The best definition of “Normal Eating” I have seen comes from How to Get Your Kid to Eat … But Not Too Much (pp 69-70) by Ellyn Satter, RD (excellent book by the way): “Normal eating is being able to eat when you are hungry and continue eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it – not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to use some moderate constraint on your food selection to get the right food, but not being so restrictive that you miss out on pleasurable foods. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is three meals a day, or it can be choosing to munch along. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful when they are fresh. Normal eating is overeating at times: feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. It is also under eating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life. In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your emotions, your schedule, your hunger and your proximity to food.” I encourage everyone who is looking for that “normal eating” to pause and consider what thoughts came up for you after reading the definition above? What parts of this equation are not balancing for you? If you feel that your relationship with food is not in a healthy balance now then you have taken the first step towards finding that balance by admitting to yourself that your relationship with food/eating is not where you would like it to be. We also need to remind ourselves that each one of us is a unique individual so “normal eating” will also be individualized. There is no “one way fits all” when it comes to eating or our relationship with food. There is so much confusing information and, frankly, misinformation out there that most people I see for Nutrition Therapy in my Ventura office are struggling to figure out how to have a normal, healthy relationship with their eating so they can be at optimum health and physically generally feel good. The next nutrition focused blog will discuss where to go from here.
Putting the Pieces Together (So We Make Sense of Ourselves, Others and Our World)
Lois Zsarnay, LMFT, BCPC, RD
Nutrition Therapy Ventura, California
©2014 Lois Zsarnay, LMFT, BCPC, RD