Posted by Kimber Harding
June 3, 2015
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The holiday season is quickly approaching and along with it comes parties, family gatherings, and delicious food! November and December tend to be busy months full of celebrations with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Navigating the food environment that accompanies these social events can be tricky for many of us during the holidays and often we leave these events feeling shame with overeating or “breaking the diet.” These times are meant to be enjoyed and are good bonding moments with family and friends and shouldn't be stressful times worrying about food. Many wellness programs focus on not gaining weight during the holidays and implementing harsh “food rules”, but our focus at Healthy Lifestyles is promoting healthy and sustainable eating behaviors through eating whole foods and normal eating for lifelong healthy habits.
A lot of us tend to have “food rules” or a diet mentality, especially during the holiday season. These ideas aren't conducive to normal eating. What are food rules? Food rules are restrictions that we set for ourselves that limit our eating habits. Here are a few common food rules:
- Don’t eat after 7
- I can only eat a treat on the weekend
- Don’t eat carbs
- I can only eat 1400 calories a day
The list of “food rules” goes on and on. While we may not always consider “food rules” to be dieting, they can be damaging to our overall health and are part of a diet mentality. Research shows that dieters tend to gain more weight over time. Watch the video below and find out why dieting doesn't work for lifelong health.
Why Dieting Doesn't Work
What is normal eating?
- Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied.
- Normal eating is choosing food you like, eating it and truly getting enough of it-and not just stopping eating because you think you should.
- Normal eating is giving some thought to your food selection so you opt for nutritious food often, but not being so cautious that you miss out on enjoyable food.
- Normal eating is sometimes giving yourself permission to eat because you are happy, sad, bored, or just because eating feels good.
- Normal eating is three meals per day-or four to five smaller meals (with snacks).
- Normal eating is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful and you aren’t full.
- Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. It is also 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.
- Normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your feelings, and food availability.
(Steiner-Adair & Sjostrom, Full of Ourselves, 2006, p. 85)
If you aren't a normal eater, you aren't alone. Many of us have grown up with a very abnormal eating environment, but fortunately there are ways we can practice and learn the skills of intuitive or mindful eating. Just like everything in life, normal or sometimes called intuitive eating takes practice and you become better at it as you practice it over and over. Be patient with yourself as you develop a normal eating mindset and realize that it can take time to become an intuitive eater.
As the New Year approaches we’ll be hearing about all the miracle diets, but it is important to remember normal eating is something sustainable that we can practice all year long.
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