon.. I do some of my best eating before noon (giant oatmeal bowls)! I know you can do this!

Non rule related, you have the best hair! I also love your bikini. I’m jealous of your 4/20 fun.. I was busy getting sun poisoning and looking at rocks!
Chelsea @ Chelsea Runs recently posted..Happy Weekend!

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59 tessa8m April 24, 2012 at 10:58 am

Ahhh that does sound great Chelsea… very inspirational for me! Thanks for the lovely compliment as well :)

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60 Haley @ Health Freak College Girl April 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm

i used to have so many food rules:
-no snacks after dinner
-i had to eat before 7pm
-if i ate a snack in the middle of the day, it had to be fruit or veggies
-the only dessert i ate was frozen yogurt
-everything HAD to be fat free
Haley @ Health Freak College Girl recently posted..just another super sunday

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61 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 9:35 pm

The fat free one was a major one for me and when I overcame that.. other things started to fall into place, Thank Goodness!

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62 Chris April 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm

My dumb rule in my ED brain is can’t have the same food twice in one day. Here’s me going I had strawberries for breakfast and they were a bit on the ripe side. I should have them for supper too just so they don’t go back before tomorrow but……grrr no my body already had its serving of them the rest will go to fat. So I just end up freezing them. Same with all foods! Yogurt only once a day! Must have different veggies for each meal NEVER repeat carrot for lunch AND supper!
Great blog!

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63 tessa8m April 24, 2012 at 11:10 am

Hi Chris! I know that this is irrational… and you do too and are saying that it is! Understanding the illogical side of yourself and this disorder is necessary in getting better… a first and important step

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64 Nikki April 23, 2012 at 1:11 pm

No celebrated 4/20 in that way for me…but it was my roomie’s birthday so we had some fun :)

This rain is getting old! My mom said it’s snowing at our family’s house in Pittsburgh!
Nikki recently posted..Pre-pack Mania

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65 Anne @ LoveMintChocolateChip April 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm

this is SUCH a good post and so true. i find i am constantly giving myself “food rules” whether i mean to or not. and you are right- we all should just do what works for us instead of placing all of these crazy rules and restrictions on our bodies! thank you for always being so open and honest in your posts and talking about the hard things we all deal with! happy monday. (by the way.. you look AWESOME in all of your pictures!! so pretty!)

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66 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Hi Anne! Thank you for stopping by and your thoughts here! Finding what works for us is the ultimate goal! So much easier to say it than actually do it, but it is possible!

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67 StoriesAndSweetPotatoes April 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I can honestly say I don’t follow any ED food rules anymore. My craziest one was probably that I only allowed myself fruit once a week and it had to be for breakfast and it could only be berries. WTF. It’s just fruit. I was afraid of the sugar. That sounds like the stupidest thing in the world now. I wouldn’t say that I have strict rules now about food but I do have some general health-related food choices I feel strongly about but that obsessive rigidity isn’t there. It took me a while to realize that at this point in my recovery I CAN make these choices about my food because they ARE healthy and they are NOT related to my ED anymore.
StoriesAndSweetPotatoes recently posted..Six Degrees Of Hippie Bullshit

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68 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 8:51 pm

That is inspirational that you don’t follow those crazy rules anymore… it shows me that there is hope! I think the general-health food choices are okay to have, as long as you don’t obsess! I am of course not saying you do, but I know I do quite easily

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69 Anna @ The Guiltless Life April 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm

You look gorgeous! 4/20 is such a big deal here in Vancouver, of course! At 4:20pm you can bet there will be a huge group of people on the steps of the Art Gallery smoking up a storm!
Anna @ The Guiltless Life recently posted..New Potato Portobello Salad

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70 tessa8m April 24, 2012 at 10:58 am

Hahha I am sure that must have been interesting to witness!

