On this St. Valentine's Day, the counselor side of me would like to remind all of us that we cannot fully love others until we first have a "rightly ordered love of self." In an effort to promote a healthy and integral love of self, I would like to propose a definition of "Normal Eating" that I have found helpful over the years. Many people are unhappy with their physical selves and thus have an unhealthy relationship with food. Hopefully this short definition will serve as food for thought...You may be surprised by what you read :)
Definition of "Normal" Eating
- Normal eating is being able to eat when you are hungry and continue 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 use some moderate constraint on your food selection to get the right food, but not being so restrictive that you miss out on pleasurable foods.
- 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 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 when they are fresh.
- Normal eating is overeating at times: feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. It is also under-eating at times and wishing you had more.
- Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating.
- Normal eating takes some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.
- In short, normal eating is: Flexible and varied, in response to your emotions, your schedule, your hunger and your proximity to food.
Source: Adapted from How to Get Your Kid to Eat...But not too much (pp 69-70) by Ellyn Satter.