Thursday, May 9, 2019

Normal Eating

For most of my adult life I lived alone, and during that time my weight was stable.  I ate when I was hungry; only what I was hungry for; and stopped when I was full.  I didn't have to think about it - that was my natural eating pattern.  Sometimes I skipped meals if I wasn't hungry.  During grad school (which I attended during the evening) I snacked on crackers, cheese, dried fruit and dark chocolate during classes rather than sitting down to a real meal.  I suspect most dieticians would have viewed the contents of my refrigerator with shock and dismay.  Still, I was generally healthy and a healthy size.

That all changed after I met my late husband Tom.  Turns out I'm a social eater - when I eat with others, I eat more, more often, and more calorie-laden foods than when I eat alone.  When we married, we started eating a solid dinner every night, whether I was hungry for it or not, and that started a cycle of weight gain and loss that continued for the next 20 years.

So now I am back at my "normal" weight and trying to stay there, but I am out of the habit of listening to my body - and although we don't live together, I frequently eat with Lee, and some of that "social eating" stuff can creep back in.  I am trying to get back to my original ingrained eating habits by turning to a new virtual friend.

Jenn Hand is a food coach and founder of the Normal Eater's Club.  Her mission is to help people feel good about their bodies and learn to eat without fear.  Her blogs, videos, and podcasts discuss how to replace comfort eating with other habits, how to stop binging, and why you should work toward accepting yourself regardless of your body's size or shape.  She doesn't believe in dieting or other types of food restriction because she's been there, done that, and long term it didn't work.  On the days when "just a few chips" turn into half a bag, I re-listen to a podcast where she reminds me that one episode of overeating won't cause me to to gain 10 pounds.  Before I go to a party, I re-read the blog post about avoiding extra food there.  She reminds me constantly to listen to my body, and not to worry if it REALLY, REALLY wanted those chips - because it won't want them all day, every day.

I've always had a few control issues, so the whole idea of letting go and not tracking calories or points or macronutrients is pretty scary -  but I didn't do that for all of my 20s and 30s, so why do it now?   To be continued.

"Food doesn't have to rule your life."

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