Monday, July 25, 2011

Rules to Live By

Rules to Live By by Kathy Atkinson

The other day someone asked my how I stayed so thin. Well, thin is a subjective term that I wouldn’t necessarily apply to myself, but I have managed to stay at the same comfortable weight for 30+ years (with minor fluctuations in that time). How do I manage to stay the same weight? I have Food Rules that work for me.

One of the “rules” that you hear all the time is that you need to eat breakfast in order to lose weight and stay thin. Recently I heard even more specifically that you need to eat 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up to rev up your fat burning. Possibly, but that is not happening in my world. I have discovered that I don’t need to eat breakfast and in fact “I don’t want to eat breakfast” until I have worked out, showered and had time to get hungry…usually around 10-11 am. That works for me. I have discovered that if I eat an early breakfast, it revs up my appetite and I am hungrier all day and tend to eat more. My rule for breakfast is to eat when I am hungry and when I feel ready to eat.

I have also learned over the years that I don’t feel good if I eat after 6 or 7 pm. My food needs to be digested before I go to bed. I also put on weight if I eat late in the evening. I typically like to eat around 4-5 pm and I only need to eat 2 times a day since I am not very tall and don’t need a lot of calories. If I would eat 3 meals a day or the 6 smaller meals that are talked about these days, I would put on weight. My rule for the evening is to be finished eating by 6 pm. Of course that doesn’t always happen, but I feel better when it does. (And, interestingly if I eat late at night, I wake up really hungry.)

I also have rules for the sweets that I eat and high caloric drinks that I consume because the rules work for me, not because I am trying to “control my weight”. The rules I have developed over the years help me to look and feel better. I have learned that too much sugar makes me feel bad.

What rules have you created in your life that work for you and wouldn’t necessarily work for anyone else?

Another area I just began exploring is around my Money Rules. I have never had money issues and I was wondering what rules I have in place that keep me from living paycheck to paycheck. Here are a few things I discovered.

I had a paper route at the age of 10 so I got accustomed to having money at an early age and was able to spend it freely at the local candy store. My first rule of money was “I expect to have money.”
My next rule around money came when I was in high school and I decided that I wanted a job/career that was high paying so I would never have to move back home. So rule number two is “I expect to have a high paying job”. (This one was really strong, so it might be considered more of a vow I created, but it works the same as a rule.)

After I got married, my husband and I would each take about $50 a week for spending money and deposit the rest in the bank. On occasion we would do something out of the ordinary and we would be out of money before the next pay check. (This was long before ATM’s.) When this happened, I would catch myself saying “I don’t have any money.” Not a good statement to make if you understand that you get what you focus on and talk about. I made a “rule” to never be without money and always have a few hundred dollars in my purse and a few thousand dollars in my house, so I would never again use the statement “I don’t have any money.”

Are you telling the Universe on a regular and consistent basis that you don’t have any money?

I also have rules about paying bills as soon as they arrive. I pay credit cards off in full. I pay cash for cars and I don’t spend ever cent I make…I save money.

Take some time to explore the rules you have set in place for your life. Are they truly your rules or someone else’s rules that don’t really support who you are? If you want to be your ideal weight, you need Food Rules that work for you, not someone else. If you want control over your finances, you need to adopt Money Rules that work for you.

A client once asked me about how I paid my bills, once a month or as the came in. I pay them as they arrive. My client was told by an expert that she should pay them one time a month, but she was experiencing losing them and forgetting to pay them, so that rule wasn’t working for her. That would happen to me also if I didn’t pay them as they came in. I like my bills off my plate as soon as possible. That approach might not work for you, but only you know what will work for you to stay on track.

Explore the Food Rules and the Money Rules and notice what is working for you and what rules need to be changed.