food rules

Posted: October 5, 2010 at 8:58 am

Bloggers of the Day! (randomly chosen from yesterday’s comments)


Good morning! I’m about to head into another busy day, although at least this one is all fun-filled. Yesterday I had so many things to get done that I didn’t even eat dinner until 8:45 pm!  I had to tutor last night and then stop at the store on the way home. It never fails that I forget something when grocery shopping. Without question, I inhaled my food immediately upon butt contact with the kitchen chair.


I dined on a turkey burger with my usual toppings – ketchup, mustard, pickles, onions, and tomato. I like the basics. Sides, however, can spice it up. We noshed on our first roasted butternut squash of the season. Delicious!

While eating my late dinner, I began thinking about those old food rules I used to follow. One of which touted that eating after 7 pm would cause my body to store every drop I ate as fat. No matter if my overall calorie consumption balanced out. Eating past the golden hour automatically equated to pudge in my book. In that same situation, years ago I might have convinced myself I was no longer hungry or had nothing more than a few veggies. How twisted! Like my body switches off its mitochondrial metabolism support at 7 pm. Riiiggghhhttt.

Then I remembered other “food rules” I used to live by. Laughable now really. Besides not eating after 7, I also could not have complex carbohydrates except around my workouts. So, in other words 2 meals a day and only on training days. Now, does a meal without complex carbs even exist? Not in my stomach!


Another rule in line with that? I could not could not could not consume a starch (complex carbohydrate) with a fat source. Oats and nut butter? Not possible. My body wouldn’t be able to process the nut butter after processing the carbs so I would get fat. Where did this logic even come from? Oh yea. I know. I won’t name names though. Let’s just say I no longer need to send out an “SOS” with my breakfasts. Like my morning’s glorious bowl with oats, 1/2 banana, sprinkle of raisins, and glob of Nutella. 😀


And I cannot forget the golden protein rule! I would keel over and die if I did not eat at least 1 gram of protein per my weight each and every day. Usually I consumed even more than that, getting upwards of 150g each day. That would be 100g OVER the recommended amount for healthy living. I don’t imply its bad to eat more protein, but forcing yourself to eat more because you fear muscle loss and not allowing yourself other foods you love to fit in protein…that’s not too smart. I wasn’t too smart. How did I force myself to eat so much of this…which I don’t even like?


I think my favorite food rule of all, however, was the need to rate my fruits and veggies. Berries and apples? Good. I can have one per day. After a workout, but of course. Bananas, peaches, and grapes? A bit too much sugar…better avoid. Green beans, spinach, and broccoli? Good! Zucchini, squashes, potatoes, corn, carrots, and peas? Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 “grade B/C” veggie calories.

French beans. potatoes in bowl 3 horizontal

I am not kidding. I used to view food that way. No wonder I binged! Carrots were “bad”! Letting go of food rules was one of the best things I have ever done. It freed me from fearing food and giving it power over me. I now eat how satisfies me and in the process learned that quality foods satisfy me more than anything else. Although that doesn’t stop me from having one food rule. Make room for a bit of dessert every day. 😉 Why, hello there special treat to share for tonight’s special Sister Night courtesy of BlogHer!


  • Have you ever succumbed to any of these food rules? Or what others have you placed on yourself?
  • What are your favorite burger (be it beef/turkey/bean) toppings?

[All photos not my own from]

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91 Comments to “food rules”
  1. oh gosh, NOOO!!! I want to run as far away from this post as I can.

    Love your SOS remark! Yup, I had to give up my favorite thing—toast and nut butter. Heaven forbid you combine the two.

    You cant forget about nut butter being a “b” list fat so it wasnt the best! I would actually FORGO Peanut butter so I could A list fats…like flaxseed oil in protein shakes. I somehow convinced myself that it was bearable to eat like that. Crazy. So much happier now with eating whatever the heck I want!

    I broke major rules last night with my evening snack—piece of toast (starch), peanut butter (fat), and a banana (BAD fruit!)

    HAHA–loved every minute of it 🙂

  2. I LOVE Hot Tamales! Probably one of my favorite candies!

    I use to not eat after 7 unless I was really hungry. Now with a kid, dinner times vary so much.

