Do You Think You Eat “Normally?”

August 26, 2009 | By | Comments (0)

There's a discussion going on over at Tara Parker-Pope's "Well" blog The New York Times that I find fascinating, and encourage everyone to either check it out or just give some to right here in my comments section.

In her blog post, Parker-Pope links to a definition for "normal eating" that was created by a therapist and eating expert named Ellen Satter, and is included in an insightful piece on the website Psych Central.com.The definition sounds so simple, and includes things like:

"…being able to give some thought to your food selection
so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that
you miss out on enjoyable food."

"…giving yourself
permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or
just because it feels good."

"…eating is mostly three meals a day,
or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way."

"…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."

"…overeating at times, feeling stuffed and
uncomfortable."

Obviously, I say that the definition sounds simple because many of us know that somewhere along the way, between societal pressures, body image issues, and struggles with weight loss and gain, we lose sight of all of this, and get way off-track.

So, instead, we diet or we over-indulge, we are wracked with guilt about dietary 'slip-ups', we use food as a source of comfort, or to ease boredom, or in a host of other emotional crutches. In short, we lose sight of the general concept of "normal," however malleable that word may be.

Personally, I notice that I have many (most) days where I am definitely "normal" but sometimes (especially in the face of certain foods or situations or emotional challenges) do revert to less healthy ways. It's my job to try to track those foods and situations and work through/around them. (Read: I cannot keep DORITOS in the house when I'm stressed out!)

Of course, I have to note that "normal" is an entirely slippery, variable concept and will be different from person to person… and so I'm just wondering how you define 'normal eating'? How/when you were able to achieve this state of equilibrium, and what has it done for both your body and mind?

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