Sunday, July 18, 2010

What is NORMAL eating?

As I think I mentioned in a previous post, I'm heading off to university next year. Well, as with all eating-disordered, I have spent excessive amounts of time looking at the food selections, the diners, the nutritional values, etc. I came across a page which described "dietary guidelines" and how to eat healthy. And what's great about it all? They didn't evoke the whole "you have to eat 2-4 servings of fruit a day, and 3-5 veggies a day, and eat your whole grains, and avoid all saturated fat and sugar" and yada yada... They approached eating and health with, I believe a much more sane and accepting attitude, which I love.
I must admit, trying to eat healthier again, and recover from anorexia, I am still bombarded with the weight loss articles and healthy eating articles which impose extremely strict guidelines that no one can follow. I don't know about other people, but when I was severely anorexic, I still ate 3 meals a day, small, and low calorie, but still "healthy" in that I would eat fruit and vegetables, and grain breads, and STILL have a small dessert of some type. I never did the whole "Oh, am fasting for the next three days, who wants to join me?" only to binge afterward. I ate regularly and, even 'healthily' in that I ate relatively nutritious foods. My problem (or trick, however you view it) was that I ate low-calorie plant-foods, and never indulged in a binge.
But I digress. I'm just really happy that people are finally promulgating normal, healthy eating, focusing on nourishing your body, on feeling satisfied, and feeling happy with who you are. So, without further ado, I really recommend reading this page, for anyone, whether you are overweight, underweight, anorexic, bulimic, obese, or even normal. It really can help anyone realize that food is just food. It's an inanimate object, that fuels our body, and should not be disproportionately feared or adored. It's just food, there to allow us to live the best life possible, to do whatever we want to do, and to provide satiation and satisfaction.

Of particular interest was this passage:
In the end, it isn't about being perfect with eating; it's about healthy, normal, "good enough" eating. Ellyn Satter, RD, defines "normal eating" this way:

* 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 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 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.

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