How would you finish this sentence? Kaleigh, from HugStronger asked me this question and given the culture of eating in the U.S. it’s a really important one. We live in a society that conflates health with morality, size with success, and appearance with identity. This takes a toll on our feelings of self-worth and ability (or lack thereof) to measure up. Our food landscape is over-processed and over-abundant while the sub-text speaks to the virtue of self-denial. How utterly confusing. The line between clinical eating disorders and culturally accepted dieting and body hating continues to blur. Many people feel as if they are living in a food and body prison with no way out. In short, I will never be out of a job.
So this brings us back to what a healthy relationship with food looks like. Here’s my top 10:
1. Eating is often enjoyable- full of flavors and textures you truly love.
3. Eating requires some forethought and planning but food does not pre-occupy the majority of your thoughts.4. Eating is flexible in terms of timing and variety.
5. Eating does not result in feelings of guilt or shame.
6. Eating is motivated by internal cues of hunger and fullness most of the time.
7. When eating or thinking about eating you can feel relaxed and at ease.
8. Sometimes you eat food solely for the pleasure of eating, regardless of nutritional content.
9. Balanced, nutritious eating comes naturally because of your connection to how certain foods make you feel physically and the emotional tug of war is not present.10. Eating is viewed as a way to take good care of yourself.
These are my top 10. What would you add to the list?
Interested in reading more on this topic? Check out Ellyn Satter’s definition of “normal eating.”