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71 chelcie @ chelcie's food files April 23, 2012 at 1:24 pm

this is such a great post! I feel like society and the media emphasizes the latest ” food trend” and therefore all of these so-called “rules” are built around what you can and can’t eat and I believe all the pressure from these rules is what leads to thoughts of disordered eating (which is what happened for me) I think practicing intuitive eating and giving into your cravings of what you want to eat is important to build a healthy relationship with food..it is something that i am continuing to work on!
chelcie @ chelcie’s food files recently posted..Grilled Pineapple Guacamole

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72 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 8:50 pm

I know that the rules certainly have not helped me in my disordered eating either, so I am with you on this one Chelcie!

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73 Melissa April 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Funny how we are so on the same page! I was just thinking about this the other day. I certainly have food rules–foods I eat and foods I stay away from. Like, I have a certain calorie count that I don’t want to go over before 5 PM. After that, I’m a little more lax. No idea why–because it’s a DIS-order, I suppose! I have gotten better at breaking one that I learned as a child–cleaning my plate. We always had to be in the “clean plate club” if we wanted dessert, so I’ve had a hard time not finishing my plate, even when I’m full. I’m trying to be more mindful of that, and actually finding some success. I think hunger cues are so important, and I’m trying to really be in touch with mine.
Melissa recently posted..The DAC–Take 2

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74 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 8:49 pm

I am so with you Melissa… I am always much better by the end of the day.. much more lax like you said. That is great you are getting better about your rules too! Even ones from childhood and those are tough to break

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75 Allie April 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm

What a great post–because YES we all have our ridiculous rules, and ugh, nope, not a single person I can think of who doesn’t have rules. I’m vegan, so there’s a heck of a lot of rules right there. And sometimes I catch myself going crazy by adding even more rules like no sugar or no baked goods or no this or that carbs…yeah. That’s when I have to step back and relax a bit, because I can definitely get carried away. I have a good friend who eats primal, and I know he says it works, but I feel like that diet is just handing you an eating disorder. I try to keep my opinion to myself, but I am a little scared for him and the attitude about food such a diet creates.
Allie recently posted..Five for Monday

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76 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Oh yes I am sure the veganism adds a lot of complications and rules of course. I hope your friend does not get too obsessed of course, watch out for him :)

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77 Lisa April 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Great post my friend! You look beautiful! And I’m glad you went out and enjoyed yourself. Food rules are so silly, and I don’t really know how mine came about. I guess reading information on the internet and health magazine, books, etc. The clean eating movement, it really is a sad part about today’s society. I do admit though, I still do have food rules and still follow them, but I am working on not following them 100% of the time. Its time for me to break these fears and challenge them!
Lisa recently posted..Vlog: How To Make a Protein Muffin

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78 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Aww thank you Lisa! The clean eating thing is a good idea in theory but just like everything else, it is an obsession and one I have fallen into as well. Keep challenging them if you can love, I know I am trying to!

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79 Amberly April 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm

I have been there with ALL of those rules- old and current ones! But, this post should show you how far you’ve come. It never seems like it in the midst of it, but I’m amazed that you’ve been able to change some of your rules! That’s REALLY hard to do!!! When you’re still dealing with rules, it seems so exausting and like you’ll never get rid of all of them, but at least you’ve made progress!!!! Good for you!

I’m addicted to your blog. :)

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80 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Hi Amberly, thank you for stopping by and reading! What an honor that is to hear you are addicted to my blog :) It’s been challenging and continues to be, but have to keep going against what is scary!

