Thursday, May 31, 2012

Normal eating. Is it important to you?

I want to be a normal eater. It's a thought I've had for more than twenty years. For most of those years, I didn't think normal eating was possible for me.

What is normal eating? I talk about normal eating, but I haven't defined normal eating. Rather than a definition, I have a vision of normal eating: I picture my friend Jessica who can keep an open bag of cookies on her desk weeks. Or Tania who frequently tells me "it's just food." I picture my friend Kristin choosing to eat a plum for a snack, not because it's a healthy choice, but because that's what she wants to eat.

It's not that I want to eat the foods the same foods that Jessica,Tania and Kristin, I want to have a similar attitude and thoughts when it comes to food.

Therefore, if I'm eating like a normal person I will:
  • eat reasonable amounts, most of the time;
  • eat a variety of foods;
  • choose to eat healthy foods because I want to not because I have to;
  • not count calories, points or servings;
  • ignore a bag of cookies on the counter and ice cream in the freezer (but eat a cookie and/or a bowl of ice cream if I really want to);
  • not think about food all the time;
  • not struggle with junk food;
  • not be afraid of feeling hungry;
  • understand that food isn't going to taste great all the time;
  • decide to eat food (or not);
  • not feel guilty if I eat too much food, or not enough variety or not eat enough healthy foods;
  • not gain weight just because I'm not longer on a diet.
That is how I see/define normal eating. As it stands, becoming that normal eater seems like a reasonable, achievable goal now. But all things are not important to all people. Is normal eating important to you? Do you have an ideal vision of the eater you want to be?

This post, like so many posts of my posts was inspired by Munchberry's comment on a recent post, What EDNOS means to me.
I wonder who decides what is normal. I know few normal people and am pretty sure it is overrated. I know few thin people who have food in proper perspective. Proper being that it does not rule some aspect of your life or mind. Even my hubby - who I consider the most healthy in relation to food gets a belly occasionally. His pants get tight, he stops overeating. He lacks my creative self delusion.
Still I would prefer not to be so tangled in my relationship with food. That is what I am looking for. I hate the drama. Since I have been home the drama is back. Very dismaying since I was doing so well before and during my trip. But here I am. Not at square one, but if say - I was on square 20 before I am now on square 7. Sigh. I will be glad when summer is over and temptation to eat out of control is diminished.
Munch, I think you decide your own definition of normal eating. From your comment, I think you have formed your own thoughts on what normal eating is for you, which may or may not be an important goal in your journey. From reading about Mr. Munchberry, I think he fits into my definition of a normal eater.

And I'm with you, in the end, I too want to be less tangled in my relationship with food. After all, it's just food right?

Karen writes about normal eating, including a post called Practicing "Normal" Eating. If you haven't read it, I recommend that you do.


  1. I think I was or am very frustrated with all that is food and me. I would break up with food, but alas...

    I look at your list of what is normal to you and it is exactly what I see as normal. It is true. Those are normal behaviors. I just do not like that I am none of those. Well, hardly ever any of those.

    Sincerely Kara I am... I do not even know the words. I am sane sometimes, but that is only when I am in a controlled environment. Stick me in a party and have someone with a hairy eyeball take their leave to the bathroom and I will have the appetizer table devoured and burp out the table cloth before the return.

    The other day I ate some cookie butter that was calling me from the pantry. I had to violently toss it in the garbage and then pour grease over that so I would not retrieve it and continue to inhale it.

    Whatever mojo I had pre vacation is but a glimmer in my struggling to be normal self.

    Sorry to unload.

    I have read that post. it mirrors your thought - love Karen.

    Ignore me when I get bitchy. Or roll your eyes and write me a nice post. Ahem.

    1. I understand the controlled environment; I'm great during the work week, weekends not as much. I'm looking at the weekends/parties/dinner parties as an opportunity to practice eating, letting go, because without practice, nothing will change.

      Unload away Munch, wea are all here for you. I know your mojo will return. You were away from your home, environment, routines for almost a month. It'll take some time for your tastebuds to adjust and reestablish or tweak your routines. It'll come, stay positive.

      You always have such great insight, if I posted more I could have a Munch-inspired weekly feature!

  2. Glad I happened onto this post today. I wish it was 'just food' and I have struggled all my life with that. I wish I only thought of eating when I am hungry, instead of when I am feeling almost ANY emotion, or when I am tired or cold or not well.

    I wish my Mother hadn't started me on a lifelong habit of eating to celebrate, commiserate, and otherwise use food as a social connector.

    I used to have a male friend who would sit down to the same meal every day and eat only as much of it as he was physically hungry for and could not be swayed to eat one bite more. This amazed me for 2 reasons.. the SAME meal every night because it was his favorite and he liked the taste of it, and that he would NEVER finish the whole thing... just loved the look of that huge steak on his plate.

    Good luck in your quest.

    1. Hey Elle,

      Food as a social connector, yes, I get that one. With varying levels of success, I'm trying to change the social connecting eating traditions with my friends and family. But, it is hard to change a lifetime of eating traditions!

      Wow, he eats the same thing every night because he really likes the taste of the food, but he doesn't eat all of it. That's weird? Yah, I just can't imagine that. At all... Wow.

  3. I have thought about this and blogged about this. I know I do NOT have a normal relationship with food. This became very clear to me in the past couple of years of blogging. I think we can each define our own normal. That word doesn't hang me up, but I know others get caught up in the semantics.

    1. I totally agree, your normal may differ from my normal. I think normal can change as well.

  4. Ŵhat a fantastic post.
    I love all your points, I dream of being able to approach for food with a healthy balanced attitude, I've struggled with it for so long. The relationship I've had with food h as been unhealthy ever since I was in single digits, I s always the child who would eat till she felt sick at parties because I felt deprived, I took food and gorged when I could because my food intake was so heavily policed and you know I've been doing the same thing to myself ever since. Having an unbalanced relationship food feels like a prison at times, I am locked into this messed up way of treating food like everything except simply sustenance.
    I think you're right everyone has their idea of normal, but then I also wonder whether we are searching for this normal because food is this big thing for us, for those people who don't have messed up issues with food and eating its just not there. Balance is key I believe, but balance and me have never really been on speaking terms ;-)

    1. On the radio I heard a Mom commenting about some local proposed food related policy. Basically she said "just tell your child no!" Immediately, I thought to myself, what happens when your children leave the house and the children get to decide what to eat?

      I hope you find a balance that works for you or at the very least, start to food as sustenance. But, I admit, balance is an elusive devil that's for certain.

  5. pretty much summed what it looks like for me, too. I often put it this way: I don't have to control food and food doesn't control me. That said, I've not been in that place lately. But I have figured out why and am feeling more peaceful and more confident that I will be able to get back to my "normal." In the meantime, I am accepting that the extra weight I've put on (and which seems to be all in my midsection) isn't going to go away overnight just because I've stopped bingeing.

    1. "I don't have to control food and food doesn't control me."
      I like it! I have no doubt that you are on your way back to your normal.

  6. Ah yes... normal eating. It's a destination, yet a journey. I like how Ellyn Satter & The Fat Nutritionist define normal eating~

    1. I'll have to check out the Fat Nutritionist's definition, and I like Ellen Satter's definition.

      It's a destintion, YET a jouney. I like that too!

  7. Hi Kara! Oh my, what a wealth of wonderful posts you have here! Found you via Karen. Will have to digest all of this a bit and will be back ... :) (The fact that it is 3:45 a.m. might have something to do with that, too!)

    1. Hi Kerstin, what the heck were you doing up so late? Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog, I look forward to reading your thoughts!


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