When very young children are faced with tables of food, from candy, cakes through to healthy eating options - (without healthy eating guidelines or adult supervision) initially they may overeat on all the so-called 'bad' foods but over time, all children make selections that lead to them eating healthily. The body is infinitely intelligent. When we follow IT, instead of telling it what a diet thinks it should eat - over time, the 'bad' foods loose their allure and over time it self corrects and asks for healthy foods. And over time as we become progressively more body-wise our eating corrects itself and our body settles into our natural size - whatever that size is!
Healthy Eating Guidelines for many people mean 'what' is nutritionally healthy. Well that's a real minefield because in between all the controversial nutritional advice out there - who knows what is really really true? Except your individual and unique body whose entire purpose is to keep you healthy.
What I want to share with you are about healthy eating guidelines revolves around the psychology of eating.... like for example:
• How do we develop food phobias, food obsessions and cravings? Fact is as small children, we didn't have those. We ate with joy. Eating was a happy event - until our environment made it a stressful one. Until we were coaxed and bribed and threatened to eat more than we wanted, or not to make a mess. We loved eating and would savor food until something in our environment paired it with something stressful. And once we started to diet, we became much more obsessed with food and we started craving all the things we couldn't have. So, another eating guideline is not to start restricting and depriving what we can eat in the first place.
• what happens to our eating when we make carrots and carrot cake psychologically equal?
I'd definitely recommend that you adopt a eating guideline that doesn't make carrot cake psychologically more desirable than carrots. I'm not saying there isn't a nutritional difference...but I am saying that what we can't have is what we want - it's just the way our brain is wired. You won't crave carrot cake if it's as psychologically available to you as carrots.
• what happens when we are eating with guilt or when we are stressed?
Your brain doesn't know the difference between what is real and imagined. If you're feeling stressed (and guilt is a stressful emotion), your body constricts your digestive processes, shuts down other non-essential processes and preferentially diverts energy to the arms and legs as it prepares your body to flight, take flight or freeze. I think you'd all agree that our bodies can't possibly process food as effectively when we're stressed. And isn't that why, when you're stressed, you often feel like you have a lump in your throat, almost like your body doesn't even want to take food in? Well - in this case, if you aren't able to control your stress - then a healthy eating guideline would be not to eat when you're stressed. So stop stressing about every calorie and every micro-nutrient that goes into your mouth.