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81 Ashley @ AlmostVegGirlie April 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Ugh, I hate food rules! I used to have a crazy amount of them and I still have some. It’s so hard to enjoy food or life in general with soooooo many rules, especially when they’re ridiculous! Like for instance, if I’m hungry after I’ve already eaten, and it’s not time for another meal/snack, then all I’ll let myself eat is a few grapes or some carrots. Another big one for me is avoiding carbs at restaurants. I pretty much always order a salad at restaurants or if I order a sandwich I just eat the contents of it and not the bread itself because I’m scared of too many carbs. Being vegan also comes with so many ‘rules’ but I actually feel a lot better about those rules because they don’t seem as restrictive or at least as disordered. I really would just like to feel okay going to a place like Panera or Noodles or Chipotle and ordering something I want that isn’t just a salad–not that I don’t enjoy salads but I want to break those fears!
Ashley @ AlmostVegGirlie recently posted..Style Phile: Rainbow is the New Black

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82 tessa8m April 24, 2012 at 11:01 am

i know that recognizing how irrational these are is a major key step in letting them go. I mean if you think you didn’t have a problem, you would of course think the rules were fine! You can let them go Ashley, one small step at a time

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83 Laura @ LauraLivesLife April 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm

This is a great post – I totally live by food rules (and feel guilty when I break them too). I found myself realizing how much I need to be more careful about my rules when I saw my 15-year-old sister repeating them this weekend, worrying about what she was eating (and how much) – even saying that she needed to eat “less.” It totally freaked me out – I want to stop saying those things to myself AND to her! I don’t want to create those habits and attitudes towards food for anyone else!
Laura @ LauraLivesLife recently posted..Run the Provo City Marathon

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84 tessa8m April 24, 2012 at 11:01 am

Oh goodness I am sorry you are seeing your sister showing and talking about some of these rules :( I hope she can avoid all of this of course!!

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85 Mallory April 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Tessa, After reading your post this morning and then spotting Health magazine posted a link to an article on Twitter titled: When Eating Healthy turns Obsessive. It reminded me of the things you struggle with as well… http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20556862,00.html

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86 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Thanks for the article Mallory… off to check it out now!

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87 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile April 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm

First of all, you are gorgeous Tessa!!! I’m so happy for you that you had a wonderful weekend. I did NOT celebrate 4.20 like everyone else, it was just a normal day for me :) haha
I definitely agree with this post, especially in the aspect of the media’s depiction of the “perfect” or “right” diet. No, the same way of eating does NOT work for everyone. Sorry, but I would NEVER go paleo because I would never want to give up oats or especially dairy. I think I’d rather saw off my left arm before I gave up greek yogurt or cottage cheese lol. And with the gluten free thing, I would have never wanted to just go gluten free for the hell of it. Not going to lie, it’s a complete inconvenience. It really is, and I wish I could have had the “choice” like some other people. But unfortunately, my blood tests came back positive. So, I’m learning to live with it! But it is so true that people fall into these things just because they think it’s the new cool thing to do, or the new way to lose weight. What ever happened to eating for health? That’s what should matter in society, not “lost 10 pounds in a week!” Anyway, enough of this novel ;) Great post chika, and although you may still have thoughts, you have come such a long way. Be proud of yourself <3
Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile recently posted..Scattered Sunday

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88 tessa8m April 24, 2012 at 11:04 am

Hahahaa I loved your description of how you would feel without greek yogurt or cottage cheese, because I could not agree more! I am sorry you have had to go gluten-free… but like you said you HAVE to, unlike some who think it’s the cool thing to do or the next best method of weight loss

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89 Natasha April 23, 2012 at 6:39 pm

I have to say that lately I have pretty much thrown away every single food rule that I have ever made. It is freeing but at times I do go a little overboard with the food, but I’m fine with that. Life is too short to be afraid. And girl, seriously, you are gorgeous, healthy (and getting healthier), and awesome – don’t let this food dictate your life so much because you deserve so much more than that!
I have had some crazy food rules in my opinion. It was basically that I would stick to the same diet day in and day out. The same oat combo for breakfast followed by an intense workout. 1 apple with a bag of carrots (which I would usually never finish) for lunch and for dinner I would have 2 low carb wraps with veggies and hummus and maybe more fruit. I also really limited dairy – no milk or cheese was allowed, and if I wanted greek yogurt it had to be the 0% fat and I could only eat one spoonful of it! HOW FRICKIN WEIRD!?!?!?! I would drink lots of coffee to curb my hunger pains. I would sit there and literally starve. It really hurt my body a lot! I’m so over that mental game I used to play with myself. I mean not only was I working out a lot, but my job required me to be on my feet all day long. It got really hard for me to juggle everything with such a restrictive diet!
So ya basically, if having a little bit of extra weight on my body makes my like 230493409823490823 times better, then so be it! I was certainly NOT happy when I was skinny, I just had a sick obsession with being that way if you know what I mean!
Anyways, as always, GREAT post chica!
xoxo
Natasha recently posted..Life Update

