Posts tagged ‘normal eating’
I hope you had a wonderful July 4th Celebration! I spent a fabulous 4 days in our house in the Berkshires, lounging around, eating good food, swimming in the lake, and spending time with my family, including my brother, sister-in-law, 2 year old nephew Gabe and 10 week old niece, Sasha.
I love watching children around food, because we ALL started our lives with a normal relationship to food, aka Intuitive Eating. Then life happens to us, we get older, form ridiculous rules and guidelines, diets happen, and as Gabe would say, Kaboom–“normal” eating goes out the window. So it delightful to be reminded of how human beings truly were meant to eat.
1. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full. Always the simplest and most direct guideline, but often the most difficult (I know it is for me). Gabe would eat when he was hungry and stop when he was full, no matter how much food he had left on his plate. Even if it meant setting him up in his high chair, preparing his meal, only to have him take 1 bite and proclaim himself finished!
2. If you don’t like what you’re eating, stop eating it and ask for something different. It’s amazing how a little boy could put down a sandwich after one bite, say “Yuck” and then ask for what he REALLY wanted. How often have you eating a meal because it was in front of you when you could’ve ordered something else.
3. Prepare. I’m not a mother yet, but if you are or have friends with children, you know it’s all about thinking ahead and preparing. Wherever we went we were armed with a juice box, raisins, animal crackers, or some other snack. Do the same for yourself. Don’t get stuck without the food that YOU like…always prepare!
4. You can always eat again later. I love how Gabe would eat his meal and then an hour later, want to eat again. Does that happen to you? You eat a meal and then you feel hungry, but you say to yourself, How can that be? I JUST ate? Perhaps you had a light meal, you’re catching up for eating less food the day before, or your meal was devoid of fiber, fat, or protein. If you’re body is hungry, eat! Or, you can try drinking some water or tea first, because many times we confuse hunger with thirst.
5. Make eating fun. Watching a child eat is fun, right? Messy, too. But when a child is in the mood to eat, they delight in it. I couldn’t tear a bag of Pirate’s Booty away from my nephew, and I enjoyed watching him eat with gusto. So, enjoy your food!
6. Sharing is caring. I am blown away at how good of a sharer Gabe is. If I asked for an animal cracker, he would take one and place it in my mouth. And then he would keep going, offering me his snacks with a huge smile on his adorable face. So often we (me included) enter this place of scarcity with food. We have to eat fast, fast, fast before someone gets our portion. And, oh no! What happens when I get to the bottom of the bag? Well, the answer is…you can always buy more. Share what you love with others. Except if it’s a tiny square of dark chocolate. I take that all for myself.
So go ahead and bring out your inner child! Not only with food, but with life itself. Go ahead: have fun, giggle, and make a mess!
As we near Thanksgiving in a few days, I am afraid that in the nutrition media-related world we are completely lost on the meaning of Thanksgiving. This time of year produces a glut of articles on how NOT to over-eat, how to resist Aunt Flo’s sweet potato pie, and how to be “good” during your thanksgiving meal. Over and over again, and quite honestly, I’m sick of it.
I’m here as your Nutrition Renegade (my husband is the Corporate Renegade) to say: “STOP THE INSANITY” and to NOT listen to that crap.
In my opinion, if there ever was a time to go crazy and eat, eat, eat, it’s Thanksgiving. Seriously, how can anyone NOT enjoy sweet potato pie, or your mom’s green beans that you’ve been waiting all year to have. I think it’s doing you a disservice. We need to (especially if you’re a chronic dieter or super-conscious eater) drop the airs and just EAT, and ENJOY, and feel satisfied.
Am I telling you to stuff yourself just for the sake of it? No, of course not. Eat until you feel full. And then perhaps eat a little more. I’m here to tell you that Thanksgiving is a day of thanks. To give thanks for the wonderfulness in your life, and for the food that nourishes you. Remember that when someone cooks something for you, they put their heart, soul, and an infusion of their love in that dish. So by eating, and truly ENJOYING (without worrying about calories or the guilt you may have for eating that second slice of pecan pie), you are saying THANK YOU.
I have spent so many Thanksgivings (and holidays) by putting myself on a diet basically the week before in an effort to curtail my eating during these food-laden weeks. I honestly was on a DETOX diet a few years ago and had steamed vegetables for my Thanksgiving meal. That promptly led to me binging at the dessert table. Not so smart, huh. I would OVEREAT in an act of rebellion against my diet. And the whole while, I wouldn’t let myself enjoy the foods that I was eating, and basically bitch-slapped myself for not being more restrained.
So this Thanksgiving, through out the “shouldas, wouldas, mustas, and need to’s” enjoy every morsel of food that you put in your mouth. That’s all I ask. Relish in being with your family, perhaps being back in your childhood home, and the food that is prepared as a gift to you. If you overeat, so what? It’s just one day, and you’ll get right back on track.
Remember the true meaning of Thanksgiving…it’s not about how many calories are in pecan pie. It’s about giving thanks and gratitude for all that you have in your life.
This year will be the FIRST year that I truly give myself permission to eat anything, and everything I want at the table. Luckily, stretch pants are VERY in en vogue!
