Food Rules Form Before Age of 10

How many food rules did you learn before age 10? Food rules guide our conscious and subconscious drivers or reasons for eating. And this is one of the reasons why Eating for You focusses on habits, rather than food.

Three children eating icecreams food rules before age 10

What are food rules?

By food rules, I mean the things that were spoken about,

As well as the not so obvious associations that were formed with food.

Obvious rules

In my own family, there were a number of rules too.

  • We said grace before we ate.
  • We had to eat everything that we were given to eat.
  • We couldn’t have dessert unless we ate our main meal.
  • We couldn’t leave the table until we had eaten everything plated for us.
  • We had fish and chips on Friday nights and a roast meal on Sundays!

I love sharing the story about my sister on the night she wouldn’t eat her green beans.

I believe she had to sit at the dining table by herself for an hour or more.

But she still didn’t eat her beans!

My parents grew up during the depression years,

So I understand why food wastage was not allowed.

And I agree that food is precious and not to be wasted.

However, how could my parents know how much food we needed to eat to satisfy our physical hunger?

They couldn’t.

Good and bad sign food rules form from this

Not so obvious rules

The not so obvious rules form when food is used to reward or soothe.

The words I remember are,

If you are a good girl, I will buy you an ice-cream, a soft drink, or lolly.”

“How about a sweet to take away the pain?”

And if I was upset, because I had fallen over

“How about a sweet to take away the pain?”

And of course, I said “yes”.

Now I don’t blame my parents for the rules that I grew up with,

They had our best interests at heart.

And they were not trained in food psychology!

How food rules impact our habits?

The food rules we learned as children, and the ones that we have learned since, from friends and fad diets, consciously or subconsciously affect what, why, how, and when we eat.

9 Drivers for eating

The Eating for You approach highlights 9 drivers or reasons for eating.

These drivers fuel our eating habits.

#1 Health

#2 Physical hunger

#3 Spiritual and ethical beliefs

#4 Food knowledge and skills

#5 Food preferences

#6 Eating for pleasure

#7 Emotions and stress

#8 Convenience

#9 Body image

The drivers help us to understand our eating habits and how we can change them.

Our food rules can impact on each of these drivers in a positive or negative way.

Lady holding an apple and a donut food rules inform the choices we make

Case Studies

Angie shared in a research interview,

“There has been more stress in my life from food and my body issues than anything external. That has probably given me the most grief in 15 years.

It has probably caused me to cry more than anything. That would be my number one trigger, which is counterproductive.

The whole trying to do the right thing, going on diets and changing the way you eat and exercise to get certain results and never getting them.”

For Beth, her frustration was different.

I don’t have one big thing to change like I don’t drink alcohol so I can’t just give up alcohol, and I don’t have 2L soft drink a day, like some people, so I can’t just give that up.

I don’t eat fast foods or take away foods, and I don’t even buy Thai take away, but I would meet with a friend and eat at a Thai café. So I don’t have one major big thing.

So, I think my main things are portion size but I also do snacking.”

I know that my experience of having food plated for me as a child is not uncommon.

But having to eat everything I was given, regardless of my level of hunger meant that I learned to overeat. I had no sense of how to select an amount of food to satisfy physical hunger.

Becoming a dietitian gave me everything there was to know about health, nutrition, and food, but the steps I took to learn how much I needed to eat led me to create the Eating for You approach.

These stories might sound familiar?

Woman eating a red apple

Transforming habits

Not only does the Eating for You approach help you to identify your main drivers for eating.

The mindfulness-based approach guides the transformation of each habit, one by one, with patience and practice.

It prioritises tuning into your hunger level, as physical hunger is the gateway to understanding your real drivers, or reasons, for eating.

Physical hunger is the gateway to understanding your real drivers, or reasons, for eating.

By focussing on one habit at a time, you can put a strategy in place and not become overwhelmed.

For Angie, she shared with me during the research interview, that she let go of her concern about weight and prioritised her health and happiness.

Beth realised during the Foundations Course, that her overeating was related to boredom eating, and she has the skills now to know the difference between physical hunger and eating through boredom.

And for me, tuning into physical hunger before I eat has become a natural part of my experience of eating.

The Eating for You approach is not a quick fix, but it offers a life long solution to the types of eating habits explained above.

Like to get started?

If you are ready to transform your eating habits, you are welcome to join me in an Eating Habit Profile.