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90 Natasha April 23, 2012 at 6:43 pm

I also just want to say that here in Ann Arbor, we are known for our love of weed hahah. We have this day called hash bash which is always the first Saturday of April and literally ALL of Ann Arbor is taken over by potheads! It is hilarious! There is a smoke haze all around campus and ppl are just freely smoking to their hearts content.
Natasha recently posted..Life Update

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91 tessa8m April 24, 2012 at 11:05 am

First, I am sure 4/20 was an epic day there haha! Good stuff ;)
and woman, you are one heck of an inspiration to me! I really do mean that too, it is amazing how much of all of this you have been able to let go! Very admirable girl, and i am so so glad you share the experience with me :)

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92 CJ @ http://healthy-happy-whole.com April 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm

i lived/live by way too many food rules. I have definitely gotten better and broken out of my shell, but seriously, some of the things i tell my dietician and husband make them look at me like i am insane…
i used to only allow myself 700 calories before dinner and never ever go above 1600 even though i ran a minimum of seven miles every morning (um hello that burns like 700 calories!)
salads must be lunch and often dinner too…
PASTA IS A BIG BIG NO
nut butter and fats especially but all foods must be measurable…
i could go on forever, and i am slowly but surely breaking these rules but my goodness it is hard!
you are beautiful, active and vibrant, please dont let these stupid ass (excuse my language) rules dictate your life. you deserve more than measily apply and carrots for breakfast!
CJ @ http://healthy-happy-whole.com recently posted..C-Ville Recap Part II: Traveling Challenges

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93 tessa8m April 24, 2012 at 11:07 am

I know they are insane and I know that you do too… but of course I understand them CJ! The pasta one is still a block for me, it is a fear food for sure
We both deserve a life free of this! And yes, no more shit ton of carrots for breakfast ;)

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94 Rebecca @ Blueberry Smiles April 23, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Love your earrings from Saturday night!! Great post…I think EVERYONE, ED or not, has food “rules” that they live by and just don’t like to admit. My rules have def gotten a bit more relaxed over the years (thankfully…)

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95 tessa8m April 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Thanks girl and I am glad you have gotten so much better with your rules!

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96 Maggie @ Running on Fro-Yo April 23, 2012 at 7:56 pm

I love your bathing suit top! :D

And this post was great. I used to have quite a few rules as well. No eating lunch before 1:30 (otherwise I’d get too hungry before dinner..and I couldn’t eat dinner before 7..because then I’d get hungry before bed..crazy much?) I also liked to save a lot of my calories for the end of the day for whatever reason, I guess so that I made sure I didn’t overeat when I was bored at night. I would NEVER eat a meal over 400 calories..nooo way. Wow- I’m glad ALL of those things have now changed. Although I still have some work to do, just listing all of that out reminded me of my progress. Thanks for this post girl! :)
Maggie @ Running on Fro-Yo recently posted..Fitness Friday!

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97 tessa8m April 24, 2012 at 11:08 am

I am so glad that they have changed for you too! How much less anxiety do you feel now? A whole lot I am sure :)

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98 Maggie @ Running on Fro-Yo April 24, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Less, but it is definitely still there. But I feel it getting less and less each day so that’s all that matters to me! :)
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99 Errign April 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm

I just love the intro to this post, but no, I did not celebrate 4/20. I think you & I were probably some of the only ones in New England :)
Errign recently posted..New Things.

