What is NORMAL Eating?

Erinn Gregory

Erinn Gregory, RDN
Nutrition Educator
NOAH Palomino Health Center

Nutrition treatment is an important part of the integrative treatment team for a patient with an eating disorder. The first step in nutrition counseling is to help the individual ease into a balanced style of eating and a healthy more stable weight. The nutrition counselor is the team member who has the expertise to assess the patient nutritionally, review their normal food choices and help to correct nutrient deficiencies. The nutrition counselor is also the team member who designs a food plan to maintain a healthy weight and support better mental and physical health.

Developing a food plan is a collaborative tool that the nutrition counselor and the individual work on together but it’s more of an approach in the later days of treatment. In the beginning of treatment, it can be helpful to have the individual compare how they eat to what is considered, “normal eating.” You can try it too!

Normal eating is…
• Going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied.
• 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.
• 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.
• Giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad, or bored, or just because it feels good.
• Mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way.
• Leaving some cookies on the plate because you know they taste so wonderful.
• Overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable.
• Undereating and wishing you had more.
• Trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in 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 hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.

Some questions to ask yourself:
1 – What stands out to you as you read this quote?
2 – Does anything here describe your eating behaviors?
3 – What does normal eating look like to you?

Source: Nutrition Counseling in the Treatment of Eating Disorders; Herrin, Marcia & Larkin, Maria; Routledge, 2nd edition. December 5, 2012.

If you or your loved one is suffering with an eating disorder, our Care Team at NOAH are here to help you create and manage your healthy lifestyle habits. Need help setting or sticking to your goals? Call 480-882-4545 today for an assessment to discuss treatment options.

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