Without the Skinny Rules

by Sara on May 27, 2013

 Drink a large glass of water BEFORE Every meal-No Excuses!

Don’t Drink Your Calories

Eat Protien at EVERY Meal —or stay hungry & grouchy!

Slash Your Intake of Refined Flours & Grains

NO Carbs after Lunch ( eat ‘lean & green’ at night)

Go to bed hungry!

These are just a few of celebrity trainer Bob Harper’s “Skinny Rules.

Rules he promises are “simple, nonnegotiable principles…for health.”

Rules I broke over the weekend, and blissfully break regularly.

Exhibit A: Friday night’s dinner.


I met a few friends at Flatbread Neapolitan Pizzeria for a knock-your-socks-off-uhhhhmazing meal, which included mushrooms stuffed with ricotta, goat cheese, garlic, and Parmesan….


Herbed Ricotta, Goat Cheese, Chili Flakes, Garlic, Chives

wood-fired prosciutto-wrapped prawns….


Pinot Grigio Marinade, Arugula, Fig Glaze

and Margherita Pizza (made on a GF crust—exclamation points!!)


Fior di Latte, San Marzano Pomodoro, Fresh Basil, Roma Tomatoes

Hello, delicious crispy-crust carbs! Oh my heavens it was all SO good…


and messy. 😉

Exhibit B: Saturday champagne. Pedicures and bubbly with Mom!


I could have sipped and sat in that massage chair all day long. 😉

Exhbit C: My newest chocolate crush. Enjoyed while watching my celebrity crush on the big screen. (p.s. It was so much better in 3D!)


There was a day when rules such as Bob’s prevented me from doing exhibits A, B, and C. I let a montage of eating guidelines dictate what passed my lips rather than my own intuition; I denied myself certain foods—bread, pasta, egg yolks—even fruit—because I’d read they’d make me fat.

It seems that over the past few decades,  food rules have become so commonplace, that most of us—at some point or another—haven’t been sure what, when, or how to eat. We’re constantly bombarded with new eating guidelines like Bob Harper’s that promise svelte bodies, speedier metabolisms, and more energy.


Don’t  drink chocolate milk unless  it’s organic and drunk post-workout. No wait, adults don’t even need to drink milk at all.

Egg yolks contain too much cholesterol. No wait, the yolk is where all the nutrients are found!

Carbs only pre and post-workout. No wait, carb-backloading (eating carbs before sleeping) is the best way to fuel.

In my opinion, food policing is completely out of control, and it’s implications are harming, not helping, a society in which both obesity and eating disorders have become not the exception, but the norm.

The problem with eating according to a list of food rules is that, when broken, we’re flooded with feelings of guilt. Or, if the rules are followed, we’re flooded with feelings of deprivation.

I used to avoid eating bread, pasta, ice cream (the list goes on and on) in social situation because I worried about the aftermath—the unbearable guilt. These foods supposedly would make me gain fat, and even though I knew that eating them on occasion wouldn’t really make me puff out, the thought of dealing with the guilt after eating them was unbearable.


My favorite wafflewich: waffles, peanut butter, honey, and banana. At one point, I wouldn’t have gone near this!

However feeling deprived from denying myself was also unbearable.I’d usually end up arriving home a few hours later—starving—and digging into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, a jar of nuts, a bug of chips (or all three). The next day, I’d be ridden with so much guilt about what had happened the night before, I’d do everything in my power to “make up” for it. I’d run for hours; I’d eat little; I’d promise myself it wouldn’t happen again. But then it would.

It took me a long time to realize, and ACCEPT, that living by a never-ending and always-changing “list” of food rules was doing exactly the opposite of what I hoped it would: it was preventing me from being physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy.


Feeling stressed about going out for happy hour with friends, or attending my cousin’s birthday party (where there would be cake made with real butter and sugar—gasp); or traveling where I wouldn’t have access to all of my safe foods, was making it impossible to live and enjoy things that I’d convinced myself I didn’t care about, but that I truly DID care about. Things that I truly DID want to experience.



I was physically, emotionally, and spiritually starved.

I’m so grateful that those days are in my past. Arriving at a place where I feel at peace balancing Friday night pizza with sweet potatoes and salads  took a long time, and certainly wasn’t easy, but it was oh-so-worth it.