  3. Cynthia says:

    I used to have the rule about no eating after 8. But now I know that I need to listen to my body. So if I happen to be hungry at 9:00, I eat! 🙂

  4. Marcia says:

    Hot Tamales are a on the Food Pyramid right?!?! They are on mine…….
    Funny about sending out an “SOS”—- I hear things are a lot different– I sure hope so! 😉
    I never did undestand those rules, must be why I never followed them!!! Take that ( them, not you), I broke all the those rules and still got first–suckas! 😉
    Reading Lisa’s comments makes me laugh again. Oh my, the things we thought we were learning….

    I could never do the don’t eat after a certain time either– I would have to go to bed at like 4PM!

    Great post.
    I am going to try to roast butternut squash tonight–wish me luck!

    • Tina says:

      That is exactly why I didn’t include where I got all those crazy ideas because I have heard from many that the nutrition guidelines have changed some. All I know is for me personally, at that time, they screwed my head! LOL

  5. Eating every 3 hours.

    @ Least 1g protien per lb bodyweight

    Protein shake within the ‘anabolic window’ after working out of only fast absorbing isolate protien with NO fat

    Ugh, all my rules stemmed from that damn bodybuilding phase I was in. There are so many more I have successfully blocked out. I’m glad I quit rules and dieting. 🙂

  6. Ok, had not heard the nut butter and oatmeal thing. I don’t know that I can eat oatmeal without PB 😉 There are so many “food rules” out there and they are often contradicted between mags out a the same time. I have almost stopped buying some of the fitness mags just b/c of all the rules in there that make you feel like you’re doing everything all wrong. Anyway, I love spinach and roasted red bell peppers on veggie burgers or jalapenos, tomatoes and lettuce.

  7. Camille says:

    When I was suffering from an eating disorder, I would abide by the “no food after 7” rule. I would sit there in my bedroom trying to control my cravings all day but as soon as I watched the clock tick over to 7, it’s like I was free. Because I “couldn’t” eat, I didn’t want to eat.
    Guess what? If you’re hungry after 7, EAT AFTER 7!

  8. Love your “Bloggers of the Day” area. So nice. I don’t have many food rules. I think I had misconceptions in the past, but not really rules I follow. As far burgers go – I love turkey and black bean. I’m very traditional with my toppings: ketchup, mustard and PICKLES of course!

    • Tina says:

      Yes. You gotta have the pickles!!! They are my favorite. I’m a basics girl on the burger too. Sandwiches, though, I like to get a little creative with.

  9. Julie says:

    I refuse to have my turkey burgers without ketchup. I also love to have a slice of pineapple on top. Blue cheese makes them perfect!

  10. Dawn says:

    One of the big food “rules” I fell victim to was the fat-free craze back in the ’90s. I used to use dry toasted bagels to scoop up salsa for every meal (yuck! the thought of eating those foods together now makes me cringe) – never mind that there were NO nutrients there, I thought I was doing great because I was eating zero fat! Ha!

    As for burger toppings – I love roasted red peppers on burgers, but if not then sweet pickles in some shape or form are a must – love ’em!

  11. Good to see you flouting these rules nowadays. 🙂 Thanks for your kind comments on my blog. I also like your bloggers of the day thing so I can find some new ones to read. 🙂

  12. Aren’t food rules crazy?! I think about some of the “rules” I used to have in high school and college, and I CRINGE!

  13. Yikes, you used to be pretty tough on yourself! Of course I had my food rules….they changed as time went on. Scientifically you SHOULD have a protein, carb and fat at each meal…but we have been so brainwashed by all the misinformation out there that we torture ourselves with all these rules!! Wasn’t it so freeing when you finally let go of them! The only Food Rules I follow are Michael Pollans..the golden rule “EAT REAL FOOD” 🙂


  14. Jess says:

    I used to not eat after 7:30- so silly! I’m glad that’s done with:)

  15. Katie says:

    What a good post to share! Great way to break it down and tell us about your old “rules” and how unrealistic they are! BTW the pic of the spaghetti lol lookkkkss so good!

