The Art of Being a Normal Eater

Which of the following women is a “normal” eater?

  • To celebrate, Paula goes out to dinner after work and chooses her favorite:  fettucine alfredo.
  • At a family picnic, Karen samples her aunt’s famous blueberry crisp, decides to have a slice, then goes back for more.
  • Hungry for an evening snack, Ellen deliberates, then opts for oatmeal cookies and milk over an apple.

If you said they’re all normal eaters, you’re right.

Surprised? It may seem like each woman is setting herself up for a binge.  But take another look.  In each scenario, the woman chooses, decides, deliberates, opts, taking her wants and needs into account before actually eating. Paula chose based on hunger and emotions; Karen decided she liked the pie and mindfully enjoyed it; Ellen realized by day’s end that she was short on protein, so milk and cookies was the more nutritious choice.

Normal eating is sometimes eating for emotional reasons, having more than the recommended portion size, or choosing cookies because they go well with what you need health-wise.

Normal Eating is also about how you react to your eating

Perhaps even more important than the eating itself is your reaction to what you choose to eat.  With a dieter’s mentality, Karen might have judged her eating, then reacted out of guilt by hitting the ice cream store on the way home for a gallon of fudge ripple chip.

Normal eating involves acceptance, eating for pleasure, and trusting yourself.  Only then will you begin to know what is appropriate (and normal!) for you.  Next time, Paula may choose the grilled chicken, Karen may pass on the crisp if it doesn’t taste good, and Ellen may have the apple if that’s what her body needs.

More Thoughts on Healthy Eating

It’s a difficult concept to grasp, we know.  And it often takes some preliminary steps to get there, if you’ve been dieting or restricting your eating for a while. But Green Mountain at Fox Run’s Normal Eating Program (with classes such as “Exploring Normal Eating” and “When Is Cake the Best Choice?” led by president and co-owner Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD) is an ideal way to finesse this crucial life skill.

Here’s to the freedom of choice that normal eating offers!

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