I'll attempt to describe how I make food and fitness decisions with no rules or plan. In my mind, I do the exercise or eat the thing. I quickly imagine the experience as though it's happening. Then I can feel what that feels like. Do I feel excited? Invigorated? Disappointed? Resentful? It happens in a flash as I'm considering options. That "how does this feel to my soul?" gut check is honest in a way that fitness rules and diet logic can't touch. When you hit on the right choice, there is no resistance to it. I'm eager. It's clear. If I'm going, "Well, um, maybe, ugh..." or anything like that, then I'll definitely choose a different food or a different exercise, one that sings to me. No judgment.
Tonight, for example, we were going to have spaghetti and garlic bread. The problem with that is I'm not the least bit hungry due to the random snacks I ate watching TV this afternoon. An hour before dinner I was quite full. Do I want a big plate of garlicky saltiness now? Bleh, no. I'm thirsty just thinking about it. In fact, I want something wet and cold, but not ice cream. I checked that one first and it wasn't appealing. When I think about eating something (and I will eat!), cereal and milk sounds good, banana, berries, maybe toast or waffles and milk. I'm experiencing all of these scenarios in my gut-brain. It's just flashes of how things feel and not logic, not a debate about what's "right."
Though, I do have common sense about it too, like if I don't eat something for dinner, I'll be really hungry before bed. Knowing that, skipping dinner never feels like a good idea. I also consider nutrition, but only in a general, "Maybe I'll add a little protein to that" or "I haven't had much calcium yet today" sort of way. I tend to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, plus a snack or two, but I don't actually track or have rules about what I eat. I gut-brain it.
Yeah, it's kind of hard to describe! I would be interested in hearing how anyone else makes food decisions, how you balance structure with the flexibility to choose what sounds good.
I relate to not wanting novelty in the morning, @Joyce. Every morning, I'm like, "Cereal it is!" 😀 I do like vegetables in the morning, but only cold, sweet, and drinkable ones in my fruity smoothie. I recently started putting a scoop of vanilla protein powder in it too, which makes it sweeter and thicker as well as more substantial.
@ryogi There's nothing wrong with considering general macros or balance, especially as it relates to satisfaction. It only gets weird if the thought process is obligation or fear. I often consider what I've eaten already when thinking about what I might have next or need more of later.
Thanks Skwigg, I love posts like this! It’s so interesting to see how others make food decisions. A big one for me is still considering general macros, Im still stuck on thinking things like “oh no I ate a sandwich and chips for lunch, watch the carbs at dinner!” But I do have to say that i genuinely love veggies, I eat a lot of them at lunch and dinner and this is usually included in my decision making. I used to force them down at breakfast as well until I realized I didn’t like them at breakfast.
This is a great question. I’d describe my food decisions as partially driven by plans, as I want to cut back on decision-making and decision fatigue as much as possible. But I’ve started basing my meal templates on my taste and texture preferences, not to mention what’s good in season. For example, my breakfasts are pretty uniform now bc as it turns out, I don’t like novelty first thing in the AM, and want something kind of bland, with a bit of crunch, some fruit, and peanut butter and/or nuts. So 99% of the time now, it’s protein oatmeal with fruit and PB, which I really enjoy. I’ll change up my oatmeal flavors, and fruit, so I’m not completely monotonous. I used to drive myself crazy making breakfast recipes I’d wind up not eating, since their textures and flavors were too robust for my first meal. But I’d make them because they were high-protein (think lots of egg whites and lean meat). My AM protein crisis was solved through using protein powder, lol.
Lunches and dinners follow a similar template. I notice now that I’m making food tailored to these predispositions, I’m not getting takeout as much these days...As an aside, I love chicken breast as much as most bros, but it needs to be in some kind of sauce or soup for me to eat it.
As for exercise, I have a coach who writes my programming, and that solves my conundrum, lol. It works for me, though I realize it’s not for everyone.
This is pretty much how I make my food decisions too. Things I consider also are what I have in the fridge that needs to be eaten soon to avoid food waste and if I am preparing food for my family, what can I easily make that will make us all satisfied without having to make 4 separate meals. I’m finally getting back into exercise and I’m feeling so good about it right now. I’m excited to go for a walk or run as soon as I wake up. I don’t have to drag myself out there. I come home feeling great and I’m looking forward to the next time I can get out there.