National Eat What You Want day has arrived!
When I hear that, it triggers the same giddy school girl feeling that I get when my husband says: “I’ll take the kid(s) for the day, you have it all to yourself!”
There is a similar sense of freedom. Am I right?!
Since I can’t promise you a day to yourself, Thomas and Ruth Roy DID create a day almost as good: a day dedicated to eating whatever you want. We live in a world where we are bombarded with the idea of what we should believe beautiful is, and what our bodies should look like. Despite our actual health needs. We buy into the idea that our foods should check a bunch of boxes: gluten-free, dairy-free, organic…. The list goes on and on. This day was set aside for us to all take a break and just eat what will satisfy our souls, or at least our taste buds.
So what is it you are grabbing to eat on this special day?
They really left the door wide open for interpretation here. Most are probably thinking in the sense of a break from their diet or strict eating protocol. It may be a day of abandoning the rules and sinking your teeth into a double-decker cheeseburger with the works, and DON’T hold the fries! For some it may be a break from structure as if you gave the meal planning over to your 4-year-old. Eat some chips for breakfast, a cookie for lunch and ice cream for dinner.
Maybe the above already loosely resembles your day today. No judgment from this mama!
Another way to approach this holiday would be to loosen the purse strings and order that steak and lobster dinner you have been eyeballing at your favorite date night restaurant. You have permission on this very day to not think twice about that bill. If you have made the decision to be vegetarian but still crave some meat time to time, have at it.
Even the Best Dieters Need A Break
Mentally and physically there are benefits to taking a break from rules and regulations. Especially when it comes to our eating. Sure, we need to have some sort of eating standards for our health. If we allowed our children to pick our staple foods, we would have little to NO nutrients coming into our bodies. Cheese puffs anyone?
If we have certain body composition goals, or performance goals, we need some sort of standard of intake. However, studies have shown that the most successful eating lifestyle is the one that allows some flexibility in food choices.
Working as a fitness professional and food coach, I can’t tell you how often I have had conversations with others about not categorizing foods as “good, bad, or off-limits.” The only time food should be classified as “good “or “bad” is when talking about its ripeness or expiration date. Foods should fit our goals. Those goals can range from health, performance, and aesthetic reasons to cultural, fiscal, and ethical goals. Everyone’s day of breaking free from rules and structure will look different.
With kids, I like to reference them as ‘sometimes’ foods or ‘all the time’ foods. While it would be easier to not label foods at all, there is still a sense of needing to understand health and what food can do for our bodies and our brains.
So while I could really strap on my food/fitness coach pants and dive down the rabbit hole of our eating habits outweighing one day or one meal, ill spare you the lecture and sum it up into a few words: This day will not undo your compounding daily habits. Just like one splurge on the Steak and Lobster won’t likely make you bankrupt.
Our day to day habits and lifestyle choices keep us fixed on the needed path. Days like a birthday celebration, or a glass of wine at the end of a long stressful day, are just small stoplights on the drive. They give us a break, but we can continue moving forward. It is not the re-route we sometimes feel they will be.
Now if we are hitting stop lights frequently, then maybe they could be keeping us from our destination. But that is a post for another time.
If we are one bad food choice away from not fitting into our jeans, then we are just one good salad away from being slapped on the cover of Swim Suit Illustrated. Take a moment and break from the norm. Have breakfast for dinner, have chips for lunch or take the whole family out for Ice Cream.
Happy Eat What You Want Day. Start Celebrating!