Dieting can easily obstruct our internal cues, and interfere with our ability to eat “normally.” But what does “normal” eating even mean? Is there a “perfect” way to eat? How does “normal” eating fit in with intuitive eating?
Written by Ashley Seruya, B.A.
Normal eating means flexible, balanced, and varied eating. Normal eating is not perfect! Normal eating means overeating sometimes and under-eating others; eating exactly what you crave at some meals and missing the mark at others. Normal eating is intuitive, and intuitive eating is NEVER perfect. Normal eating is eating intuitively, and making room for when life gets in the way. Normal eating is eating an early lunch even when you’re not hungry because you know you won’t have another chance until later in the day. If you find yourself trying to be a “perfect” intuitive eater, you’re falling into a diet trap, and there IS another way!
Normal eating is what intuitive eating can bring you. Once you relax your food rules and give yourself unconditional permission to eat ALL foods, food becomes just that… food. That’s when a normal relationship with food can take over!
Check out intuitive eating expert 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.”