If I’m craving ice cream, then I’m going to eat the ice cream and enjoy every cold, creamy, spoonful of that yummy goodness.


I’m not going to eat it because “I’ve earned it” with a tough workout, following “all the rules” or some other nonsense. Such a thought process adds fuel to the “food is the enemy” fire. I know, because I was there.

So What’s Wrong with Rules?

Some people may read rules like Bob’s and think they’re perfectly fine—even great. But that’s not what I see when I read those rules. I see rules that contribute to OCD eating habits. I see rules that continue to tell women they’ll never be good enough and that they must fix every perceived flaw they possess. I see rules that try to press every woman into some ideal mold — a certain pant size, body image, weight, or figure.

I see women stressing out. Depriving themselves of nourishment. Going to bed with a rumbling stomach unable to fall asleep. Causing themselves ridiculous amounts of stress over tiny, insignificant details that won’t have a big impact on their results. I see women trying to eat less and less. I see womens’ actions being fueled by negative thoughts (I’m too fat, I’m not good enough, I eat too much, etc). I see women thinking food is evil and that they must avoid it as much as possible.


I see women doing everything they can to follow the rules exactly as written because they’re determined to get results. But, inevitably, slipping up at some point because those rules just aren’t realistic.

The rules make it seem that if you’re not suffering, struggling, or depriving yourself, then you won’t get results.

And it’s simply not true.

The question I receive most often from readers is some variation of  this: How do you balance a healthy fit lifestyle with indulgent treats? How did you become comfortable with enjoying forbidden foods?

The most important step is to reject all the stuff you read or hear from people about “guilt-free” food or “bad” food. Take it back to the science, and your own common sense. Does one food really make a person unhealthy, or is it all the choices we make every day that determine our holistic health?

In other words...Trust your OWN body. Discover what works for YOU. Develop a simple, sustainable lifestyle approach instead of turning to a fad diet or set of rules written by somebody else.

Love your body, eat well, and workout because you value yourself and want to become a better version of you. Eating and exercising should not be punishment; rather they should be enjoyable, life-enhancing activities!

Whether you want to be lean and athletic, slender, or just strong and healthy, you can do so. But have positive motivation. Stop looking to diets that encourage deprivation. Stop trying to be “less” and choose to be STRONG. Choose to be confident. Choose to be the best, most marvelous version of yourself.


Choose to be proud of your body and what it can do.

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 11.46.53 AMsource

Life it far too short not to ENJOY it and LIVE it.

Happy Monday, friends! I am so grateful for you!


p.s. If you live in the US or UK, enjoy the last day of your long weekend! We’re celebrating by grilling out tonight (first time this year—squee!), and watching the season premiere of The Bacehlorette! It’s embarrassing how excited I am about this. 😉

p.p.s. This post is part of the fabulous #MIMM link-up at Healthy Diva Life! Don’t forget to stop by and say hi to Katie—she’s about to have a baby!


 I want to know…

Have you or do you struggle with food guilt?

It’s gotten a lot better for me, but I definitely still struggle from time to time!

What food rules have you lived by or do you live by?

My list of past food rule flings is long! No carbs before bed; no fruit; no white carbs; X # of calories; no saturated fat etc etc etc…

What are your favorite pizza toppings? Thin crust or thick crust? What’s the best thing you ate last weekend?

I love a thin, crispy crust!

  • Khushboo

    Ah you definitely took the thoughts right out of my head…and pieced them together ever so eloquently :)! This is a wonderful post, Sara and one that I’m sure every girl can relate to some extent! The damn media positions foods as ‘good’ & ‘bad’ and continues to foster negative relationships with food! While I certainly wouldn’t indulge in certain foods on a daily basis (mostly to avoid the post-eating sluggishness), I no longer feel guilty about the times I do indulge…in fact I savor it, enjoy it and move on! Maybe I’ll tell a friend about it, maybe I’ll blog about it but I definitely won’t dwell over it and try to find ways to “burn” it off or eat less to “compensate”…screw that!

