If you were asked if you were a “normal eater,” what would that mean to you? Could you answer yes? Would you say no? Could you respond at all? This may seem a direct and simple question, but the answer may not be so obvious. Many meal plans out there seem to assert that perfection is the only way to a healthy lifestyle and your ideal body. But perfection, as it pains many of us to admit, is never truly an option.
Ellyn Satter, a well-known Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, defines normal eating beautifully. To paraphrase and summarize, her definition can be interpreted to mean that normal eating is a combination of listening to your body’s cues, and allowing your intuition to drive you. Normal eating is recognizing what the signals mean, but recognizing how well you listen to them does not directly correlate to your worth as a human being. To quote Ms. Satter, normal eating 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.”
In our culture, we receive mixed messages surrounding food constantly. But I maintain that food is to be enjoyed – and how lucky we are that it can also do miraculous things for our bodies. It is true that for optimal health it is wise to exercise portion control, and consume mostly nutrient dense foods. And it is true that overindulging in certain foods may lead to health complications. But we cannot expect perfection from ourselves, nor should we try. The stress that accompanies trying to adhere to a "perfect" way of eating will most definitely negate any benefit one might get from excluding any food.
I often ask clients – “Why are your health goals important to you?”. Frequently, the response is something along the lines of wanting quality of life. If your health goals are important to you because you want to enjoy life thoroughly, it is nonsensical to make yourself crazy with highly restrictive diets in the hopes of becoming a “normal eater”. As it turns out, a part of normal eating is eating what sounds good sometimes, even if it doesn’t seem to align perfectly with your goals. If your goal is to be happy and healthy, you are on the right track.
*For the full answer to “What Is Normal Eating” by Ellyn Satter, visit http://ellynsatterinstitute.org/hte/whatisnormaleating.php
*As seen on headtotoewellness.weebly.com
This site is all about spreading the truth about the food the fuels us through interpreting evidence-based research. But sometimes there's stuff Samantha wants to talk about in a more relaxed way. All the information on this page will still be based in science, and will never subscribe to fad diets or unattainable extremes. Check back frequently!