…And by that, I mean normal! Did you ever think that food intolerances would be a recurring topic of discussion during a dinner party? Or that revealing that you’re off carbs or only opting for raw foods would be accepted with no questions asked? Each year a breakthrough eating trend comes along, produces great results and BANG!…we can’t resist trying it. Disclosure of individual intolerances, in particular, seems to be rather fashionable recently. I remember last year when everyone claimed to be wheat intolerant. Because everyone and their mother stopped eating wheat, I decided to follow suit. Please bear in mind I have never done an intolerance test, nor have I experienced any unpleasant symptoms after consuming wheat. That all lasted about 8 months or so…there’s only so many times I can turn down
bread (sorry, Spelt doesn’t cut it :)). And plus, I hadn’t noticed any significant weight loss or health benefits.
When it comes to our eating behaviour, the media doesn’t really help restore normalcy. Instead it promotes the notion that restriction within our diet should be commended and that the idea of eating a whole piece of cake ‘just because’ should conjure up feelings of guilt, and that your willpower is dwindling. If you look back at the way our grandparents ate and viewed food, it’ll seem like we’ve done a total 360. Is it normal to choose one brand over another merely because it has 10 calories less? Is it normal to give up chocolate completely for a few weeks every so often? Is it normal to drink a Diet Coke to suppress your appetite? Is it normal to renounce variety in your diet because the foods you currently eat enable you to maintain your weight? In the name of food, what the heck is normal eating?? That’s a question I’ve asked myself repeatedly, and recently came across this excerpt which sums it up perfectly:
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 in 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, most of the time, but it can also 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 under-eating 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 of your life.
In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your emotions, your schedule, your hunger, and your proximity to food.
Satter, E. (1987). How to Get Your Kids to Eat: But Not Too Much. Bull Publishing.