Rules to Eat By

By Darren Floro-Bryant

Growing up, I was a chubby, awkward kid; I was constantly made fun of for my weight by friends, family, and strangers. That stuff really sticks with you. But now, many years later, I often get asked about my diet and what I eat to stay fit.

It’s hard to navigate what will work for each person. Everywhere you look, there are weight loss solutions, fad diets, pills, chemicals, gadgets, and scientific proof telling you how to lose weight, gain weight, tone up – you get the point. But rarely do any of them help deal with the underlying issue: your mental health. 

For me, it’s pretty simple: I eat what I want when I want. That might be an oversimplification. The tricky part is knowing what I eat will do to my body and how it will make me feel. It is also important for me to understand what my energy expenditure will be for the day. 

The bottom line is that I try to make healthy choices daily. Here are a few simple options you can change right away to start making things *easier (*I say “easier,” but it is still work; it is still a very conscious choice you have to make every single moment of the day, no matter what anyone says). 

• Does it come in a box or a wrapper? Cut out as much processed food as possible. 

• Does it come from a plant? Eat your veggies and fruits even when it’s “tough to swallow.”

• How much do I need? Pay attention to your portion sizes, and think about what activity you will be doing that day.

• When did I last have some water? Drink more water, even if it’s one extra glass a day, until it becomes a regular habit, then start drinking more.

Some people say they are different, but, in truth, they are not. These four guidelines are true for everyone.

So is this a diet, or am I changing how I eat? It can be difficult either way you look at it. And I’m not always successful. But I’ve learned not to beat myself up over it. That has taken a long time to do, and I still struggle. 

I understand these are simple ideas that you have probably already heard. And if one day you mess up with one, two, or all of these things, there is a new day in front of you to try again. Yesterday’s “slip up” is not an excuse to abandon today. It is work, and you are worth working for.

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