  16. Hot Tamales are like a delicous evil for me. They give me terrible heartburn but I love them! I haven’t heard of some of the food rules you listed but the one that I totally did was the “no eating after 8” rule. Once you throw kids into the mix that one flies out the window – er, kitchen. 🙂

  17. Oh girl… I did SPT… let me tell you that I NEVER followed that “rule.” I seriously could not eat my nutbutter without a carb. Actually… I broke all the rules of the diet and never followed any of them. I often had 4-5 servings a fruit a day. And as I’m sure you know, I NEVER got in my alloted veggie amount.

    • Tina says:

      And seriously..they expected us to eat veggies like we would never see food again. The amount of green veggies expected was insane!

  18. elise says:

    Sooo…I just stumbled my way here…you know how that goes, one second you’re reading one person’s site and the next minute you are 6 new blogs away. I just had to comment saying (1) nice to meet you 🙂 and (2) thanks for you honesty about your former food “rules.” they were funny to read, but i dont mean that in a condescending or critical way. its because i can relate to weird thought processes that you somehow convince yourself are completely logical…even when they aren’t at all. crazy how the media has such a powerful effect over us. anyways, cant wait to read more 🙂

    • Tina says:

      Hi there! Thanks so much for saying hello. Now I can go check you out. 😉

      And no offense taken. I like a little humor even in serious topics.

  19. Hey lovely lady,

    Check out my blog today 😉 😉

  20. Oh man, that is how I feel NOW and I hate it and can’t wait to transition to normalcy again! I’m going to let my own body make up its own rules based on how I feel and how my body responds to food. Everyone is different and I don’t want to follow someone else’s rules and deny my body what it wants and needs. Seriously, then it becomes food controlling you rather than you controlling food and that is just crazy. All the rules you have stated up above I have adhered to at one point or another and I’m just not buying it anymore, especially with how active I am now compared to the past. I can afford to eat what I want, when I want (in moderation) and be just fine! Thanks for spreading the “good news” that its OK not to follow food rules:)

    PS- I gave you a shout out on my blog!

    • Tina says:

      Thanks for the shout out! You know I’m happy to help however I can. And you’ll be back to normalcy soon enough. 🙂

  21. i used to try to not eat after 6pm in college…yeah, that didn’t work so much 🙂

  22. Hey Tina, would you ever consider doing a post on what your diet and exercise was like during competition prep?

  23. Courtney F says:

    Definately did the 7pm rule. I would be so hungry the next morning my stomach would hurt! No fun!

  24. Thanks for the sweet mentioning! 🙂

    I used to be careful of carbs. I listened to all the “bad carbs” talk and would only allow myself a limited amount. I completely cut out pasta for awhile. Now I don’t eat as much pasta, but it’s more because I prefer other things to it- not because it’s “evil”. Ridiculous…

  25. Yep, I’m all too familiar with these rules…especially the no eating after 7 pm one. I don’t know how I lived like that!

  26. Emily says:

    I try to stay away from Food Rules, too. I once had a trainer tell me that I had to eat less carbohydrates at night. She had NO idea what my diet was like and so I pretty much just laughed at her. I think listening to our bodies is much more important than creating rules.

    My favorite burger toppings are ketchup, mustard, pickles, onion and avocado. Yum.

  27. Rachel says:

    I never had food rules. But I went in the exact opposite way. Nothing was off limits but I thought eating until you felt like you would burst every single time you sat down to eat, was normal and that is what being “full” felt like. If you needed a snack it was because you didnt eat nearly enough in the past meal.

    Whew, glad to have learned that feeling satisfied after a meal is okay and you don’t have to be in pain from being so full every meal.

    • Tina says:

      Isn’t it crazy how we don’t understand what full feels like. Or even better…I like to think of myself being satisfied instead of full because full makes me think of eating past comfort.

  28. Great post Tina! I used to follow the protein rule too – and boy was it hard getting in all the lean protein. I think at one point I never wanted to see a piece of grilled chicken again. This stemmed from my Fiance, who was bodybuilding at the time. Why did I feel that what work for him would work for me? Crazy talk.

  29. Angela says:

    Great post Tina! I laughed at some of the rules because I’ve had the same ones as you. As far as protein goes, I used to try to work out how many grams I was consuming but got fed up with it. Counting didn’t last for long! I also tried to stop eating before 8pm but that totally didn’t work because it doesn’t suit my lifestyle.

