What does healthy eating look like?
If we were to believe advertising and commercials, we would think healthy, normal eating is either constant dieting or regular consumption of high-sugar, high-fat fast foods and snacks. Neither is true. Long-term caloric restriction can lead to an eating disorder, and a steady diet of sugary and fatty foods, especially in the absence of physical activity, can produce overweight, obesity, and the health problems associated with those conditions.
Some people have eaten in a disordered way for so long that they have forgotten what normal, healthy eating is. Basically, it is respecting your body so that you eat when you are hungry, and you eat what you are hungry for, and you stop eating when you are satisfied. This means that you do not use food to try to meet needs other than nourishment; for example, eating a box of donuts because you are lonely (or anxious, or angry, or bored, or sad). It also means never refusing to eat something your body is really hungry for. If you do, you make that forbidden food an object of obsession, and chances are you will binge on it later — one chocolate truffle now, or a whole box later.
And lastly, eating normally means paying attention to your body so you will recognize when it is hungry for simple things like green beans and whole wheat bread, not just the sweet and fatty foods you routinely deny it.
But it’s a big step from chronic restriction or frequent diet-binge-purge cycles to rule-free spontaneous eating. Most people need a few guidelines to provide reassurance when they begin the transition. The following suggestions are based on current recommendations made by the National Academy of Sciences. Best wishes as you begin to incorporate them into your life, one or two at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed and panicky.
Food choices and calories
Note: The above suggestions were taken from guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services on January 12, 2005.
Don’t obsess by counting every calorie, but be aware that your body’s emergy requirements are higher that what is provided by many diets. Use the following as a guideline. (From the University of California Wellness Letter. October 2002)
Healthy lifestyle choices