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100 tessa8m April 24, 2012 at 11:08 am

Hahah this is quite true

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101 Electra @ Vanilla Bean Lean April 23, 2012 at 8:35 pm

LOVEEEEEE this post girl! SO true, I don’t think ANYONE has a completely innocent relationship with food, especially in our culture. This is a fantastic post and I might just have to share the link if you don’t mind :-D And btw you look AMAZING in your pics, keep up the great work!

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102 tessa8m April 24, 2012 at 11:09 am

Aww that would be wonderful Electra, thank you!!

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103 Sara @my less serious life April 23, 2012 at 8:36 pm

oooooh the rules i have…

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104 Jess April 23, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Oh man, so many food rules have been broken since my miserable ED days… but like you, I’ve subconsciously made some new ones. Thankfully, they’re not NEARLY as bad/restrictive as the other ones were, but still pretty annoying and a habit I have to forcefully break out of when I recognize it.
Some ridiculous ones I used to follow:
-no more than 100 calories for breakfast; if I could get away with 50-70 from egg whites, I was proud of myself
-only 1 fruit in between breakfast and lunch, and I had to run either right after breakfast or right before lunch (when I started working, running in the gym in my bldg became my “lunch hour”)
-lunch was always later than 1pm; usually around 2pm. NEVER earlier… the later the better (I still struggle with putting my meals off to later hours because I feel like I won’t eat more this way? Almost always backfires!)
-lunch couldn’t be more than 200 calories – almost always a salad
-absolutely no drinks with calories in them… not even ones with 5 or 10!
-dinner: no meat, but PLENTY of veggies and rice
-late night snack was what I worked towards the entire day. I starved myself and restricted for every meal so that I could get something truly filling and delicious for right before I closed my eyes at night. A muffin, cinnamon raisin bagel, or something of the sort.
-Total would always have to be under a certain meager caloric amount

Now? I usually eat when I’m hungry, but I still catch myself trying to put off my meals to later times if I can (I don’t force it though I’m super hungry). And I have an odd night snack rule where I feel I have to eat cottage cheese or greek yogurt with fruit… anything else would just be too sinful! :P Overall though, I’m doing much better….

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105 tessa8m April 24, 2012 at 10:43 am

Ughh I can relate to so many of these Jess! The lunch time thing is a major one for me… never early, always as late as possible! I am so so glad you have gotten much better about the rules too.. we just have to keep improving and it will eventually become normal!

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106 Jess April 24, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Yup, and the more you push yourself, the more natural it becomes and feels less and less like a daunting challenge. Plus (and I tell this to others whose blogs I comment on), it helps to focus on the good things you feel when you’re doing the right thing. When you eat when hungry, and you eat something you want, you no longer feel lightheaded, your stomach’s not growling and hurting, you can focus, have more energy… the list goes on.

Of course, the big thing for me now is that while I can see the positives so much clearer now, I still suffer with the thought that I can stand to lose x amount of pounds… annoying.

107 Paulina (One Smile Ahead) April 24, 2012 at 12:30 am

These “food rules” are so sad, yet it’s true that almost everyone has them. For me it was the same thing with not having the same foods more than once a day or having a small breakfast bar instead of a proper breakfast. I definitely agree that what works for me might not work for everybody else. It’s a difficult process to figure out what’s right for you and what’s not! I’m only now finding out about intolerances I have and changing my ways of eating. You look gorgeous by the way! :] So glad to hear you had fun.
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108 tessa8m April 24, 2012 at 10:45 am

Well thank you for the nice compliment Paulina, very nice of you to say! :)

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109 Dorsa @ Running Thoughts April 24, 2012 at 10:30 am

I am so glad you got to go out and be with your friends!

