I was talking to a girl on Instagram, and she told me that food freedom to her would mean to stop playing the game of “Food Tetris”. I read this message, and a light bulb went off in my head – that’s the perfect way to describe the way that I used to view food.
Maybe you play a similar game in your head…
If I had a carb-heavy breakfast like oatmeal, I knew lunch would have to be protein-focused.
If I had a big lunch, I would have to have a small dinner.
If I had pasta yesterday, I would avoid most carbs today.
If I had a banana in my breakfast smoothie, I couldn’t have a second one as an afternoon snack.
It was a game of trying to fit everything together perfectly. It was a game of fake control.
Why fake? Because you will never actually feel like everything is under control if you are the one feverishly trying to grip onto control. Searching for more and more control is a lack mindset – being confident that you are safe and trusting that everything is indeed under control is what we like to call an abundance mindset.
Now, I was seriously lacking – not necessarily in positivity or confidence – but in body trust.
When you’re playing Food Tetris, your brain is essentially declaring that it has to lead the way, do the planning, and calculate everything due to your body’s incompetence. Your body is then left feeling neglected, confused, and disrespected. Doesn’t sound too fun to me!
So why do we get sucked into playing this impossible game, and how do we quit?
A lot of the appeal of the game stems from a never-ending search for control and perfection. The reason why it’s never-ending is because your lack mindset will never be satisfied, and there will always be a new level of control or perfection that your brain aims to achieve.
With food, we believe that we must fit all of the Tetris pieces together perfectly – carbs, proteins, fats, sugar (or not), portions, meal times – or else we’ll spiral out of control. Each day has to be perfect or else we’ll mess up all of our progress from the past few days. If the pieces don’t fit together, then we’ll fall off track and may as well stay there as a binge commences.
Thankfully, this game is majorly flawed and not even worth playing!
When it comes to health, the goal we’re going for should really be a well-rounded average. The human body does indeed require a certain amount of different types of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in order to function and thrive. Thankfully though, there’s some wiggle room within these requirements, and your body doesn’t need to meet each threshold precisely every single day. Additionally, our bodies actually thrive on variety!
Do you know what this means?
There is no one precise formula for how to structure your meals each day, or even each week! In fact, the stress of trying to find, formulate, and uphold said nonexistent formula is undoing the “balance” you’re trying to create (hello unbalanced stress hormones!).
The truth is that:
You can make oatmeal for breakfast and rice for lunch. And if you’re eating with love and intuition, your body will likely tell you that it’s not too keen on carbs for dinner when the time arrives.
You can have half a banana on Monday and 2 bananas on Tuesday – no biggie!
You can eat a big lunch and a big dinner, just because your body told you it was hungry for that amount. Yum!
Food Tetris is a game of rigidity, control, and guaranteed failure. Your body on the other hand is a work of flow, trust, and inevitable success. The two simply don’t mesh and never will.