I’m not a person who usually breaks the rules. I hate conflict and I’m a huge people-pleaser. I don’t like anyone to be mad at me and I really hate being called out for doing something wrong. I was the kid in class who would raise my hand because I knew it was expected but pray the teacher would never call on my because what if I was wrong and everyone would hate me?
Welcome to the life of an introvert.
As I get older I’m getting better with the people-pleasing thing because it is literally impossible to please every person in your life at one time and it’s not my job to make everyone happy. But there is one area of my life that I’m really good at breaking the “rules”.
I know, my health seems like the one place I should ALWAYS follow the rules. Why mess with something as important as my health? But here’s the thing: There are so many rules that it can be mind-boggling. One person says to do this but another says that will actually kill you. One expert has found the key to success but another says that will literally destroy everything. So I’ve given up trying to follow all the rules and made up some of my own.
Here the top five rules/advice everyone has heard before and what I actually do. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying these rules are bad. They just don’t work for me. And that’s what’s best for your health, finding what works for you.
Rule #1: Eat five to six small meals throughout the day instead of three big meals
I like food so you would think I would love to eat six meals in a day. But here’s the thing, I like a big plate of food. I tend to eat with my eyes first and if I see a small plate with a small amount of food, my brain and stomach get sad. My brain is already telling my stomach that won’t be enough food to feed me and I start plotting what I’m going to eat next to fill that void rather than enjoy what’s in front of me.
What works for me: Eating when I’m hungry. Sometimes that’s three square meals a day and sometimes that’s two really big meals. Listening to my body allows me to enjoy the food on my plate at that moment instead of worrying about where I’m going to get more food to fill me up.
Rule #2: Don’t eat after 6 or 7 p.m.
If I followed this rule, I would never have dinner. Adam usually doesn’t get home until after 6 and we usually have dinner between 7:30 and 8. That’s just what works for us. Now I get that this “rule” is meant to curb after dinner eating but I think a lot of people take it as somehow calories matter more at a magic time of night. They don’t. 350 calories at 6 a.m. are the same 350 calories at 6 p.m. How your body uses them will be different because you’re generally more active in the morning than at night. But you get what I mean.
What works for me: Eating dinner at my normal time and not worrying about closing my kitchen at a certain time. I also generally don’t snack after dinner because we eat later and I’m just not hungry.
Rule #3: Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day
Let me make this clear: water is good. You should drink water. But I have a hard time sucking down all that water every day. Believe me, I’ve tried. I feel bloated, uncomfortable, and have to pee every five minutes. I’ve done all the tricks. Gotten a water bottle, set timers, added fruit to make it taste better, but at the end of the day, I just don’t stick with the water program.
What works for me: I do drink water first thing in the morning because I’m usually thirsty when I wake up and right after I workout, also in the morning. Then I listen to my body and drink when I’m thirsty not just because I have to. I also drink a lot of tea and eat a ton of vegetables and your body will get water through those means as well.
The Rule I Always Follow: Portion Control
Portions get me every time. Remember how I said I eat with my eyes? I tend to fill up my plate and then eat every last bit of that food and sometimes go back for seconds. So I have to be good with my portions. Now, that doesn’t mean I get out my measuring cups and spoons and make sure everything is perfectly portioned. I have switched to smaller plates and bowls because our regular dinner plates could feed a small army. And on some things (cough peanut butter cough cough) I do measure it out or else I would eat the whole jar in two days. No joke.
There you have it, how I’ve changed a few of the rules to work for me and not make me feel bad about my decisions. It’s better to make your health your own rather than following a set of rules that make you feel restricted and guilty.
What are some of the health rules that you break?