In the free, online call, we identify your main driver that requires attention, and

We create an action plan to get you started with a new way of eating, without overwhelm or false promises created by diets.





7 Tips for Winter Health

Winter health comes from our experience of winter. When you think of winter, what comes to mind?

Your answers will help you plan for a healthy and happy season, as will my 7 Tips for Winter Health!

Bowl of vegetable and bean soup

#1 Foods for Winter Health

Food is medicine, so this is why it is the first of my 7 Tips for Winter Health.

But the way you eat is supported by your other lifestyle choices too!

Mindful eating includes eating with the seasons and Eastern nutrition promotes this too.

Eastern medicine promotes that we eat mostly food that is grown in the region where we live.

This is based on the belief that foods grown in the same environment, have been exposed to the same conditions as us,

Therefore will have the nourishment that we need.

Since foods change from season to season, we eat differently in winter and summer for example.

I am not aware of any scientific research in this area,

But from social and environmental sustainability viewpoints this is a great idea. By buying local you support local businesses. Fewer food miles means it is good for the environment. And another great idea is to grow some of your own food.

Eastern medicine promotes slow-cooked, warm foods for winter health.

Soups, casseroles, and curries are promoted, as the cooking process makes the nutrients more available for us to digest and absorb.

#2 Warm Drinks

Eastern medicine encourages warming drinks as well as foods.

Some of my favourites are:

  • Fresh lemon, ginger, and honey in warm water
  • A sprig of thyme in warm water, and wait until the water is green
  • Lemongrass and ginger tea
  • Chai
  • Chai spice with your favourite milk

Herbs and spices are loaded with phytonutrients, like other plant foods.

These natural ingredients in plant foods help to boost your immunity and reduce oxidation and inflammation in the body.

Cumquats on the tree

#3 Rest and Reflect in Winter

The shorter daylight hours and cold weather promotes an innate desire to rest, catch up on sleep, and reflect.

Unfortunately, our belief that we need to be busy too often overrides our instincts to live with the seasons.

Eastern medicine defines this season, as a time to go within and to connect with what you need for health and wellbeing.

Setting up your day to include time for meditation and extra sleep will support your health during winter.

#4 Move to Keep Warm

Whilst rest is recommended, we still need to move.

By all means, enjoy your relax on the sofa, but don’t forget to get your blood and energy circulating with some exercise.

There are many online exercise and fitness programs available, so you don’t have to venture outdoors when it is too cold.

Take care to choose a program that is suited to your fitness level and health. Ask for guidance from your healthcare practitioner.

Even when it is frosty outdoors, with a few extra layers of clothing, a brisk walk is invigorating.

Snow covered snow gum

#5 The Best Prevention Practice

The statement

Your immunity is in your hands!

Means wash your hands whenever you have been in a public place.

The best way to reduce the transmission of a cold or virus is to wash your hands.

Also, adjust your clothing when moving between indoor heating and the chill outdoors.

Remember to layer up when you are heading outside, and to remove your coat and extra jumper when you are back indoors.

#6 Rest if Unwell

The best way to get over a winter cold or virus is to get advice from your healthcare practitioner and then rest.

Your body will heal more quickly with adequate rest.

To prevent others from catching your illness, stay at home. Also if you need to cough, cough into your elbow to prevent the spread of germs.

If advised by your healthcare practitioner, wear a mask when you are with other people.

#7 Winter Remedies

Just because this is the last of my tips, it doesn’t mean that it is less important than the other 7 Tips for Winter Health.

There is so much noise about miracle supplements, potions, and foods to boost our immunity.

There is some scientific evidence for Echinacea and zinc to help speed up the recovery from a cold, but they have to be taken correctly.

If I had my way, I would remove all non-prescribed supplements from the shelves.

Get advice from your healthcare practitioner, to save your time and money.

Trained healthcare practitioners, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners and herbalists, will make a formula that suits your individual requirements.

When it comes to foods keep them simple and keep them whole!

Vegetable-based soups and casseroles with herbs and spices will support your gut health and immune system.

7 Tips for Winter Health

These 7 Tips for Winter Health, together with your own insights, will make winter a season that you look forward to.

Taking a mindfulness approach means taking time to connect with how your mind-body feels. This information will guide you in deciding when to rest, eat when you and step outdoors to feel a part of this special season.

If you would like more information on mindful eating and living and the Eating for You approach, then you are most welcome to email me your questions here.