Well it’s already the second week of 2017, but there are still plenty of articles about ways to lose weight, “cleanse” (still confused about this because the body is by and large pretty good about getting rid of toxins), ways to easily cut out sugar, and get back to normal eating!
Now, I realize that everyone’s bodies are different, some people need to lose weight for various health reasons, etc. However, what even is normal eating? Spoiler alert: it depends. However, this question has me thinking. I looked up the word in the handy dandy Merriam-Webster online dictionary and this is what I found:
“conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern”
And that’s it. So basically normal eating would be eating in such a way that there’s a basic pattern and regularity in your eating habits. For one person, this may mean intuitive eating, for another it may mean a vegan diet (diet used in this case as an eating pattern, not a way to lose weight), and for another, it may mean the diet they follow to avoid an allergen.
So that’s the basic definition of what “normal eating” is, and clearly it’s individual. And that’s what’s really great about it. A year or two ago, what normal eating was for me wasn’t what normal is for me today. And I’m really thankful for that since now I’m way healthier. What used to be normal for me was a pretty narrow range of “healthy” foods, eaten as specific times and intervals, with lots of exercise thrown in. Thankfully that’s not what’s normal anymore.
And it’s possible to change your normal. Maybe you’re struggling right now with disordered eating, or you’ve just found out you have an allergy/sensitivity, your work schedule has changed and life is hectic, or you’re training for a specific fitness goal. And you probably SHOULD change what you consider normal in these circumstances. For example, I SHOULD (LIKE REALLY) be eating more when I’m marathon training. When I was starting recovery, I had to change to eating what I thought was a lot of food. Soon it became normal.
Here’s my inner math/data nerd side coming out for just a sec. Let’s take a look at this curve, that is known as (wait for it), the NORMAL CURVE 🙂
Now the normal curve basically shows how data is distributed. I’m not going to go into the statistics and math as to how it is derived (even I don’t find that overly thrilling), but I will tell you a little something about this curve.
The center of data is where the 0 is, so the average value is right about there. The two 1s indicate 1 standard deviation from the mean, and the data contained between -1 and 1 is about 68% of all data (standard deviation basically measures how much data vary). The distance between -2 and 2 contains 95% of all the data.
Okay so that’s a bunch of kind of random info. Why am I telling you this? Well because it shows that A LOT of values can fall into a normal range of data. So let’s say the mean number of calories you eat is X. But, 1 or even 2 standard deviations away is also within a normal range of data, even if it is 1.5 times what X is! The point is: it all kind of evens out.
This may seem like a really long ramble, and it probably is. But my point is this: there is a lot of different definitions when it comes to normal eating. Your mean caloric needs could be totally different than your friend or sister’s, or even totally different than your mean caloric needs last year. That’s okay. Every single diet has variation, and even when we indulge during the holidays, or special occasions, or get stomach flus…it all ends up okay.
Thanks for reading through this post, and remember, find your normal, honor your body.
Anyone else out there like math or data?
What do you think normal eating is?
Favorite hot drink? Coffee and hot chocolate are my faves 🙂