    Favourite burger topping by FAR is salsa!! I used to be a ketchup girl, but have replaced pretty much any ketchup occasion with salsa because I like me some spice!! 🙂

  30. I am not a food rules person. I eat oatmeal every night at about 8. I guess part of that is because I get up early to work out and I can’t eat right before I exercise…it hurts my stomach.

    Red bean burgers are my all time favorite with lettuce, tomato, pickle, mustard and ketchup! YUM! Now you made me want a burger.

  31. Steph says:

    Mmm… was stuck on the butternut squash and nutella… ooh, together! 🙂

    My goodness this brought back memories!!! All those silly rules that we “learn” along the road when working to lose weight, get healthy, whatever. I too have ditched a lot of the silly, useless, arbitrary rules and have adopted some more meaningful guidelines.

    For me, it’s all about avoiding feeling like poo – does eating this or that make me feel like poo after eating it? Nope? Ok, bring it on! If it does, then I weigh if it’s worth it… sometimes it’s sooo worth feeling like poo. 😉

    • Tina says:

      I like your approach. We should eat things that make us feel good with a few just for the heck of it thrown in. Works for me! 😀

  32. I have followed the rule of not eating after a certain point. I would get hungry in the middle of the night and had a hard time sleeping. Stopped that in it’s tracks. Woo late night dark chocolate 🙂
    I followed the rule of limiting my carb intake too. For some reason I thought if I limit my carb intake, my stomach would magically develop into a six pack. Limiting my carbs made me tired, and I had a hard time working through a workout. Not fun.

    I followed the rule of having a recovery protein drink after I worked out. I am not sure where this stemmed from, but I did it. I noticed that the protein drinks caused my stomach to bloat and I had major cramps. And my regularity,ahem, was not good.
    I will admit that if I don’t do my business every day it does not make me happy. I like knowing my plumbing works 🙂 Weird response, yes. But for me it’s pretty important.

    My new guidelines ( I like that better than rules) are drinking as much water as possible. Eating a piece of fruit or veggie per meal/snack. Eat what my body is telling me to eat. If I crave a spoonful of Dark Chocolate Dreams PB then I eat it 🙂

  33. Oh my.. favourite burger toppings? raw cucumber, cheddar, red onion, lettuce (preferably seasoned in balsamic vinegar and evoo) and sometimes I have even added red cabbage to burgers 😀 I love my cabbage!

  34. I subscribed to that protein rule like as if God himself wrote it…I don’t know what I was thinking.

  35. Ok I think the food rules are a little odd — but I do try to abide by the 7pm rule — unless I up way late (weekends or some weeknights) — obviously if I am HUNGRY I will eat, but as a whole, if I am just bored and want to snack, I get out of the kitchen, and having that 7pm cutoff time helps me out.

    Again, I don’t follow it all the time,but it helps me to realize that it is late and I need to not go to bed with a full belly.

    I know it sounds like I’m totally defending a stupid rule, but it has helped me some.

    My favorite burger would have lettuce, tomato, bacon, avocado and a fried egg on top. It tastes so good!

    • Tina says:

      Thats different though. Giving yourself a mental stopping point to keep from mindless eating is one thing. Forbidding food despite hunger because of what the clock says is another.

  36. Kim says:

    I used to follow the not eating after 7 one.. I think I got it from Oprah. I used to go as far as brushing my teeth immediately after dinner soI wouldn’t be tempted to eat again. Craziness. And I used to be such a night owl, I’d stay up well past midnight and along the way I twisted the rules enough that I started drinking my calories… I wasn’t allowed to eat but drinking V8 was ok. ugh, i’m glad my days of obsessing like that are over!

  37. I used to be the same way about refusing to eat after 7pm. How silly. However, I do try to eat early enough that I’m not full at my bed time. I have trouble falling asleep with a full belly.

  38. Sami says:

    totally! i never used to eat past 7 either! even if i hadn’t had dinner. how TERRIBLE for my body! now i eat when i’m hungry whether it’s 4pm or 10 pm. 🙂

  39. Oh yeah…I totally relate to the rating the fruits and veggies thing.

    PS. I just ate a banana. (0:


  40. Sava says:

    Most of those food rules seemed pretty silly,

    But I have been trying to avoid eating after 7 (or 8 or 9) not because of fat gain, but because it gives me nightmares!

