Food Rules: The Origin of Our Relationship with Food

She is a powerful leader and passionate advocate for building nourishing new narratives for us, that don’t include depriving ourselves of the cultural foods we grew up eating. She’s been featured and quoted in Well+Good, NY Times, and Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health Podcast. Check out her work and learn more here.

Food Rules: The Origin of Our Relationship with Food

One of the best ways to start understanding your relationship with food is to go back to the beginning, back to the first food rule you can remember.

Eating is often a social experience. It’s something we frequently do with other people, especially when we’re younger. At a very young age, when we’re the most impressionable, we learn how and what to eat. We also learn what to think about the food we eat. We begin to pick up food rules and opinions about nutrition from the people in our lives (i.e. parents, teachers, friends, other family members, etc.). We trust them, so what they tell us about how to eat and what to eat affects us deeply.

By becoming aware of this association between food and people – and asking how these early experiences with food and food rules have shaped what you eat – you can become more aware of the impact this first food rule has on many, if not all, of the decisions you make around what to eat.

Maybe you feel compelled to finish everything on your plate and feel guilty or like you’re doing something “wrong” if you don’t eat all of your food, even if it means pushing past your body’s cues and signals of fullness.

Maybe you eat all of your greens and veggies before you let yourself eat the rest of the meal and associate that with your body feeling better or feeling better about your body. The possibilities of how you might feel are endless, as are the ways this first food rule you learned long ago continues to shape your food decisions today.

Getting in touch with this food rule is very powerful. It gives you an opportunity for discernment, for choice. It gives you an opportunity for freedom. You can now consciously decide if you want to let this food rule influence how you eat. This is foundational to the mindset shifts you’ll explore throughout your time in Way, and that’s why it’s the very first session in Way.

To read more about foods rules and how they differ from food preferences, check out this Blog Post from Street Smart Nutrition.