What is normal eating

Posted by Jennifer Campoli on November 5th, 2010
Filed under Body image, intuitive eating | 4 Comments »

Afternoon friends. A very happy Friday to you!

This guy says so too!

I am a happy camper today. I haven't worked out in 7 days. Repeat: 7 days. My cold is done. The sun is coming out and I feel really, really good. You see, my body spoke a message loud and clear to me this past week: SLOW DOWN! Rest, sleep, nourish, rest, sleep and just be well.

I fought and fought not working out at first. I needed that sweat. I needed to feel my heart pump. But every day that I put my workout clothes on (and I did for the first 4 of them) I would find myself sitting on the couch. No energy. Feeling truly fatigued. And after about 5 minutes of debate I would walk back into the bedroom, take off the workout clothes and proceed to put my flannel pj pants back on. :)

My body spoke, I finally got out of it's way and listened.

I needed recovery.

But now I'm back! :)

What is normal eating


I have met twice with a sports nutritionist here in Boston.

Why? I have been redefining my relationship with food and my body for over 2 years now. I have found balance. I have found moderation. But I still begin each day with eating to lose weight. Not intentionally. But it's a part of my brain. It's simply what I have known for the past 15 years.

Let's calculate that.

For 15 years, 365 days a year, 3 meals a day. That is over 16,000 meals that I have approached with the mindset of losing weight or changing my body. That's a lot of meals folks.

So here I am. Not looking to change. Only looking to grow. Looking to create a stronger body. Looking to keep healing my body after years of demanding too much.

How do I do that? I need some support.

Things I do know: I eat only when I'm hungry. I stop when I am satisfied or content. I eat anything that my body asks for.

I now know that hunger isn't just a rumbling tummy. No… for me it's moodiness, tiredness, irritability, even slight dizziness. It's walking up a flight of stairs and feeling a deep sense of weakness in my legs. I listen and my body and I are much better friends now. We still have a lot to learn but we're getting there.

So yesterday I found myself chatting away with the sports nutritionist about "normal eating." She asked if I could define it in my own terms.

I couldn't. I still didn't know.

She placed a piece of paper in front of me that I poured over for the next 10 minutes. I'd like to share with you what was written on that piece of paper:

What is Normal Eating? By Ellyn Satter, Associates.

  1. Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored- or just because it feels good.
  5. Normal eating is three meals a day, or four or five- or it can be choosing to munch along the way.
  6. Normal eating is leaving some cookies on the plate now because you know you can have some gain tomorrow- or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful.
  7. Normal eating is overeating at time; feeling stuffed and uncomfortable- or it can be undereating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes.
  8. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.
  9. In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.

What sticks out for me….

Normal eating involves trusting your body and knowing that your body has all the wisdom to care for you.

…it involves freedom. A freedom to be, to decide, to make mistakes. The freedom of knowing that your body will guide you.

…it is not perfect.

…it  does not include purposeful restriction. Nor does it include purposeful bingeing.

…it does include overeating at times for every reason or no reason at all.

Now, what sticks for you with this? I would love to hear your thoughts friends as this is a topic I LOVE love love to learn about.

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4 Responses to “What is normal eating”

  1. eml says:

    Wow. Just found your site from Caitlin's. I need this. I think I will print it out or write it out…more thought into to it.

    Sadly, I know it won't change anything for me immediately (I've been binging for so painfully long and hate myself for it – the way I feel and what it does to me physically)…I always feel like it's much too late to ever start over…

    But, maybe one day, I can follow true to this.

    Thank you.


  2. Jenn says:

    Hi girl,

    I'm so glad you found this and I'm even happier to know that you will have it printed or written out as a slow reminder/encourager of what can be. I know exactly how you feel in that world of bingeing. I truly, truly know. But believe this: you can change that! I promise! Feel free to email me if you ever want to chat. :) (((hugs)))

  3. Karen says:

    Came by from Fitblogger. I wrote a very different definition of normal eating not to long ago. Probably our differences come from where we each are with our eating. I think the trust thing is a definite problem of mine. I'll be reading more:)
    Karen´s last [type] ..Track Star Wanna Be

  4. Hey Karen!
    This is what I love most about wellness…every person has a different view/take on what is good for them. Our definition of eating and health are absolutely influenced by where we are in our journey. :) Share more and thanks so much for coming by!

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