Tonight I came home from my shift at the co-op and after a small dinner proceeded to totally binge. And I mean binge like I haven’t done in awhile, since before I stopped eating sugar two months ago. Granted, my binge involved healthy foods, not ho-hos, chips, and ding-dongs, but nevertheless it was a binge (out of control eating). Of course this was all done as I was STANDING UP (another one of my personal no-no’s) in my kitchen as I was prepping for lunch tomorrow. It was pretty comical, actually, to see me stuffing my face with cacao cookies and simultaneously steaming broccoli. You didn’t know I was such a good multi-tasker, huh? I knew exactly what I was doing when I was binging. I could have stopped myself but the food tasted too good and I wanted to keep on eating, plain and simple.
Why am I telling you this? For a few reasons. First, it always helps me to “out” myself after a binge. It brings me back to reality and forces me to deal with what just happened. Usually I just tell Matt. Now I have the blogosphere. Second, I want you to know that even though I write a health and wellness blog, that I am a holistic health counselor and an NYU nutrition student, I have disordered eating at times. In fact, out of control and binge eating (especially with yummy sweet things) has been a part of my life for quite some time. As healthy as I might seem, and yes, I am very healthy, I certainly don’t have a halo around my head. And to be perfectly honest, nobody does. And lastly, I want you to know that just because you have a setback, or two, or three, it’s OK. Life as you know it isn’t over (Remember the definition of normal eating, too!) There’s always the next meal or the next day to get back on track. I can’t tell you how many crying fits I’ve had, so many nasty things I’ve said about myself after a binge like this. Of course that only made me feel worse and cause me to binge more. Talk about a downward shame spiral!
My dear friend Yiska of Redefining Diet likened our relationship with food and eating to being on a staircase. If all goes well, we hike up that staircase and make progress towards our goals, whatever they may be (losing weight or not eating dessert for example) However, there are times (like tonight) that we stumble a little bit and fall back a stair or two. But we never fall OFF. There is no “wagon” to fall off or get back on to. It’s just one big staircase that we are climbing, and sometimes we’re up and sometimes we fall. Sometimes we slip up and eat something we think we shouldn’t, and other times we’re right on track. But we always get back up and keep climbing.
I’m proud to say that this binge experience was different from previous ones. Yes, I fell down some “stairs” and ate an entire bag of these chips. OK, let me be honest. It was a bag and a half, also some kale chips, and almost a full container of raspberries. But afterwards, I called Matt into the kitchen, showed him the empty wrappers, and proceeded to smile (my mouth still full of food). “Um, I did something,” I garbled to him. He knew right away, smiled back and gave me a hug. Afterwards we talked about what had triggered the binge (If you don’t have someone to confide in, a journal can be a wonderful friend). In this instance, I think it was anxiety with starting up a school semester, the pressure I put on myself to excel, and the exhaustion I know will come from working a full time job and going to school at night (aka worrying).
But I feel good now even though I am totally addicted to refined carbohydrates again. I learned that just a few days of eating irregularly (filled with breads, chips, etc) can really throw me for a loop. I now know, absolutely and positively, how sensitive I am to quickie carbs and this is the motivation I need to get back on track in order to feel my best. If I learned that lesson from this binge, well, it was worth it. Am I happy that I downed an extra 800 calories tonight? Not particularly. But the fact that I came out of a binge with a smile on my face, still loving myself, is worth its weight in gold. Or, chocolate? No, gold.
Good question, right? What the heck IS normal eating? What does that look like? Honestly, I have no idea. I’ve played around with so many different ways of eating over the years that nothing seems normal to me anymore. Read one magazine and they tell you to eat frequent meals throughout the day. Read another one that same month and they instruct you to eat three meals a day with no snacking in between. Which one is it?
I’ve struggled with the definition of “normal” eating for awhile now. With a history of emotional and some binge eating, in addition to a PhD in dieting, I certainly don’t have the answer to what normal is. After all, I’m still figuring out what works best for me. And since I’ve cut out the sugar and the binges have stopped, does that mean I’m eating normally now? Again, what the heck does normal mean, anyway?
Here’s a definition of Normal Eating, written by Ellyn Satter RD, LCSW, that was absolutely MIND-BLOWING to me. I think you’ll see why in a minute.
“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. 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 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 in your life.
In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your emotions, your schedule, your hunger, and your proximity to food.”
Um, what? You mean…..there really is NO such thing as normal eating? That eating 10 chocolate chip cookies that I really wanted could be considered normal? Or that eating because I’m tired or bored is normal, too? I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this definition and how much it rocked my world when I read it a few months ago. In a way, it took the pressure off of me to be a “perfect” eater (and what the heck is perfect, anyway?). What Satter is saying is that our body knows best. Listen to it. Trust it. Eat how and when it feels good for you at that moment. And give yourself a friggin break once in a while, too.
I hope that the next time you see the buzz words “normal eating” you’ll stop and question what that means, and remember that there is NO such thing as normal. Plus, who wants to be normal, anyway?
What does normal eating mean to YOU?