    Quite literally.

    I haven’t actually narrowed it down to test if its eating that does it, because I am always starving after work at 9pm so I eat anyways, but I have read in several sources (the kind diet, macrobiotic books, etc) that eating 3 hours before bed can make your sleep suck, and give you craaaaazzzzzyyy dreams.

    Like I said I’m not 100% positive it is the food that gives me nightmares, but just mentioning that there are possibly valid reasons for avoiding food after 7pm 🙂

    • Tina says:

      If eating at that time affects your sleep then by all means avoid eating later. Just as long as you’re not going hungry in the process, which I don’t think you are. I know I have crazy dreams when I eat something with sugar right before bed.

  41. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tina Reale, Tina Reale. Tina Reale said: food rules: Bloggers of the Day! (randomly chosen from yesterday’s comments) Your Food Smiles – Emily shares many … […]

  42. Kacy says:

    It’s so great that you no longer feel enslaved to those rules. I used to have some myself and it was so freeing to break those chains!

    I didn’t eat dinner until 11 p.m. last night and it was all good with me. 🙂

  43. Before 7pm? I would never survive! I usually don’t eat until after 8pm because of my schedule, even though i’m up before 7am most days. As always, I admire your honesty so much Tina. These days your voice just radiates through your posts 😉

  44. Natalie says:

    I love this post! Many of my past food rules sound similar to yours. I kind of makes me sick to think of how much protein I forced myself to eat back in the day! Food rules are so silly, and when you start thinking about them rationally, they make no sense!

  45. homecookedem says:

    Oh goodness, my food rules used to be a long, twisted list… One “rule” I used to have was NEVER, EVER indulge in a treat at work. I had to stick to my planned meals and snacks and never would eat cake or desserts people offered me. Well, today I accepted a slice of Publix cookie cake b/c I really wanted it. But the old me would have either turned it down or taken it, but thrown it in the trash. Then by the time the weekend rolled around, I would have felt so deprived that I would have binged on sweets. Such an awful cycle.

  46. Penny Lane says:

    OI once was on a diet where I only ate carbs 1 hour a day. Do you know how many carbs you can eat in an hour? I wouldn’t eat potatos sweet or otherwise. I wouldn’t eat. Fruits because of all the sugar, so many crazy food rules it is no wonder it is difficult to overcome all those negative thoughts.


  47. Yeah, food rules are pretty lame. It really is SOOO freeing to ditch them. Common sense rules out every time!
    Mmm, your roasted butternut squash looks delicious. Last week I roasted some butternut and some acorn together and I couldn’t eat the acorn. Blech! The butternut was awesome, though.

  48. I am really loving veggie burgers these day, especially Sunshie burgers. but it’s gettng pricey and I need to make homemade ones.

    I was scrolling down the post and I was stuck at the picture of the Nutella blob. It seems this week will be Chocolate week for me 🙂

    I had a quick stint with the low card diet before, no carbs period. I was unhappy and not myself..I ditched that food rule so fast. I’m happier now, eating variety of food and not dieting.

  49. Nope, no food rules for me. I already “have” to not eat meat (my choice obviously) and avoid dairy due to bloating. So that really doesn’t leave much.

    Lately, I’ve been trying to cut my sugar intake, as I noticed I was dependent upon it (i.e., numerous cravings) again. Going along with this, I am going to try to have veggies at breakfast as much as I can because breakfast is most likely to be sugary for me. No, I don’t bar any fruit — just added sugars. But my stomach will tell me (ugggh) when I’ve eaten too much fruit.

    Oh, but I do try not to eat 2-3 hours before bed, if for nothing else than discomfort and the feeling of slobbishness. Also, I generally keep an overall inventory of the amount/type of food that I eat per day and try not to roughly go over my calorie allotment based on my really rough guesses.

    • Tina says:

      Food preferences and knowing what works for you and your body are so different from fearing food. I think its admirable to know your body well enough to give it what it wants and what leaves you feeling good. 🙂

  50. I used to never eat past a certain hour too, now I so twy to limit how much I eat before bed because I sleep so much better if I’m done digesting my meals… But not out of fat feardom.

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