So I was talking to someone today who was saying that they only eat when it is that they are hungry. Which basically means that they have determined that they only eat three small meals a day, they don’t weigh themselves at all. They just “feel” their body, and they just know that they are exactly where it is that they are needing to be weight size wise based on how they “feel”. Other family members are disturbed by this saying that ‘it is actually unhealthy to only eat a small portion of food at a time and cutting out specific foods.” The family considers this an eating disorder, even though based on the BMI (Body Mass Index), they actually fall in the ‘normal’ range for their height.
So this makes me wonder, if the goal is actually to eat when it is that you are hungry how is it that participating in such an activity would cause such distress with others. Talking about the HAES (Health at Every Size) movement, the goal is to actually get to your ‘natural’ weight set point. This movement states that normal set point maintenance is the weight that is healthiest to you. The goal of this movement is for you to be able to say yes to these questions, #1 being able to eat naturally to the signals of hunger, and fulness of appetite without fixating on weight or eating habits. #2 is your ability to be able to eat effortless and enjoyably.
When you can answer yes to these two questions the HAES movement suggests that it is your body that will guide you to making nutritious pleasurable choices. By achieving your set point it will mean that you won’t have to count calories, you won’t have to total daily fat grams or weigh food.
The suggestion is from the HAES movement that you need to learn how to respond to your body signals, which in turn will normalize your eating habits, which in turn will make you feel better.
Yet, it seems to me, that based on our preceding story it is actually not that easy. We individually may determine what is tolerable to us with our daily food intake to maintain our set point, and yet society or our family may not agree. The need for three square meals a day, which is still considered to be normal, is actually what really guides societal expectations in regards to food intake. So, just saying ‘I am not hungry and therefore I won’t eat right now’ does not cut the mustard. Yet, if there is actually supposed to really be a goal of listening to your body to tell you whether or not you are hungry and to follow your bodies signals, then how do we actually really do it?
HAES suggests that identifying your set point is when your weight that you maintain is from listening to your bodies signals; for your bodies hunger and fulness. The maintained weight isn’t by fixating on weight or food habits and is the ‘normal’ weight you return to in-between diets. There is no magic formula or lab test that determines that point and no way to determine how your set point is regulated. It is only determined by listening to your body and eating “normally”.
So, then the question is, what is normal?
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.