8 food rules to drop that drive you nuts and make nutrition complicated

They ruin the best of our healthy intentions.

They create confusion.

They make the world of nutrition seem complicated.

They’re fuel for the perfectionism habit.

They’re food rules… and they’re ruining your life.

Here’s what you need to know about food rules and how to think differently about 8 of the most common.


Hello and welcome. It’s Maya a behavioral registered dietitian and founder here at Healthy Habits Solutions where we help you create permanent health and permanent weight loss. Not through another diet but your actual habit and behavior change so this can be a lifestyle for you. Today I want to talk to you about food rules like if you’re not hungry for breakfast don’t eat it and 8 other food rules that actually may drive you nuts and I see it all the time, make nutrition complicated because it certainly doesn’t have to be.

We’re going to talk some really basic nutrition for just a moment but what I also want to do is release you or give you permission to release all of those should and all of the things that complicate the mind with,

‘Well I really should be eating breakfast or I shouldn’t be eating so many calories’.

Let’s start there. Number one with breakfast. I hear this all time is, “Maya it’s the most important meal of the day and I am just not hungry but I really should be eating it.” The the truth is that there are plenty of studies. There’s one in American Journal of Nutrition that show that people who did not eat breakfast, your metabolism didn’t go down that they weighed just the same as breakfast eaters when it came to weight loss. It really just depends on what kind of studies are getting a little bit more press.

The bottom line here is that if you were not hungry. Don’t eat. It’s that simple. Having said that, don’t be silly and say I have no time for breakfast, I’m go through my whole day of an all my gosh I’m so stressed out by the time I get home for dinner time I’m going to eat everything in sight. There’s a balance there. It’s one thing to be not hungry for breakfast. It’s another thing to go your whole day without eating because you’ve been stressed or too busy.

Number two.

All of that fat is going to make me so fat.

I shouldn’t be eating so much fat. Dietary fat and our body fat or not one and the same. It’s not that you eat an avocado and it goes straight to your hips that doesn’t work that way. Our brain is entirely made of fat. Our DNA, the myelin sheath around our nerves are entirely made of fat. Our body needs fat. What it doesn’t need is so much extra sugar.

Number three. This one’s a good one, I get this a lot.

Well, I should be eating five or six small meals a day you know and I’m just not or I get too busy here or I’m just not hungry.

It goes back to the breakfast thing, if you’re not hungry don’t eat. The other should that we often fall into is well I’m that person, I have this meal and this meal and this snack and then this meal and this meal. You’re different every single day. The bottom line is we have to listen to our body and understand what it actually needs.

I have clients that function really well on two meals a day and I have clients that function really well on six small meals a day. I have noticed and this is just from what I’ve noticed but sometimes people who are managing blood sugar tend to need some of those those extra meals and snacks throughout the day. Whereas if there isn’t a blood sugar issues and that the diet has appropriate amount of the fat in it that you can be fueled with two or three meals and be fine.

Number four.

I should be drinking more water.

I’m not drinking enough water. I keep water at my desk. I drink it throughout the day. I drink it when I’m thirsty or when I’m feeling like I need to have some water. It’s one thing to not go all day be crazy and stressed out just like the food and then realize, “Oh my gosh all I did was drink coffee and soda all day long”. We don’t want that either but drink when you’re thirsty and when you’re not don’t beat yourself up for not drinking water.

Number five.

I only eat the egg whites, the yolk, that’s got way too much cholesterol, way too much fat.

I went through a large period of my life where all I did was eat whites. I can remember the first time that I ate yolk. It was so delicious that I couldn’t stop eating egg yolks because I had them out for so long. One thing that you have to know is that dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol, the cholesterol in your blood, they’re not the same theme. The egg yolk has such precious, beautiful nutrition in it just like a multi vitamin and our body needs that too.

Number six.

I watch my calories to lose weight.

You really want to be careful with calories and not play the calorie game. Trust me from a woman who has been down the calorie route and got burned from the calorie route. When you play the calorie game, you always play the calorie game. If you’re functioning at two thousand calories and you’re giving your body fifteen than your body is going to get really smart and say hey, “She’s only giving me fifteen we’re going to down regulate things and only function at fifteen hundred”. Which is making the calorie game just do this for you and you’re eating less and less.

Some of the healthiest people I know eat five, six, seven thousand calories a day and they are in their best bodies. Calories is not a calorie and has very little to do with weight loss.

This is a good one,

no eating after dinner.

No eating after dinner time. You really have to know your goals, who you are and what your body wants. Some people have snacks after dinner and they burn right through it and they’re at really great body fat, really great body weight and they’re fine. Some people like to go to bed on a fully digested stomach where we’re food isn’t digesting as they’re going to sleep. Some people feel better eating a lot less sugar before they go to bed. It’s not as difficult as we think it is when we remove the food rules.

My question is how do you sleep best? Is it on an empty stomach? Is it maybe having a small piece of toast with avocado or butter before you go to bed. Which actually helps increase the sleepy time hormones in a little bit of carbohydrate. Again, no wrong answer you’ve got to know you.

Last but not least is

salt is bad.

I can’t have any salt. There’s three different kinds of salt. There is the processed salt, the bleached processed salt, the white salt shaker salt, the stuff that’s in canned stuff and frozen foods and stocks and soups. Then there is sea salt. Sea salt is still bleached and still processed. It is the larger white chunk salt so it kind of looks like sea salt because sea salt became very popular very fast but it’s still bleached and processed and that includes kosher salt. Then there’s the last type of salt which is real unrefined unprocessed salt chalk full of beautiful minerals like iodine that we need for our thyroid. They come in Himalayan pink salts, Celtic grey salts, Hawaiian black salts. Anything that has not then refined or processed or bleached, that’s the salt we need. Still buy all of your food low and no sodium and then you can add the good stuff yourself.

Those are the food rules and to wrap up there’s three main points when it comes to rules that are really want you to keep in mind it was really the foundation of all of the food rules we just talked about is number one. Watch the shoulds out of your mouth. I should be doing that, I should be doing that. That causes a lot of heartache and pain and a lot of frustration. You don’t really have to be doing anything. I just said to a client moments ago, she was afraid of falling off, falling off. What if there was nothing to fall of? What if there were no food rules?

What if there was a your body which is number two, foundation is to listen to your body’s needs. Your body knows for better what it needs then any journal, then any study that’s ever been published, then myself, then any dietitian or nutritionist or doctor. Your body knows best. Sometimes we can’t hear what it’s saying to us because we’re so full of noise. Noise in the form of sugar. Noise in the form of busyness. Noise in the form of unwanted emotions like frustration and overwhelm.

Number one get rid of the shoulds. Number two listen to your body’s needs and last but not least is the foundation of when I talk about habit behavior change and that is to lead a resistance free life.

Make it your goal, your intention to minimize the resistance that you feel. When you say should or you’re not listening to your body’s needs or you’re caught up in the noise we tend to have massive amounts of resistance. That resistance inside feels very different to each one of us. When you can have no resistance and things flow out easier and feel a lot better, that’s the product of no resistance is feeling better. Then it’s very easy to not pay attention to the food rules.

I hope that was helpful. I look forward to hearing all about the food rules that you are going to take out of your vocabulary and your diet.