When it comes to food and eating we often lose sight of what “normal” eating is. Instead, we wrap ourselves up in what the latest diet trends are and turn to others for guidance on what we should be eating and how much.
So what is “Normal” eating? Simply put, normal eating is listening to your body – eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. It’s paying attention to what your body is asking for instead of having your mind tell you what your body wants (it often tells us false information when it comes to our bodies). It is eating without feeling guilty all the time and being open to the fact that what your body wants and the quantities it wants can change on a regular basis. Normal Eating is eating the foods you love and not restricting or binge eating.
To develop your own personal “normal” eating follow these steps:
- Take a small period of time each day (anywhere from 5-15 minutes) where you focus on what your body actually feels like. This doesn’t mean obsess over unhealthy thoughts (such as gaining weight or what your mind is telling you your body looks like). It means try to get inside your body: do you feel hungry or full? Are you hot, cold, shaky, or dizzy? Does a certain part of your body feel more tired or tense than another? You are working to train yourself to understand and notice the difference between what your body tells you and what your mind tells you.
- Jot down what you discover. If you have been out of sync with your body for a long time, you may be out of tune with what it actually feels like, for example, to be hungry or full. Find a place where you can write down how you are feeling and keep track of it for a few weeks.
- As you familiarize yourself and become comfortable with what your body physically feels like, start responding to it. If you are tense or tired take a few moments to practice some form of self-care (ex/ massage the body part that is tense, take a quick moment to breathe and relax, check Facebook or look through photos). If you are hungry, try to eat something. If consuming food is anxiety provoking then practice the anxiety techniques I shared recently right before and after you eat. Remember, anxiety won’t kill you and it will pass.
- When you have done this for a few weeks and have become comfortable with it, expand the amount of time you tune in. Keep doing this until you have a significant part of your day where you are aware of your physical body and are responding appropriately.
Remember, eating normally does not mean gaining excessive weight – our bodies don’t naturally want to carry around excess weight. The more you listen and learn to respond to your body appropriately, the stronger and healthier you and your weight will be.