A new year is here, and you know what that means: New Year’s resolutions. Like a lot of people, I used to treat January 1 like a starting block for a new diet or weight loss goal. Why? Because it was the norm.
I mean, it’s still the norm. The ads for weight loss tips and wellness packages started creeping into my fyp the second the clock struck midnight on December 26.
I’m not sure why it took me so long to realize that starting every year with a new set of rules and expectations that were not sustainable at all was NOT it. I was setting myself up for failure year after year, and it was taking a toll. But now I know better, and I’m not about to let you fall into the same ‘food rule’ trap.
Oh and if there’s any question, I am NOT judging you if weight loss is on your resolution list. I’m only here to clear the room of diet rules once and for all 😉
These are the food rules we’re ditching in 2023.
Or maybe I should say, the food rules we’ve already ditched but are definitely leaving in 2022 and never looking back.
See ya. Bye.
There are some detoxes I can get behind…like a screen detox. But when it comes to food, we’re done pretending like we don’t have a complex and mind-blowingly cool setup in our own bodies for getting rid of waste and toxins.
If you want to eat more veggies in the New Year, that’s great! But please don’t start a juice cleanse or a super restrictive diet disguised as a “detox.” And PLEASE don’t spend $$$ on detox teas … unless you want to kick off 2023 on the toilet.
2. “Clean Eating”
I wrote an entire article on my feelings about clean eating, so read that before you come for me saying that this food rule is just healthy eating 😉
The TL;dr of it is this: I used to share those “eat clean” graphics on Pinterest, and I used to obsess over everything I ate.
Because that’s what happens when you try to only eat “clean” foods. You start to base your entire self-worth on whether you ate good or bad foods that day. Maybe you obsess over food labels or avoid social situations where too many “bad” foods are around.
And who decided which foods are deemed “clean” anyways? No one knows, but what probably started out as a well-intended piece of advice was absolutely swallowed by diet culture. Now, it’s just a marketing term.
3. Avoiding ALL processed foods
Hi, I’m a dietitian that is telling you to eat processed foods. Because not all processed foods are bad.
Apple slices? Processed.
Broccoli florets? Processed.
That spinach you picked from your own garden but then washed and trimmed? That is now processed.
We can’t throw the term ‘processed’ around like it means poison anymore.
Any time a food is altered in any way, it’s processed.
Obviously I know that when people talk about processed foods, they’re not talking about the minimally processed fruits and veggies. They’re talking about canned and packaged foods, with additives and preservatives, which we’ve deemed as “garbage.”
But the thing is… those aren’t all “garbage” either. Think about the protein someone might get from a can of tuna (27g) or even a serving of canned chili (16g) (and the fiber – 8.5g!). Or the fact that for some, canned veggies are the only kind of veggie within easy access. As for packaged foods, picky eaters might get most of their fiber and some vitamins and minerals from cereal or crackers. We have to consider the big picture.
And let’s take a moment to give frozen fruits and veggies the credit they deserve.
People who look down on frozen produce are really missing out. Not only do frozen foods help us avoid food waste (so sorry, spinach turning to mush in my fridge), but these fruits and veggies are actually harvested and frozen at their peak. And that means peak nutrition.
4. Healthifying everything
One of my favorite things to do is play around with recipes to pack them with more nutrition (heyyy protein pancakes!). But I also eat “normal” pancakes with zero guilt. There’s no need to “healthify” every one of your favorite recipes, especially if it’s in an attempt to replace or “cut out” a food you love, but feel like you should avoid because it’s “bad.”
I enjoy cookies made out of mashed banana, but they will never taste like Nestlé Toll House. Same with cauliflower crust pizza! It’s tasty when I’m in the mood, but I’m not pretending it will ever taste like Dominos.
5. Skipping meals after eating past fullness
Even if you ate 3 days worth of calories yesterday, you still need to eat today.
Just because you demolished a stack of pancakes this morning, that doesn’t mean you “make up for it” by not eating the rest of the day.
While we’re here, let’s just go ahead and commit to never punishing ourselves with a workout after eating something “bad” or overeating too.
Food guilt is staying in 2022.
We’re being KIND to ourselves in 2023. The cycle of “new year new me” followed by constant guilt due to giving into cravings, shame around food, and picking ourselves apart because we didn’t achieve something that probably wasn’t realistic in the first place is overrrrr.
Byyeeee, food rules.
If you want to work on nourishing your body without food rules, stick around. I’ll have some tips in January to help you do just that in a way that will also improve your relationship with food.
And if you want to start the new year with small, attainable challenges that will make you feel GOOD, check out the 30-Day Good Mood Challenge (it’s not too late to start!)