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.