“I just want to eat normally!” This is a phrase used quite often by overweight/obese people who are losing weight and aspire to eat “normally.” The question is: What is normal eating? Is normal eating three meals a day? Is normal eating snacking between meals and late into the evening? Is normal eating dining out 5-7 times per week? Before you answer this question, do you know some people who eat normally?
If you ask health professionals “what is normal eating,” some may give you different answers. The key is finding what is normal for you and will help you maintain a healthy body weight. One answer to the question was presented by Dr. David Kessler in his book “The End of Overeating.” He believes it is best to structure meals every 2-4 hours to prevent hunger while gradually decreasing the emotional and neurological hold processed foods high in fat, sugar, and salt have on our taste buds.
What is normal for you may not be normal for those around you. For example, a 6 ft. 4 in. male can consume a different amount of calories than a 5’0” in female. The amount of calories consumed to maintain a healthy body weight is dependent on sex, age, muscle mass, exercise, etc. Some individuals have schedules which makes it difficult for them to eat structured meals. One thing is for certain, however, if we allow restaurants (whether sit-down or fast food) to determine our portion sizes and/or choices, we will have difficulty maintaining a healthy body weight and nourishing our body.
So, in determining your normal eating, what is it that you want to achieve? If your goal is to maintain a healthy weight and nourish your body, then look at your lifestyle and see what changes could be made. Just make sure that “normal eating” is healthy and balanced, and individualized to fit your needs!