When I think about a normal relationship to food (which I call a relationship that is usually straightforward by the rules of diet culture), I think of roommates I used to live with when I was younger.
I had problems with my body image, I was always jealous of the girls I was living with. Unlike me, they had healthy relationships with food: they ate when hungry and left food on their plates when they had enough. They did not step on the scales … not at all. They ate what they wanted and what they enjoyed: spaghetti and meat sauce, brownies baked by one's mother, a bowl of ice cream. To my knowledge, my roommates did not feel guilty about anything they ate (and if they did, they never talked about it). I do not think they ever counted calories, restricted food or diet. When I talked to them about my food, it was difficult for them to talk. I do not think that thoughts of diet or body image did not occur to them at all, or at least not in any way persistently. I remember one of my roommate left half-eaten bags of sweets in her room, and I wondered how much she did not feel the urge to plow everything at once the way I did, or at least how to resist every urge, as if I had to do it. My roommates have just eaten, and that was normal .
And when I say "normal," I just mean making decisions about food that comes from your own feelings, desires, longings, and needs. contrary to external rules.
This, many years later, after became a dietician and lived and learned, here is what I know: Normal food has everything to do with our relationship to food and nothing to do with our actual diet Diet. Every diet is different, but normal food is not the food we choose, it's how and why. Normal is not the same as healthy or a version of "calories in calories". It does not mean eating tons of vegetables or following "official" dietary recommendations. It's about our emotional relationship with food and eating.
"Normality" can be a strange, subjective concept. What I'm talking about is what you see in healthy babies and young children. After all, we are born normal eaters. If you ever watch a baby or toddler eating, they decide what they want and only when they are hungry. When they are full, they stop. They listen to their body and eat accordingly. This behavior is innate, but many of us lose their connection as we grow older due to external influences. It sounds strange, but if you're a chronic dieter, you may not even remember how to eat according to your inner instructions. After we had flooded diets for years and are afraid to take care of the food, we develop fear, guilt, shame, suspicion and fear for food and eating. This affects our perception of what is normally food.
People who have had a restrictive diet with long rules have often lost their natural hunger and fullness because they rely on calorie counters, schedules, food schedules, and appliances. Tell them when and how much to eat.
They admit what and how they believe they eat, to influence what their bodies tell them to eat. And to put it bluntly: I do not believe that individuals are to blame for their eating habits, or they should be blamed for somehow not being "normal". And I do not mean to pathologize or criticize what is not what I call normal. (It's hard to talk about using words that are inherently valuable, so I want to make it clear what I mean.) We all do the best while being totally flooded with messaging, as we 19659011] should eat.
I talked to Kim Tanzer, MSW, RSW, a Toronto-based psychotherapist and owner of This Messy Life about it. She says that when we are dieting, we ignore both our body's hints and the joy of eating: "Losing weight makes it too easy to ignore our body's messages. we overcome hunger or disregard satiation. When we go on a diet, we often sacrifice the joy that brings food to our lives. "
When people hear that I'm a nutritionist, they always say something like," Oh, you really have to have a healthy diet! "But my diet is probably not what people think when they assume that they are healthy. For example, sometimes I eat a lot of cake, so my stomach starts to hurt. If that happens, I'll go ahead without punishing myself for overeating. I understand that a cake fire does not harm my health and I let it go. I am usually a normal eater.
When I'm sad, I tend not to eat much at all. As soon as I'm happy again, my body compensates for the food I did not eat, and I do not even have to try to be overcompensated. And now and then I have a day or two of eating zero vegetables. I'm fine with it: on most other days I eat more than enough of it. I would call this a healthy relationship with food or normal food.
But "healthy" is a complicated, subjective and sometimes problematic word.
I'm not so worried about whether people are healthy or not dieting like I'm with, whether our relationships with food and eating are healthy.
So, what makes normal diet? It's hard to pin down, but I think it's made up of a few different components, some of which are about our eating habits and some of which are related to our attitude toward food and eating. Normal food for me is:
- Eating, when you are hungry and stop when you are full,
- Eating sometimes because you are sad or because you are happy or bored. or because the cake looks good and you are not hungry, but you want something.
- Not beating up on food in a way that is "too much" or "bad" according to diet culture.
- Understand that you are not what you eat and you are not defined by your diet (or weight)
- Understand that food is not the enemy or must be feared or controlled.
- On the trust in your body and your hunger abundance hints
- Benefits of meaningful experiences in relation to food and social interactions, eg. For example, eating local foods when you travel without stressing how many calories or carbohydrates they contain. Engage and learn to trust the wisdom of the body . It allows and respects the ebb and flow of appetite and the choice of food. This ebb and flow means that we are flexible in our approach to food, enabling the enjoyment of food and the appreciation of a healthy body.
Life and mental health are better when we can eat and eat, and the social and emotional aspects around these things. Paying attention to what the body wants and needs is far more important and enjoyable than any diet.