    A few food rules I once fell into the trap of thinking true include:

    1) No carbs at night

    2) too much fruit contributes to weight gain

    3) Every meal needs to be full of protein, especially if carbs were involved

    4) Dessert once a week

    5) Sticking to “safe” foods when ordering at restaurants

    6) I will gain weight if I eat bread more than twice a week

    …ah the list is endless. I’m trying to think of rules I currently live by and I can’t think of a single one…I’m guessing that ‘s a good thing ;)! Have a great Monday, Sara!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Love you, love this comment, and I love the fact that you’re at a place where you can enjoy the foods you love without guilt! I followed many of the same rules for years, and doing so did nothing to improve my health or happiness. I hope you’re having a wonderful Monday, Khushboo! <3 xoxo

  • Gina Topley

    Oh my goodness that dinner looks amazing! I had a gluten free flatbread this weekend and it was also delicious. I need a pedicure myself but I am not sure I should subject the poor nail ladies to my runners feet…

    I completely agree with your viewpoint on the “rules”, there is so much unnecessary stress involved! I will take my physical, mental, and spiritual health, thank you very much. Oh, and some caramel sea salt chocolate, I will take some of that too. 😉

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      I was swooning over that flatbread when I saw it on IG! And girl, my feet are absolutely terrible! If I can subject the nail ladies to mine, you can do it, too! Plus, nothing feels better than a foot and leg massage after a long run! xoxo

  • http://twitter.com/FitSwissChick Lucie Pfaendler

    I can not tell you how much I love this post Sara!! You nailed it. Everything should be enjoyed and did with a positive motivation. Whatever we want to achieve it should be done with a huge smile rather than with guilt and being miserable.
    A long time back, I had only 1 rule: Just eat as little as possible. And that’s exactly how I looked like. I do struggle with guilt a lot still, but I got so much better and enjoy special occasions with special foods. I don’t call my habits rules, as said, I call them habits which work for me. I stay away from grains as much as possible and sugar, because it makes my stomach upset – but that does not mean at all, that I don’t enjoy a delicious dessert, chocolate or a pizza once in a while. Apropos Pizza – I know I am lonely with this, but I really love it THICK and crusty!!!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Thanks, Lucie! <3 I'm so so happy that you're at a place where you can enjoy the foods you love! I think we all struggle with guilt from time to time, and that's okay! What matters is that we're living, enjoying, and doing what's best for our bodies! <3

  • Sophia

    Bravo!! I completely agree!! I applaud you for your fantastic attitude- it’s certainly far more “healthy” in my opinion than any Guru’s rule book. I sometimes wonder what pyschological Message is being generated for women when the media and fashion industry keeps portraying to be “smaller” (lesser) is ideal? It seems to echo in a subtle way the message of women being less important in society then men! Choosing to love your body- and choosing to not let society mess up your relationship with it is an amazing feat- go Sara!! I am so lucky to have grown up with a direct link to food, my papa is a fisherman and my nonna has a farm! This instilled a love, understanding and joy of food and it’s preparation that I cherish! Food is so much more than fuel- that’s why so many of life’s celebrations centre around a meal! I have zero food rules!! Golly I didn’t know so many existed- (I follow my mama and nonnas lead, just as I would have before t.v and the Internet!) Now Pizza! I adore thin, thin crust with a good amount of olive oil in the dough- Margherita is my preference 😉 but artichokes , rocket and pecorino is second, and spinach and Parmesan third. Another round of applause and so much love Sophia xo

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Ahh, Sophia, I love you! <3 I completely agree about the messages being generated by the media in regards to small delicate bodies; that image represents weakness and inferiority, which we're certainly not! :) I think it's so neat that you grew up with fresh fish and produce–I would have loved to have had a seat at your kitchen table! Your healthy relationship with food is a testament to the fact that a balanced, moderate approach to eating, and ENJOYING food fosters optimal health–physical, spiritual, and emotional. All the more reason I need to move to Italy and find a man there! 😉 Happy Monday, my dear! Hugs!

  • Melissa @ Mouthwatering Morsel

    great post … I sometimes fall in the stressing about what I’m eating thing so this makes me keep in mind that I shouldn’t be stressing too much. As long as everything is in moderation. ps. those mushrooms … I want! haha

  • http://balancejoyanddelicias.wordpress.com/ Coco

    ditch those rules and make our own! My rule is eat with stuff belly = good sleep, sleep hungry or not full enough = waking up at 4am! :)

    i remember my ex-roomate always stands after dinner to make sure food is digested. I always do the contrary, I stuff myself before bed and don’t even want to move a bit.

    carb is my best friend if I want to sleep like baby! :)

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      I completely agree about going to bed with a full belly–I can’t sleep if I’m hungry! xoxo

  • sambetterwithsprinkles

    Ahhh you know how I feel about Bob Harper and his ridiculous skinny rules. The idea that I must stop eating carbs and lunchtime is absolutely ridiculous to me, and just will.not.happen. Sorry, I like a pasta dinner once in a while, and sometimes you just need a baked sweet or white potato with your dinner. And going to bed hungry? That just sounds uncomfortable – and why would I want that feeling every night?

