I really like Ellyn Satter‘s definition of ‘Normal 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.
So a few things to take from this;
-normal eating is being aware of hunger and satiety signals
-eating foods you enjoy without guilt and shame
-eating mostly nutritious food but having flexibility to include foods purely for pleasure
-being aware of the emotional drives to eat, and allowing for them without guilt or shame
-there is no one ‘right’ meal pattern – eat when works for YOU and your needs
-being able to indulge without the compulsion to binge
-eating to support your energy needs over time – with flexibility to eat more some days and less other days as your appetite and activity dictate
-not obsessing over ‘slip-ups, cheats and mistakes’
-not fixating on food and eating to the degree that it impacts your quality of life
Wow, a lot to put in practice here, but I’m exited to incorporate a lot of these ideas 😉