Diana Allen, MS, CNS
Once upon a time, people knew how to eat. Now, it's a mystery. There's so much information, and so little sustainability in the current nutrition & wellness environment. What does normal eating look like—without dieting, fasting, overeating compulsively, being on a cleanse, detox program or food plan?
It all begins with regular meals. Once we establish a framework of eating regular daily meals, the body becomes very adept at letting us know what, when and how much we need to eat. When we are not restricting calories or depriving ourselves of particular foods, the brain does not signal us to compensate with overeating and we can become normal eaters.
• A normal eater eats regularly throughout the day, at 3-4 hour intervals on average, at about the same times on most days. Generally, this comes out to 2 or 3 meals, plus a snack or two.
• A normal eater consumes enough food to supply energy needs. Adequate caloric intake is key to maintaining a healthy relationship with food!
• A normal eater respects the body’s hunger and fullness signals, allowing time between meals for the stomach to empty out.
• Normal eaters know what foods they like to eat, and which foods agree with them. These are the foods they choose to consume most of the time.
• A normal eater doesn't follow restrictive food rules or practice deprivation. Food is for pleasure, not punishment.
• When normal eaters get very full at one meal, they naturally will eat lightly at the next. (This goes back to respecting hunger and fullness.)
• Normal eaters rarely disturb their sleep by eating late at night. They go to bed with a comfortable belly, and wake up with an appetite!
If you want to become a normal eater, you can start by playing what I call The Meal Game. Set up a daily guideline for meals and snacks based on your work, school or family schedule. (Times might vary from day to day.) Then, fill in the blanks. For support in creating your own healthy, nourishing Meal Game guide customized to meet your individual needs, contact me!