    I’ve spent so many years of my life feeling guilty and anxious about my food choices. Eating too much, eating the wrong thing, being terrified that I would wake up the next morning 5 pounds heavier because I had decided to go for an extra slice of cake. So glad that that’s not the case anymore!

    I’m making a really intense cake for my mom’s birthday next weekend, and I’m so freakin’ excited – no anxiety or guilt surrounding the fact that it’s incredibly indulgent. In the end, food is more than fuel to our society – we celebrate with it (birthdays) we mourn with it (the reception after a funeral) we use it as a means of support and helping people (bringing a casserole to a family who just had a baby)…it is so much more than what these health gurus seem to suggest!
    Yes, I could probably lose a couple of inches if I followed ‘the rules’ but the guilt, anxiety and missing out on those fun times is just not worth it to me at all. Food is meant to be enjoyed, not be something that keeps us up at night worrying afterwards.

    By my novel-esque comment, it’s pretty clear that I adored this post! Hope you have a great Monday Sara <3

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Amen to everything you wrote! Love you! The cake you’re making for your mom’s birthday sounds amazing, and I’m so happy you’re going to enjoy it without a smidgen of guilt. Birthdays are meant to be celebrated, not stressed over! Please take a pic so that I can drool over the amazingness? 😉 xoxo

  • Amy

    Sara- I know I don’t have to explain to you that this post exemplifies my life right now, especially in that stage of overeating, guilt, and attempts at compensation. I admire your strength and wisdom and you give me hope that I will one day achieve balance. Thank you SO much for your ongoing support.

    On a lighter note- enjoy the end of your long weekend!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Love you, girl! You WILL find that balance–keep the faith. <3 I'm here anytime you want to chat or need support! Huge hugs <3

  • Danielle

    Love this post Sara! I was stuck in misery with all of these rules for such a long time and it feels great to finally be able to break them. You are such an inspiration and should be so proud of yourself for how far you have come :)

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Thanks, Danielle! Your story is so inspiring, too! I’m glad you’re breaking those rules, and doing what’s right for YOUR body! Hugs!

  • http://chelseashealthykitchen.com/ Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen

    Ahh I love you and I love this post! It’s so well said! Bob Harper’s rules just make me roll my eyes… and then they make me nervous because I know that so many women have probably been influenced by those rules. When will people learn that healthy eating shouldn’t be about rules, meal plans, and restriction?!

    Well, I guess I’m not really one to talk because I spent years following “rules” like that. No fat, no white bread, limited carbs, no snacking before bed, no treats, no eating any foods with an unknown number of calories, etc. It was a miserable way to live! It just does to show that being skinny does not equal happiness! I wish more people understood that!

    On a different note, that pizza looks fantastic! That’s so awesome they offer GF crusts! I like a medium thick crust and lately my favourite toppings are prosciutto, mozzarella, and caramelized onion!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Girl, I love YOU! I followed many of the same rules you did–limited carbs, low calories etc etc., and none of them made me healthy–or happy!

      Prosciutto, mozzarella, and caramelized onions sound like an amazing combination! I’d like to try that at home! Hugs!

  • Natalie @ Lift,Sleep,Eat

    Such a great post!! I used to be exactly the same as you – id deprive, deprive deprive only to then go and binge and eat ridiculous amounts and then starve myself the next day.
    After incorporating treats into my everyday life I never have that urge anymore..something that I never thought would happen! And hey enjoying a bit of chocolate & ice cream everyday is good for the body & the soul!
    I never used to eat carbs after 7 as well, which when I look back on I’m like “whaaat?” I love carbs before bed now! They help me go to bed full and satisfied.
    I think its pretty bad that theres so many conflicting views now, everything is so confusing for people!
    Loving the look of that lindt sea salt caramel by the way um yum!!
    Weird you went to see Gatsby at the weekend & thought it was better in 3d, I went to see it at the weekend but had a disastrous 3d experience..it made me feel really sick :(
    That pizza looks delicious too – it depends what mood I’m in; I like a thin crust usually but not really crispy; quite soft..favourite toppings..thats too hard!! I’m not a huge fan of veggies on pizza though strangely enough even though I love them normally, onions/tomatoes/peppers are the only ones I’m really keen on pizza. – I’d either opt for simple margherita or something with lots of meat on :).
    Hope you enjoy the last day of your long weekend :)

