48 Comments to
What Is Normal Eating?

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  1. You fat pig! You MUST be punished! If you don’t start restricting, the fat police will wire your jaws shut! 50 lashes for each calorie! Eaters, flagellate yourselves! We need a new flagellants movement to curb the epidemic of abominable gluttony. Parents need to stop feeding their children anything except raw spinach, raw carrots, other zero-calorie veggies, and a few kiwis or grapefruits for vitamin C. Maybe a little fat-free yogurt or skim milk or egg whites or whey for some protein. Plus an iron supplement. Better yet, serve Optifast!

    Restrict! Restrict! Restrict! Restrict! Because Michelle Obama needs her mega-expensive vacation in Spain! AIG, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup need their bailouts! Al Gore and Barack Obama need their mansions! Al Gore also needs his call girls and a top-ranked attorney!

  2. This is a beautiful article on what constitutes normal eating. I think so many of us have lost sight of the big picture and no longer know what is acceptable eating behaviour. This just summarises it perfectly for us.
    As we know our actions stem from the thoughts in our minds, the holy grail to managing our weight is to find out what works for us and this is totally personal. This is where weight management gets tricky as it has to be specially customised to suit our lifestyle and likes and dislikes.
    At the end of the day, it is the beautiful mind that creates the beautiful body.
    As they say, “The human body is the best picture of the human soul.”

  3. People with a history of compulsive eating are often so disconnected from their natural internal controls that they don’t even know when they’re hungry. A primary goal of Normal Eating is to put you back in touch with your own inner wisdom, and show you that you can trust it.

  4. Like many others, I agree and disagree with the definition of normal. First, I agree we need to not obsess about our food. However, we do need to think about what we are putting in our mouth.

    For example, I, like another poster, feel bad when I eat processed food. Therefore, I steer clear of it. However, I can go nuts on fruit and must watch myself that I do not mindlessly eat a pound of grapes in one sitting.

    My biggest struggle is not eating healthy but eating healthy around my parents. My family will eat healthy all year round and spend one week with my parents and we all gain weight. I do not call this normal eating but my parents do it over and over again.

  5. Hi Margarita, that’s an excellent set of healthy eating principles. Everyone has their own particular (and sometimes peculiar) rules they know they need to follow in order to stay off the overeat/diet cycle but I agree these apply across the board. Too bad many people overcomplicate things (often by following advice from magazines or celebrities it seems).

    Personally I would attribute your last rule in particular to helping me stick to a better diet. I’m busier than ever at the moment, which means when I’m done eating I usually dive straight into my tasks leaving little time to dwell on what I’ve just eaten or would like to eat. This makes me think ‘not having enough time’ to stick to a healthy diet is a very poor excuse!

  6. Interesting article, but how do fast and furious over eaters overcome the satiating aura?

    When I am my ideal weight, I treat myself 1-2 times a month a to a food I wouldn’t normally include in my diet. The overweight eater will treat themselves everyday and spout “the diet article I read said to eat whatever I want to eat”.

    I like Dr. Beck’s comment on before meal hunger. When I prepare the next meal I leave the finished portions out, like the salad. As I finish the other portions, I sneak one or two pieces of leaf lettuce.

    The best resolution I have found is exercise before a meal. Boosts the metabolism in another direction. A good 15-20 minute fast walk passes excess gastric juices right on through. Then the meal portions become pleasantly adequate.

  7. What a great post. I love it. A reader sent me over here after I wrote a post on spending a day with a ‘normal eater.’ Good call!!

  8. I love this post ad the definition given. It is so important to promote the idea that “normal eating” and intuitive eating IS possible and that we do not have to give in to the popular diet culture. I have been a normal eater for 4 years and through it I recovered from all eating disorders.

  9. The amount of food taken in depends on a person’s metabolism and his willingness to eat. There are people that would eat a lot, far more than an average man but that’s just him. If he’s comfortable with that, that would still be normal, for him. There are also people that would eat less but still their body can accommodate the energy needed to keep going. Diet what really counts. If you’re used to eat a lot, then it would be very difficult for you to lessen your food intake because you’re used to that. It would take about 30 days to make a habit, which would actually help you to take on a diet. Do not change your diet immediately, let your body understand that you’re going to take lesser food.

  10. I really enjoyed your article. I think it will help a lot of people to get away from a heavy guilt feeling that many may have while eating.

    I love eating, I really love it. I want to feel good as well, so I do have restrictions on what I eat.

    I don’t just want to “enjoy” today, but tomorrow as well.

    What I do is that when I want to eat something that could be a “sin”, for example a cake, I find ways, recipes that make the cake tasty and healthy as far as possible.

    I “hunt” for healthy alternatives. The combination of “good taste” and “health” is at times a challenge, so I try to get as close as possible to it.

    If I do eat something that was a “sin”, I don’t allow myself to feel guilty. I accept the choice I have made, and will “pay” the price by restricting a bit the next day… doing some more exercise and eating healthier the next day.

    This is then not a real restriction, because I choose to do it and I enjoy doing it.

  11. I’m glad I came across this article, Margarita. I really enjoyed it. It goes to the core of my own insights about eating well. I think “normal eating” is a very personal and individual thing: what’s “normal” for you may be abnormal for me, and vice-versa.

    Our “one size fits all” mindset in America rears its ugly head with food. Not only does this destroy our sense of uniqueness, it keeps us from fostering a real and meaningful connection with food.

    That said, “normal eating” for me is any food that gives me pleasure. Healthy or not, if I ain’t finding pleasure in what I eat, it’s not normal.

  12. I believe one of the buzzwords that may be most telling, or buzzphraze I suppose, is “emotional eating.” It seems as though what you’re referring to as “normal eating” stands in direct contrast to eating for emotions. There’s certainly nothing wrong with having a piece of cake now and then, or a slice of pizza – in fact, doing so now and then would probably fit very nicely in the “normal eating” parameters – but when some of the unhealthier foods feel “necessary” on a regular basis, particularly as a response to a daily or near daily event, that may well be indicative of a problem. There is no question to me that food is addictive to some, and when it is then that is when “normal eating” becomes a difficult thing to achieve regularly. I believe this is because of the way the mind has been trained to view food, and to be able to eat normally, comfortable, healthfully, and occasionally decadently again the mind would need to be retrained…Just my thoughts, thanks for the article.

  13. Wonderful article. I spend many consultations with patients helping them to get back to a ‘normal’ way of eating.

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