There are rules in life that are worth obeying. Stopping at a stop sign is a rule that might save your life. Living your life according to the "Golden Rule" of treating others in the fashion you would like to be treated is an admiral and worthwhile goal. Rules for weight loss? Now, that is another story all together!
I think we all have a love/hate relationship with rules. Sometimes rules give us a sense of security, a temporary feeling of calm control. That is until we decide to rebel! We all have a bit of a rebellious nature when it comes to our relationship with food and eating. I see this in my clients on a regular basis. Often when a new client comes in for an initial assessment it is precisely because they are sick of trying to follow rules about food, eating and exercise. They have discovered these rules to be unrealistic and burdensome. Recently a new client was giddy with relief at the end of our first session. She had engaged in The Last Supper ritual the night before her appointment. Thinking that there would be foods I would tell her to never eat again, she stuffed herself with every last one of those forbidden pleasures! At that next session the relief she had experienced about not having to outlaw certain foods had been replaced with fear. Without the diet rules she had been leaning on as a crutch, she was frightened that she would not be able to control herself around food. She was convinced that she would gain weight exponentially with out a specific set of dietary do's and don'ts. As she has has learned more about the challenges in her life that are roadblocks to healthier nutrition, she has become confident in her ability to navigate those barriers. For example, we identified one of her high risk time for non-hunger eating as after dinner, late at night. She mistakenly thought that just implementing a "rule" that she could not eat after a certain time would eradicate that enemy. You guessed it! Once she took one bite after dinner she went into the "I have blown it" mindset that led to more non-hunger eating. She thought she was a failure. Actually, it was the rule that failed her!
So, the next time you are tempted to place yourself under a rule about your food and eating ... just say no! You will be glad you did!