Are You a Normal Eater?

A Wholify Blog Post

NormalEating

Are You a Normal Eater?

Think about it. Think about how you eat, what you eat, why you eat.  Do you think you’re a “normal” eater? Does a normal eater even exist?

For people with any sort of disordered eating (overeating, compulsive eating, impulsive eating, emotional eating, undereating, etc.), it is difficult to imagine being a normal eater again…or ever.  Some started with a pattern of disordered eating from a very young age and have no recollection of eating solely out of biological hunger.  Others learn to cope with life’s struggles by using food, but still have memories of relating to food in a healthy way as a child or a young adult.

 

 The Rules of “Normal Eating”

An incredible book that deals with this subject is “The Rules of ‘Normal Eating’” by Karen R. Keonig.  Her message targets people who follow external cues for eating, rather than internal ones; people who have lost touch with their bodies’ attempts at communication with them; people who feel scared and out of control around food.

Being a dietitian, sometimes I think I know too much about food.  It’s easy for me to quickly calculate the amount of Calories in a dish or in a day’s worth of meals and snacks.  I’ve learned the biochemistry of how food is turned into energy (or stored) in the body.  I know the short- and long-term effects of various diet patterns.  Is this a good thing?  It definitely is beneficial to have this knowledge and understanding to be able to help people achieve better health through diet and exercise.  On the other hand, it makes it a bit harder to be a normal eater.

 

Let’s look at the rules of normal eating from Koenig.  According to her, normal eaters:

  1. Eat when they are hungry or have a craving
  2. Choose foods they believe will satisfy them
  3. Stay connected to their bodies and eat with awareness and enjoyment
  4. Stop eating when they are full or satisfied

 

Not-So-Normal Eating

Amazing! It’s so simple, and yet so many of us and so far from this definition of normal.  More of us have a more complex list of irrational behaviors and beliefs.  Koenig addresses these and explains how to replace them with their normal counterparts.  Here are a few examples of some of the irrational beliefs Koenig addresses:

  • There are good foods (that is, low-Calorie, low-fat) and bad foods (that is, high-Calorie, high-fat)
  • I need to be in tight control around food
  • It’s better to not eat and be thin than to be fat
  • Eating is better than feeling emotional pain or discomfort
  • Feeling good or bad about myself depends on what I eat or don’t eat
  • I can’t trust my body to feed itself in a way that keeps me healthy and satisfied

Did you connect with any of the above statements? Did they sound a little too familiar (a little bit like the chatter going on in your head)? If so, don’t be discouraged! There is hope!  Check out Koenig’s book or talk to a registered dietitian to get started on your journey to (or back to) normal eating.

You can be a normal eater!

  1. Eating as a Path to Yoga
    Eating as a Path to Yoga10-08-2011

    Great blog! Hope to read more, especially about mindful/attuned eating & intuitive eating! Blessings!

    • michaela
      michaela10-10-2011

      Thank you so much! That is one of my favorite topics, so there will be more to come!

  2. Stephanie @ Mr and Meatless
    Stephanie @ Mr and Meatless11-14-2011

    This is a very interesting post. I feel like I can relate to both normal and not-so-normal eating patterns, though. It’s funny the relationships we can have with food, how it can be used in so many ways other than nourishing our bodies. Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

    • michaela
      michaela11-14-2011

      Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts Stephanie. It’s common to have some less healthy thoughts and behaviors mixed into the normal ones. Food is rarely just fuel anymore; it plays many different roles. Self-reflection on what food means to you and why is a good starting point.

  1. Michaela Ballmann RD
    Michaela Ballmann RD07-22-2012

    Why Eating Normally is the Best Diet #rdchat #GoUnDiet http://t.co/JFBw7cgP Also listen to my podcast on Normal Eating http://t.co/HTqKrkNB

  2. PATHways to Life
    PATHways to Life07-22-2012

    Why Eating Normally is the Best Diet #rdchat #GoUnDiet http://t.co/JFBw7cgP Also listen to my podcast on Normal Eating http://t.co/HTqKrkNB

  3. Amanda E. Kruse
    Amanda E. Kruse07-23-2012

    Why Eating Normally is the Best Diet #rdchat #GoUnDiet http://t.co/JFBw7cgP Also listen to my podcast on Normal Eating http://t.co/HTqKrkNB

  4. Michaela Ballmann RD
    Michaela Ballmann RD07-30-2012

    Are You a Normal Eater? http://t.co/YVFZ11sS
    #RDchat #wholify #mefirst

  5. Michaela Ballmann RD
    Michaela Ballmann RD11-26-2012

    Are You a Normal Eater? http://t.co/YVFZ11sS
    #RDchat #wholify #mefirst

  6. Michaela Ballmann RD
    Michaela Ballmann RD12-04-2012

    Great post! Here's my take on the same topic: http://t.co/TJC1hw7s @dietitianuk: What is "Normal" Eating? http://t.co/M73qQtO1 #mefirst

  7. Monica Wk
    Monica Wk12-04-2012

    Are You a Normal Eater? – Wholify http://t.co/gZUSmFMq

  8. DreenaBurton
    DreenaBurton12-05-2012

    Solid info in both MT “@wholify: Great post! Here's my take: http://t.co/v5Rbi8kJ @dietitianuk: What's "Normal" Eating? http://t.co/g7cxrGjF

  9. Priya Tew
    Priya Tew12-05-2012

    Great post! Here's my take on the same topic: http://t.co/TJC1hw7s @dietitianuk: What is "Normal" Eating? http://t.co/M73qQtO1 #mefirst

  10. Rebecca Scritchfield
    Rebecca Scritchfield12-05-2012

    Great post! Here's my take on the same topic: http://t.co/TJC1hw7s @dietitianuk: What is "Normal" Eating? http://t.co/M73qQtO1 #mefirst

  11. Dawn Dolobowsky
    Dawn Dolobowsky12-06-2012

    Great post! Here's my take on the same topic: http://t.co/TJC1hw7s @dietitianuk: What is "Normal" Eating? http://t.co/M73qQtO1 #mefirst

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