Am I Doing it Wrong?
Posted on December 16, 2019
The "black and white" thinking of an eating disorder thrives in "right" or "wrong" territory, and this can be a lingering barrier around mealtime, even as patients progress through recovery. Whether it's in response to choosing what foods to eat or how to portion a meal, I often hear patients say they fear they're "getting it all wrong." It seems the discomfort lies in the gray area, where there are no universal rules when it comes to eating.
The path to an intuitive, normalized relationship with food involves finding what works for your
body and understanding your
own nutritional needs and food preferences.
So, "normal eating" looks different for everyone and can vary day to day, or even meal to meal. Sometimes you'll eat past the point of hunger, sometimes you'll find you need more. Sometimes you'll love what you ordered, sometimes you'll really wish you got something else. Sometimes you'll eat because it's practical based on your schedule and what you have on hand, sometimes you'll have the time to shop and prepare a meal based on what you're in the mood to eat.
The truth is - sometimes you may "get it wrong," but learning to embrace that is part of the recovery journey.
Ellyn Satter has a fantastic definition of normal eating, so I'll leave you with her wise words:
"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 proximity to food and your feelings."
Kathryn Argento, MS, RD, LDN, is the Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist at The Renfrew Center of West Palm Beach. She has worked with patients in the PHP, IOP and Outpatient levels of care across the spectrum of eating disorders. She received her Master's degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. Ms. Argento is passionate about helping individuals on their path to a peaceful relationship with food.