When I first started to eat intuitively, I struggled. Once I decided that dieting was no longer on the table, I realized that I had forgotten how to eat! Now that I could eat whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, I felt totally disconnected from “normal” eating. I had become so reliant on focusing food around what would make me lose weight or refrain from gaining it, I didn’t even know what “normal” eating meant.
Normal eating is having total relaxation around food, where your choices are based intuitively off what you feel will most nourish you in that moment with zero feelings of guilt, shame or anxiety.
To put it more simply: It is eating in a completely relaxed state. No judgement.
So what does this look like on a day-to-day basis around food and our bodies?
It means not worrying about a portion size or a serving size but rather eating based off what looks and feels right for you in the moment. It means deciding what to eat based off what your body tells you it wants. It means listening to hunger and fullness cues. It means trusting your cravings to guide you. It means freely giving your body the lead in your food choices instead of your weight.
That last one is by far the most important part of “normal” eating. A fear of weight gain or focus on weight loss as your main intention for your food choices does nothing to help you become a healthy eater. It does nothing to help you live a “healthier” lifestyle. It will not give you the control you are seeking over emotional eating (and all eating is emotional).
What it will give you is self-doubt. Self-loathing. Fear of certain foods. Confusion over portion sizes. A disconnect from your natural, instinctual, God-given ability to know what to feed your body.
Let’s not forget, we are animals. Lions, zebras, bunnies and birds do not need to be told what to eat. They do not rely on a blog, magazines, social media, books or friends to inform them how to nourish their bodies best.
Stress and believing we are not good enough are two of the main trigger points for a separation from our intuition around our food. Our belief that we must stay aligned with diet culture’s rules of what our bodies are to look like sends us into a direct retreat from our authenticity. We do not do what we should do…which is to go inwards. Rather, we look to outside sources for redemption. For perfection. To be, “fixed” for “acceptability” in our society.
Normal eating is about trusting yourself to know what is best for yourself. It is about loving yourself through those choices. Not by deciding what you “can’t have” in order to thrive but what you, “can have.” Normal eating is not about “taking out” but about “adding in.” Finding where you can fit in more veggies, not less cookies. Learning how to drink more water, not less soda. The “less” part will naturally be crowded out by the “more” part… not through force but organically!
Normal eating is never anything we take part in out of a feeling of force or should or must or have to.
Normal eating also does not look like yesterday’s eating. Every day our bodies need different amounts of calories to thrive (based of things such as hormonal changes and physical movement variations) and gives us different signals as to what it wants to be fed. This is why eating the same amount of calories or three same foods everyday is absurd. Our bodies do not run in such a predictable manner.
Normal eating is not based off your neighbor’s eating, the movie star’s eating or the woman that you work with. It is not based off your husband’s eating, your brother’s eating or your father’s eating. It looks like YOUR eating. We are all biologically created to adhere to our own distinct bodies needs. Just as our physical being is not exactly like another’s, what we need to feed ourselves is also unique to our individuality.
Normal eating is YOU eating what YOU DECIDE IS BEST FOR YOU in THE PRESENT MOMENT where RELAXATION and PLEASURE around your food is in ABUNDANCE.