I don;t really have any food rules..
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110 Kat @ a dash of fairydust April 24, 2012 at 11:18 am

Woah,Tessa,you’re looking marvelous in that bathing suit,seriously! I love this photo,it makes me feel like summer. :)
I also know that “Food Rule” problem quite well. For example,I can’t eat something that contains barely any protein… I always have to top it with a protein source or something,so annoying!
Kat @ a dash of fairydust recently posted..[Simply] WIAW #3.

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111 Alexis April 24, 2012 at 11:45 am

I have definitely had my fair share of food rules in the past. They are pretty exhausting to keep up with! My biggest was no food after 7pm or else I would gain weight. Now I realize it’s silly and if I want a good morning workout I need food the night before and in the morning before my workouts! Thankfully once I realized I don’t digest grains don’t well, a lot of my food rules disappeared because I finally felt good when I ate!
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112 Rach April 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm

First of all, I just have to say that you still look amazing after being caught in the rain! I normally look like a drowned raccoon, haha!

As for the food rules… I agree with what you said about different eating habits being good for different people. My diet is already so restricted because of my heart problem so I am normally pretty good about eating whole foods. But we also eat at other peoples’ homes frequently (at least once a week if not more) so I don’t allow my food preferences to get in the way. I eat what is served and just don’t worry about it. One unhealthy meal won’t do me in. :)
Rach recently posted..8 Gorgeous Nature Blogs for Earth Day

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113 Rach April 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Oh! And as for old rules… I was a big calorie counter. So it didn’t matter how unhealthy the food-like-product was, if it was low in calories then I would eat it. I seldom ate actual food which is what was so sad. Anywho, eating REAL food now really makes all the diference! :)
Rach recently posted..8 Gorgeous Nature Blogs for Earth Day

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114 Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian April 24, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Being a dietitian, I think my food rules have come from a lot of different areas of my life. My parents provided me with a good foundation. I think reading blogs has also opened up my eyes to healthy eating, in good ways.
I think it is easy to get bogged down with an overabundance of messages though. It is important to follow what you believe and is good for your body.
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115 Amy B @ Second City Randomness April 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm

he he he… I had quite a few friends who celebrated 420 in college. At least I could easily find someone to order pizza with me on that holiday… ;)
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116 Maria @ Beautiful Busy Bee April 24, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Haha no I didn’t do 4/20 but I live in Austin TX so it was definitely talked about! I’m so jealous of how nice you look even after getting rained on. My hair likes to form little brown dreadlocks… uggh. I’ve gotten to the point where my old “food rules” don’t dictate my life anymore, and whenever I remember one while I am breaking it I get all smug, like take that ED, yeah I will eat a snack with more calories than a full meal used to have. :)
Maria @ Beautiful Busy Bee recently posted..Happy (late) Earth Day!

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117 Kate @ Chasing It April 24, 2012 at 7:45 pm

ahaha 4/20. I may or may not have eaten a brownie last year. It was RIDICULOUS…but probably something I’ll never do again hahaha. ANYWAY….food rules. Yes, oh y gosh I have some still, and they’re kind of strange (well I guess all of our disordered eating food rules are…), and mostly revolve around timing food…meals must be eaten at a certain time, I’m a little OCD about my post-workout nutrition (which I guess is understandable given my workout/running issues this year, but it just makes everything more stressful). I still have issues with eating a meal that’s more than 400 calories (which is okay because I eat really frequently so I do end up getting enough…but like god forbid I go over that stupid number??). And seeing things on the blog world, ESPECIALLY all of this eat clean stuff….oh my gosh it stresses me out. Seeing girls who are all about clean eating when they’re former ED sufferers, its like, really? are you really recovered? will it kill you to eat some froyo?? It kind of annoys me to be honest, and I feel bad saying that because I consider some of those ladies to be my friends…*sigh*.

You’re right, some food “rules” are good ones, meant to keep us healthy. But it’s so easy to just get latched onto them, especially with our ED pasts….I really want to bust out that quote from Pirates of the Carribean about the pirate’s code…”They’re more…guidelines than actual rules”. I feel that’s how we should be eating instead – eating healthy and eating to fuel a sport isn’t really a free for all, but there should be ample wiggle-room.

