Hey guys! I missed posting yesterday and getting my blog fix, but it was a l-o-n-g day. It began with a 3 mile run, moved on to 7 consecutive hours at my first official day at my new job, climaxed with household olympics (cleaning up, etc. — my life is sad if the word “climax” is used in terms of cleaning, don’t you think?), then ended with the fumbled intention to do a turbo kick box class and the result of collapsing from exhaustion and sleeping at 8 p.m. Wow, I’m the coolest 25-year-old you’ll ever meet, eh?!
Anyhow! I’ve been itching to talk about and hear your opinions on these two little words for a long time and now seems like the opportune time. The words? Normal eating.
Today The New York Times‘ health blog, taking the question from PsychCentral’s post here, asks: what is normal eating? See here for the NY Times blog post and read all the comments if you’re in the mood for a masochistic treat. So I am going to play a game of let me ask the same question and see how far we can remove it from the original question-poser! What is “normal eating” to you?
The NY Times lists some of the definitions given in the PsychCental post, which I list below with my comments/questions in bold.
- Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. If I were to eat until I was “satisfied,” the scene would probably be far from normal, depending on the day, my mood, the company and a barrage of variables. I can be satisfied eating a very modest and healthy meal if I get the psychic satisfaction of having saved calories and eaten healthily, but I will hardy be satisfied in a competing psychic and perhaps partly chemical or biological part of me that is compelled to eat a lot and eat a lot until there is no physical question of hunger.
- Normal eating is 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. Wait, so is nutritious food not enjoyable? And, by the way, some people think “giving thought” to their food selection is eating a carrot dipped in chocolate with a side of sprinkles. Some people are just ignorant when it comes to health matters and nutrition. Ignorance and falsely believing in one’s consumption of “nutritious food” is a factor to consider, don’t you guys think?
- 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. What? I am confused by this seemingly contradictory statement. Plus, you have to consider the frequency of this occurrence. If someone eats more cookies “now” because they taste “so wonderful” but uses that excuse every day when she orders a platter of cookies from Mrs. Fields, I’m not sure that’s normal. Or healthy. Or whatever. Plus, is it not perhaps a biological impulse to wonder if those cookies really might just not be there tomorrow? Lol I’m just sayin’.
- Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. My stomach doesn’t have a brain. Or maybe my stomach IS my brain. Either way, I really can’t trust my “body” – whoever and whatever that is – to make up for my “mistakes.” I did that once. It resulted in morbid obesity. By the way, I would think “mistakes” as it pertains to eating really wouldn’t have a place in the lingo of a “normal eater.”
- Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life. This is a hilarious proposition given that so many of the healthy lifestyle bloggers I follow seem to devote a MAJORITY of their time to eating, or thinking about eating, by way of food porn, recipes, food logs, etc.
We would need to clarify whether we mean “normal” as it relates to “normalcy” and the “majority” or if we mean “healthy,” “intuitive,” “biological” or “habitual,” etc., etc.
I can still hear my high school AP Psychology teacher indicating that any mental disorder is truly a disorder if it interferes with a quality life and if it interferes with one’s daily life and responsibilities. This was in response to us taking a test of symptoms (are you tired all the time? do you find yourself listless and without focus?) for various mental disorders and all of us finding ourselves with multiple disorders we had never even heard of. Is the opposite of a “normal eater” one with an eating “disorder”?
Part of my biggest issue with “normal” eating, which some also conflate with “intuitive eating,” is that what is normal and healthy (both from a physical and mental standpoint) varies across the personal and cultural spectrum. When it comes to intuitive eating — I (and I can foresee the eye-rolling of R.D.s coming on) think it only would work as a principle in a state of nature. Because eating is highly social in our culture, given that the standard American diet consists of processed and fast foods (that we know for a fact are often manipulated to be addictive or are just plain ridiculous), and given that we also have a culture and media obsessed with body size, I think having any truly “normal” eating habits would be a feat. The eating-for-survival mode that our ancestors had may be the closest remnant of “normal” eating.
I eagerly await your opinions on normal eating! Lurkers, that’s means YOU!
In the News
- Science Daily‘s, “Low-carb Diets Linked To Atherosclerosis And Impaired Blood Vessel Growth” (8/25/09) here
- Calorie Lab‘s, “FDA Looking to Safety of Weight-Loss Drug Sold OTC as Alli” (8/25/09) here
- That’s Fit, “Advice for Sleep Deprived Runners” (8/25/09) here
- Science Daily‘s, “More Obesity Blues: Obese People Are At Greater Risk For Developing Alzheimer’s, Study Finds” (8/25/09) here
- Associated Press‘s, “Plus-size Women Take TV; Fans See Mixed Blessing” (8/25/09) here
- Science Daily‘s, “Twitter And Health Care: Can A Tweet A Day Keep The Doctor Away?” (8/26/09) here
- Newsweek‘s, “America’s War on the Overweight” (8/26/09) here
Give-Away Round Up
- Win a VegNews gift set here
- Win a pair of Gracie’s Gear gym shorts here
- Win a Life Your Sole necklace here
- Win a Zappos’ gift card here
<3, The Cranky One