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Friday, September 4, 2009

Normal Eating

Going through my normal Daily RSS Feeds earlier in the week, I came across a couple of articles about "Normal eating." The descriptions of what normal eating is did such a wonderful job of putting words to what I have been trying to do with my eating for about 2 years now, maybe more.
Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is 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. 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. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. 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. Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be undereating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.
This is what I've been trying to do!

Weight loss and maintenance has been an 11 year struggle for me, and I think I've finally reached a point where I've found balance and the ability to eat like a "normal" person. In the past, I've been in one of two extremes, either:

  1. Eating "what I want," which meant lots of processed things, crazy binges that embarass me to even talk about (standing in the cabinet eating a whole bag of cookies and not even tasting them), and constantly eating myself to the point of being overstuffed at every meal...
  2. Or, the opposite. Watching every bite, every calorie, low fat, low cal, diet food, Snackwells, Weight Watchers points, etc...

I have been looking for something in between, where I do exactly what is described in the paragraph above. I enjoy food, I eat what I want, I forgive myself for overeating and even allow myself to do it. I exercise to help keep my body in shape, and I ponder what I'm going to eat based on what my body is asking for and what it will feel like after. Food is good, but food is also fuel.

We all know that it isn't healthy to be obese, to be sedentary, or to be a canidate for adult-onset diabetes. However, I no longer think it's healthy to be the opposite either. Trust me, I know all of the diet tricks and I question them from a mental standpoint now. That's why I disklike Weight Watchers these days.

Am I where I want to be? Almost. I've been maintaining a weight I'm comfortable with for well over a year now, but I also would like to lose another 10-15 pounds before my marathon so that I have 10-15 pounds less to carry with me for 26 miles. Will I do it? Who knows, maybe not.

I do eat what I want. I love sweets, and I have dessert regularly. Not every day, but regularly. when I go to a social function, I generally eat what I want without worrying about some of the tricks that I learned in Weight Watchers. I make healthy, nutritious meals and avoid processed foods. I listen to my body. I am not always perfect, but I'm a work in progress and I'm getting there. I feel like I've come a long way from my points counting days, but I could be wrong. Who knows.

As an a kind of unrelated aside, there is another great blog out there that shows photos of people along with their BMI classification (for the record, I am "overweight" by approximately 5 pounds). The BMI Project.

The articles:

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