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Isn’t it amazing how allowing ourselves treats prevents us from over-indulging? It’s a miracle, really! I’m so glad you’re at a happier place with food now, Natalie!

      Oh, gosh, sorry to hear about the Gatsby experience–that sounds awful! 3D movies occasionally make me feel sick, too. Fortunately that didn’t happen this time! As for pizza, I completely agree–I don’t like mine topped with many veggies either! They kind of ruin the cheesy pizza experience I love! xoxo

  • lifeaslisaknowsit.com

    I LOVE Margherita Pizza and the one you had looks DELICIOUS!!!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Margherita is one of my favorites, too! Happy Monday! <3

  • http://twitter.com/purelytwins Lori and Michelle

    love this!!! so true about how there are too many food rules and makes things really complicated. we have fallen for a few food rules traps, and now we are doing our best to just listen to our bodies and eat foods we are craving :)

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      You ladies are doing so well listening to your bodies! You’re an inspiration to us all! Hugs!

  • Alison

    Absolutely LOVE this! Thank you for your honesty! Listening to your body is key! That pizza looks AMAZING by the way.

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Thanks, Alison! Happy Monday!

  • Julie

    SO trueeeeeeeeee!! Also cannot WAIT for the bachelorette tonight! Ahhh love that show! Can’t wait to chit chat about it! Hope you’re enjoying your holiday weekend! Xoxo

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Ahh, I SO wish we could watch and gab together! It looks like the men are going to be as ridiculous as ever! Happy Memorial Day! <3

  • Healthy Diva

    LOVE THIS!!!!! LOVE YOU! RULES STINK! HEHE! I used to go by those damn rules, when modeling was when it was bad, I felt like my whole life revolved around the damn rules I had and I wasn’t living! Life is too short! I am so happy you are getting to know this too! Love you!!

  • http://twitter.com/flakeandcake Claire

    I LOVE this post Sara! I couldn’t agree with you more. These rules aren’t ‘essential for healthy living’ in the slightest and I think they will just give people food fears and obsessions. I struggle a lot less with food guilt but I do get it from time to time. I lived by so many food rules at one point that I actually ate EXACTLY the same dinner for SIX MONTHS. Can you imagine? My poor boyfriend!! Favourite pizza toppings have to be olives, pineapple, ham and goat cheese. Yum!

  • Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl

    I NEED that pizza…like NOW! 😉

    And those rules are honestly just annoying! No carbs after lunch? Um, not possible for me! 😉 And I never ever go to bed hungry. There are no “don’t eat after a certain time” rules for me!

    I hope you are having a fabulous weekend!

  • Brittany @ Balance and Bananas

    Thank you SO much for this post. Seriously. This just made my day. These are exactly the rules that fuel poor body image and eating disorders. You’re honestly a huge role model in my eyes for standing up against disordered eating. Sometimes I do still struggle with food guilt, but when I do, I try to remind myself that the food guilt is a mindset of the past and is not my current mindset today. Food shouldn’t be a reward and exercise shouldn’t be a punishment! They’re both needed to balance a healthy and happy life :)

  • Alex (Veggin’ Out)

    What a great post! Those rules drive me crazy. I mean seriously, no carbs after lunch? How are you supposed to eat pancakes for dinner then??? 😉 And I refuse to go to bed hungry. I would never be able to sleep!

    Oh and I definitely prefer thick, soft crusted pizza. I just love any and all things bready!


  • http://lisalately.com/ Lisa

    Love this post Sara! You’re always able to word my thoughts and feelings so well. I swear I read some of this “junk” and just shake my head at some of it.
    Rules are ridiculous, because they just set most people up to fail, or if you’re on the other spectrum (like me), they can keep you in a little box, afraid to expand and keep you from missing out on things in life.
    So glad you don’t follow those food rules anymore!
    Love youuuuu!

