January Rules


I’m not hugely into “New Year’s Resolutions,” but as the calendar flips, I can’t help but reflect upon how things have been going, and how I’d like them to go in the future.

In the past few months, I’ve sort of drifted away from my three eating rules (which also happen to be the foundation of this site).  I’ve become a bit lax about following them myself, and it’s time to re-invigorate.

For a quick refresher, here are my rules (also, please check out my “Start Here” section for further explanation):

  1. When you eat grains, eat only 100% whole grains.
  2. Don’t eat high fructose corn syrup.
  3. Don’t eat hydrogenated oils, trans fats, or anything that’s been deep-fried.

There’s also an important corollary: Once a week, go ahead and “cheat.” Eat anything you want.  (If you’re trying to lose weight, I suggest limiting it to one weekly cheat meal. If you’re trying to maintain your weight and health, you may choose to have a cheat day. It’s up to you.)

These rules aren’t perfect, of course, but I think they give you a lot of “bang for your buck” in terms of having only three absolute rules to follow. It’s simple and effective. Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is important, too, of course, as is limiting other added sugars (not just HFCS).  They also don’t address the need for physical activity, the other half of the health equation.  Even so, I believe that everyone who follows these three rules will be far healthier, leaner, and happier.

Quite a few folks have asked me what challenge I’m going to issue for January, so here’s what I’m thinking:  Come January 1st, I’m going to start following my eating rules again, absolutely, for the entire month (and beyond)… and I want you to join me.

(I’m also pledging to get back to the gym… cliché, perhaps, but important nonetheless!)

I’ve asked a few friends to participate publically — Michelle, Jayne, Kimberly, and Rene — and they’ll be sharing their experiences in a few guest posts throughout the month.

I invite you to join in! Just leave a comment below, and commit to following my three rules (plus the cheat meal, of course), for the month.  It’s that simple.

I’m optimistic that these rules will be helpful for you — and I’m hoping by the end of the month you’ll have some good feedback about how it all worked out. Will you want to continue eating this way? Would you change anything about the rules?  So let’s try this experiment together, and see how it goes. Cool?

(I’m also looking for a few more guest posts to share throughout the month, so if you’d be interested in writing about it, please let me know.)

Photo by bubbo-tubbo.

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January 2, 2011 3:41 pm

Sweet. I’m in. Flabtacular. Looking forward to exercise rules!

January 2, 2011 12:48 am

I’m already missing two days, but I am on board as of Monday.

January 1, 2011 12:19 pm

I’m in. Missed today as I just got back on ‘Eating Rules’, but really didn’t do bad today. But tomorrow. . . full force January challenge.

December 31, 2010 5:01 pm

I’m in! I did your last challenge and was almost 100% in it! My goal is to be 100% (except for that cheat meal!) in January!

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2010 12:49 pm

I’m in! I already try to stick with 100% whole grains, avoid HFCS and avoid trans fats and the like. I’m gonna add sticking to my minimum 3-day a week gym goal (which is tough with 4 kids). Also we are gonna continue “meatless Monday’s” and try to add more fruits & veggies!

December 31, 2010 10:28 am

Great! What simple, attainable goals! I’m in! Now, how to not miss pasta!

December 31, 2010 10:15 am

Sign me up! And I’m going back to the gym!

December 29, 2010 7:33 pm

Hi Andrew, I was actually going to do January Unprocessed for myself. I’ve had so many sweets things this month, I definitely to get back on my health track and eliminate refined sugars and flour. I am in on this challenge with you! Also, would love to guest blog.

December 29, 2010 7:30 pm

I’m up for the challenge… I’ve already gotten rid of most of the HCFS in my cupboards and the bad oils — agree with some others that only whole grains will be the toughest. I think one of the greatest benefits will be increasing the mindfulness of what’s going into my mouth.

December 29, 2010 4:19 pm

This would be something I could do.