My Personal Diet “Rules”

10 02 2011

My relationship with food is complicated. I could write a million-word post offering all of the advice I’ve swallowed up over the years regarding dieting, calorie-counting, restrictions, foods to avoid, when to eat, how to eat, what to eat on, even. But I won’t put you through the complicated mess swimming around in my head.

I’ve been there and seen it all when it comes to eating habits, but today, I’m going to give you some advice that I try and follow. My diet isn’t perfect. No one’s diet is. This is what I try to do, and some days it works, some days it doesn’t. That’s okay. I don’t beat myself up for eating an ice cream cone..I workout too much to worry about that anyways. I try to remember each day is connected and there’s always a chance to recover from some dieting catastrophe.

My typical diet “rules”: I call these “rules”–with quotations–because they are sometimes meant to be broken. I can’t adhere to them everyday, and as long as a loosely follow them, I’ve seen results in the way I look and feel.

1) I eat about 1500 calories a day. I only know this because I was a strict calorie counter for over a year. I DON’T recommend you do this. But I do believe that calorie counting can be beneficial for everyone…only for a week. Websites like livestrong.com have an online database containing the nutrition information of all the foods we eat. You can enter what you ate, how much, and when, and it will keep a calorie log for you. I recommend this only for a week or so, just enough time to figure out portions and what you really are putting in your body. Most people are clueless.

 

Livestrong MyPlate

Livestrong MyPlate -- Photo from Chellbellz.com

2) Balance your protein/carb ratio: We eat WAY too many carbs. It’s hard, everything has carbs. Generally, I try not to eat two meals based on carbs in a row. For instance, if I eat oatmeal with fruit for breakfast–that’s mainly carbs. So I would eat a salad with fake meat for lunch, to get protein and vegetables. Then, for dinner I might eat a stir-fry with rice, tofu and vegetables to balance out. On the other hand, if I ate eggs and a fake sausage for breakfast (protein meal), I might eat a hummus, apple and cheddar cheese sandwich for lunch (carb meal). I wouldn’t eat the oatmeal and then the sandwich on the same day. Plus, I am a vegetarian, so I need to make sure I am getting enough protein and this “rule” helps me keep track.

3) Don’t stuff yourself. I don’t get full. A lot of people freak out when they hear this, but it’s honestly one of my greatest diet tips. When I say full, I don’t mean you shouldn’t be satisfied. You need to listen to your body and figure out when you’re satisfied after a meal. You should not eat until you’re bursting at the seems. I HATE when my stomach is full and bloated from a meal. After years of issues with food, I often associate that feeling with guilt. And who likes that? I would rather eat smaller amounts and be hungry more often. I’d prefer to eat something every few hours than to eat a huge meal and feel weighed down afterward. To do this, I usually eat part of my meal and then take a little break. It takes our bodies 10-20 minutes AFTER WE EAT to get that full feeling, so you may keep eating and not even know you’ve had enough. So, I’ll chat, or watch TV, or read, or whatever halfway through my meal. Then, if I’m not full, I will continue eating. This way, I don’t get stuffed and uncomfortable.

To give you some ideas of how this works in practice, I’ll post a food diary of my own for a day this week.

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4 responses

10 02 2011
seriouslychill

I found this post really interesting because you kept alluding to your issues with food in the past. My sister has had issues with food in the past, too, and I always found it interesting to compare the way we approached eating growing up. I was a really, really picky eater. I only ate boring foods, like chicken nuggets. She ate everything — a really adventurous eater. She was three years younger than me, but she’d always order off the adult menu and I’d have her order me something on the kids’ menu. I was always naturally thin, and she struggled with her weight at times. She was never unhealthy, but she wasn’t skinny. She was very self-conscious.

Now, I eat a lot more types of food (still no fish, it grosses me out) and I definitely have to think more about how many calories I eat each day and how often I’m working out. I once kept count of calories for a while (there’s an iphone app I used, it was really easy) but then I just got so sucked into that. I would freak out midday if I went out to eat and consumed too many calories. I agree with you that it isn’t a good thing. I think my personal diet approach is to eat what I want but just make sure I don’t have consecutive unhealthy days. Have dessert if I want. But always work out — at least 5x a week. I have found that works for me.

I think diet is such a personal thing, and people don’t really talk about it. If I’ve learned anything from college, it’s that everyone has weird eating habits, haha. Sorry for the long, rambling post!!

10 02 2011
funfitfearless

Yes, I agree. Girls especially have very strange, complicated relationships with food. And it’s soo different for everyone–I am definitely not one of those people who can eat anything and not notice a difference. But I also just like eating well and being aware of what I’m putting in my body because it makes a huge difference in the way I feel. I feel so crappy when I eat bad foods and my system gets all out of whack for at least two days! When I eat well, I feel great and energized.

13 02 2011
Sbubes

I couldn’t agree more with all of your “rules.” Overeating/feeling too full after a meal is the worst feeling and so not worth it. I think it is very difficult to be good/follow the “rules” every single day. Therefore, I normally try to stick to a healthy diet during the week and splurge on the weekend. Sometimes more than others but as you said, the guilt feeling is miserable so I always try my best to be healthy.
I look forward to seeing your food log. It always helps to see what others are eating and to get ideas from their daily diets.

13 02 2011
funfitfearless

Yes, I’ll get you a food log next week. I got the flu on Wednesday of last week, and I’ve been eating strangely ever since. Just haven’t had an appetite and eating bland foods, so I wanted to wait on the food log.

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