  • Lillian_SeizeTheLatte

    There are no words for how much I love this post!

    I completely agree with every single thing you said here: there are many different sets of “rules” (propagated by “experts”) that offer conflicting or outright harmful advice, and it’s no surprise that so many people are guilt-ridden, miserable, and not getting any healthier. I used to restrict my intake of tons of foods based on celeb tips, diet books, and a bajillion other things, and all it did was make me abjectly unhappy. Focusing on health — and, as you so rightly said, the experiences we have with our friends and family while enjoying food — is far more important than abiding by the “simple, non-negotiable rules” that get tossed around so often.

    I’ve developed a few guidelines for myself that have helped me feel better: 1) Any time the phrase “no excuses” comes out, treat it as a huge red flag. 2) Food restriction is no bueno. If someone recommends restricting any particular food group, don’t do it. 3) Adding in good food — as opposed to forcing myself to avoid “bad” food — is far more effective and happy-making.

    All that being said, thank you for writing this! XOXO

  • Elaina

    The mushrooms look delicious! And this is a great post! Great reminders! We can get bogged down in these details instead of looking at the bigger picture. Thanks for sharing!

  • Miss Polkadot

    Yes to all of that! Thank you for another awesome post, Sara!
    While I can’t say I didn’t have any food rules anymore but I’m working on them. And all of Bob Harper’s are so ridiculous it makes me sad to think there are people out there actually sticking to them? Really?!
    Some rules I used to live by where little/no white carbs, no breakfast, no unmeasured snacking around, as little fat as possible, … Sheesh, I’m glad at least those aren’t bugging me anymore.
    The best thing I ate last weekend was fantastic ice cream – mango and coconut, to be specific.
    Happy Monday <3!

  • Claire@Keeping Up With Claire

    There are so many things I want to say after reading this but all I’m going to say is I love you. Thank you for writing this post, because there needs to be more of this happening. I used to try to have the “perfect diet” for what I thought would be optimum performance in the gym….until I realized how emotionally sad it was for me to pass up froyo. Lesson learned! You are amazing, and one day we will share copious amounts of froyo, sangria and guac. Hope you had a great relaxing Memorial Day!! <3

  • http://twitter.com/sproutsnsquats Jan @ Sproutsnsquats

    I can’t wait to watch the season premiere of the Bachelorette I am so excited too!

    That pizza and mushrooms you had looked amazing.

    For me I try and stick to 1200 calories a day as I’m trying to lose a couple of kgs but I try and not follow any other particular ‘rules’. At events I know you are supposed to try and limit what you have and make smart choices but I see events as a time to relax and just eat what I like. I’m a lot more relaxed about food than I used to be but still have a way to go.

    Very inspiring post thanks for sharing!

  • Miss_Smart

    This is a WONDERFUL post, and something I think everyone can relate to. I got into a bad place with calorie counting, that I’m pretty much overcome (although I know so much that it probably will always be slightly in the back of my mind), but it did prevent me from truly enjoying food and LIVING for awhile. I am also getting over the “I need to exercise to EARN this” mentality. I don’t know we get into diet mentalities even when we don’t need to be on a diet, but it is a problem, isn’t it?

    You are beautiful! [And so is that pizza…]

  • Caitlin

    I have definitely struggled with food guilt. I still do. Since my junior year of college, my views on food have been all over the place. I am still trying to find a healthy balance between not obsessing over food but also eating primarily healthy and clean eats. It is crazy how much time I have spent in my young life obsessing over food… what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, why did I just eat that, why can’t I have that.. etc.
    Thanks for your post though, very thought-provoking.

  • runwithspoons

    I can’t even tell you how much I love this post, girl! I’m pretty sure that I’ve fallen victim to every single food rule in the book… No carbs in the evening. No eating past 7 PM. No eating even 10 calories over your daily limit because you’ll gain a pound in a year. No eating with distractions. No white sugar/flour. Meals must be balanced and perfectly times. The list just goes on and on. And what did it do for me? Was I happier and healthier? Hell no. In fact, I became the complete opposite… I was miserable with all of my self-imposed rules and felt so guilty any time I would break them. I hated seeing other people be so happy and care-free around food, when I was sitting there munching on carrots and celery. I’m a firm believer that your mental/emotional state contributes more to health than your physical state, so depriving your mind and body treats and being miserable for it really doesn’t do anyone any good. Rules, and especially those that pertain to food, are meant to be broken 😀

  • http://www.missymiller.wordpress.com/ Missy

    What an amazing amazing post.
    Everything in it is church. Total church, girl.