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118 Erin April 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Food rules are awful… they cause so much anxiety! Mine were always based on calories and fear foods… at the worst it was no more than xxx calories before dinner (now I have to eat that many for breakfast alone!)
I still have a different form of this rule, but at least its a healthier number. The day when this rule is gone will be a GREAT day.

Although I was/am a vegetarian, cheese used to be a non-negotiable no-no, as did eggs. Now I’m pretty sure I eat almost too much cheese.

I still really struggle to break the “only half a banana in a sitting” rule, and a full tablespoon of nut butter still terrifies me. If I have a dinner or lunch without at least one serving of vegetables, shear panic starts to set in. Anything “fake” (think pudding cups or sugary cereal), used to be an automatic no-way as well… now I am okay with these items, but only during my nighttime snack.

Overall… definitely progress… definitely NOT recovered… but the baby steps add up! This weekend I was in ATL and went to Sweetwater 420 fest… really fun, with a really interesting smell haha. I also have a friend who was born on 4/20… and who happens to be the most down to earth normal eater I know! She sometimes makes an effort to eat healthy, but not overboard, drinks “regular” Starbucks drinks, and stops eating her burger mid-bite if she realizes she’s full. It was such a healthy influence to live with her… but I was also SO jealous!

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119 Chloe@EveryCraving April 24, 2012 at 9:56 pm

The hill looks like an awweeesome place to hangout! Funny you bring up 420. I feel like everyone in the blog world is too goody-two shoes, drinking their wine and such when in fact weed is much healthier for you and actually a natural plant. I always say it’s a vegetable hehehe ;) But it really is good for you, especially if it’s organically grown ;) It also helps with ED because it gives you an appetite and makes everything taste 100x better. Ha, anyways, I hate food rules. I 100% agree with “I like to eat an apple a day because it makes me FEEL better” but if I don’t have it I don’t freak. I just do what works for me, that aren’t necessarily rules. I eat 2 hours before bed not because I’ll gain weight but because I feel too full if its after that and too hungry if it’s earlier. I don’t trip about it though if I eat 1 hour before I sleep, just what I prefer. I really think your body will all work itself out :)
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120 krystal@coffeecardiogoddess April 25, 2012 at 12:02 am

OMG I am just having the best luck finding girls that are just like me tonight. I stumpled upon your site because you commented on my recent post. Thanks BTW. I read this post of yours and knew right away that we have sooooo much in common. I am struggling with issues identical to yours, but Ive come a long way already. Im working hard to try to gain weight and get it out of my head that these fear foods will make me fat and that they should be forbidden. Thank you sooo much for sharing. You just got yourself a dedicated new reader.

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121 tessa8m April 25, 2012 at 6:14 am

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading Krystal! Glad you are sticking around too :)

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122 Amy @ Turtle-speed Runner April 25, 2012 at 3:50 am

Ha! I definitely do the “I must eat protein NOW or I will lose all my fitness!” one after a hard workout. I actually get really angry and antsy if I don’t have access to food in that “30 minute window” lol. I could feel it brewing yesterday as I got stuck behind a really long red light on my way home from the gym ;) So stupid!

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123 Megan @ Weddings and Workouts April 26, 2012 at 2:43 am

Just found you through Burning it Off. I love this post! Soooo true. To be honest, I’m fed up with hearing about Paleo. I tried having meat for breakfast and it was so gross.
Megan @ Weddings and Workouts recently posted..Cravings

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124 tessa8m April 27, 2012 at 7:50 am

Thank you for stopping by Megan and your thoughts here! I am soo over Paleo too, I am glad you agree!

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125 Haley Tvedt April 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm

You made several fine points there. I did a search on the issue and found nearly all people will go along with with your blog.

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