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What does "normal eating" mean to you?

Posted: Jul 20, 2017


There is no such thing as a perfect diet or eating pattern. There are no “good” and “bad” foods. Remember to stop yourself from taking an “all or nothing” approach to eating because this can be incredibly difficult to sustain and it’s usually accompanied by negative emotions and thoughts. For example, feelings of guilt or shame when you indulge, or feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed when you’re trying to eat “healthy” foods all the time. Developing and maintaining a positive relationship with food in our society today can be easier said than done. When clients, friends or family members are struggling with their eating habits, I often refer them to Ellyn Satter’s (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Family Therapist) definition of ‘normal eating’. Have a read and hopefully it will help you have a positive outlook on eating….

“Normal eating is going to the table hungry and 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 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. 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 mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. 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. Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be undereating 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 hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.”

  • - Ellyn Satter


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