    I love how you wrote about being convinced you didnt want certain things. That is SO me. My therapist still doubts my “challenge foods” which are the list of foods that I really want to eat but won’t right now.
    Wanna hear it? Ezekiel bread PBJ, FroYo, Pizza (a healthy version of course).
    I still can’t get to that “I WANT A FREAKING BAGEL SMOTHERED IN BUTTER” place … but I am getting there.

  • Sprint2theTable

    Ummm… why doesn’t my salon give me chammy with a pedicure?! Lucky girl!!!

    I think rules are silly. I like my No Shit approach – diet is personal. You have to learn what works for yOU. If that means carbs at lunch, then more power to you (as I’m eating carbs with my lunch).

  • Jessie

    As always, beautifully written post. I used to think I was failing at so many health “rules”, but really, was i? Absolutely not! I was living life, and that is much more important than any stupid rule. Did I use to think I would gain 894189 lbs if I ate past a certain time at night.. um yes! That was probably the biggest rule I can say I was guilty of. Gosh, now I don’t eat dessert at night until 7:30-8ish.. and you know what, I feel great :)

  • Katie Drennan

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!

  • http://milesonoats.wordpress.com/ MilesonOats

    Thank you for sharing this deep and powerful message. As a runner
    I’ve learned the value of food and the energy it provides to fuel my
    runs. When I first started running I noticed weight gain and was so
    upset on a daily basis seeing the scale climb slowly, but surely. I’ve
    learned to embrace my gain as muscle and strength and convert those
    thoughtless (non-calorie counting) meals into an extra gust of speed at
    the end of a long run. Thank you for the reminder to focus on overall
    well-being. Not a number.


  • Rach

    Um yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I agree with everything you said here! It bums me out to see how these “rules” send the wrong message to so many people. There’s is so much more to being healthy than following a list of rules. :)

  • Devon @ Health in Equilibrium

    My life used to be totally dictated by food rules and now I have thrown them all out the window and it feels great. I am never going to go to bed hungry again, because I am not a fan of the insomnia it brings. Oh yeah, and I’m damn well going to drink some calories on a Friday or Saturday night!

  • http://www.runtothefinish.com RunToTheFinish

    I agree that some of the rules are just too intense and i definitely enjoy chocolate or some treat daily and if I want to eat out once in awhile I do…but I couldn’t eat the way you did for a weekend and not gain weight, my body isn’t built that way. So yes most of the time I focus on clean eating, but it goes way beyond weight it’s about having energy and clear skin and even moods…so I think for a lot of people who don’t fully understand healthy eating yet those rules give them a place to start (clean eating rules that is)

  • Nikki @ Road to Less Cake

    This post totally hit home with me. I have been “dieting” on and off for about four years now. I’ve recently been trying to break away from the rules and restrictions as well. I wouldn’t go for meals out with my bf, drinks with my friends etc because I couldn’t control what the food would be, Recently I’ve been trying not to be so obsessed with my diet. I try to eat healthy most of the time, but if I want a bit of chocolate, I will have it.

  • Annette@FitnessPerks

    I don’t have food guilt ever. Not anymore! Food rules are dumb-and I’ve completely shed them. Couldn’t be HAPPIER!

  • fitnessgall

    You’re awesome girl, i don’t really read blogs anymore these days but thought i’d check you out (and we have IG to stalk eachother!).
    Rules are so silly. I’ve never got the whole ‘cheat’ meal either. Why you you ‘cheat’ because it’s your ‘cheatday’. Have that chocolate on wednesday if you crave it!
    Focus on whole foods, experiment with foods and see how you respond to them – it’s really not that hard.
    Oh, i have one rule. No day is complete without chocolate, coconutbutter and avocado. Damn, there goes the no rules!

  • sarahkayhoffman

    Yes, yes, yes….”food policing” is totally out of control. Great post!

  • Aileen

    Not much to say ~~ you are the best blogger !!!!!! Love all your post and positive energy :)))

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