Summer is almost over, a feeling of bittersweet thoughts. Time to return back to France. Back to normal routine, school, work and normal eating again. Not that we haven’t been eating “normally” here in New Jersey. In fact, we have enjoyed so much good food that I already miss the crunchy New Jersey white corn, tomatoes, pizza, clams and we haven’t even gotten on the plane yet! Normal eating is also enjoying fun foods. Here on vacation in the States we have been loving the vacation foods: ice cream to excess, too much soda, the burgers and fries, eating out a lot. But we cannot do that forever. If we ate like this all the time our normal eating would become that: eating what we want, when we want, as much as we want.
Maybe in America this is one of the main reasons for the overweight epidemic. The typical American society’s normal eating is eating to excess, because we can and it is allowed by society. We accept the big portions in restaurants and fast foods. Embrace the free refills on the sodas. Frequent the “all you can eat” buffets.
Normal is excess because it is normal here in America to have the extremes.
It can be difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t lived in other countries. But, it is not normal around the world to see the “largeness” everywhere, like we do here. Largeness in open spaces, open roads, open opportunities. Largeness in cars, food and drinks. Largeness in people and kids. A challenging process to find a balance between teaching our kids not to eat in the extremes when we live in a society where extremes are accepted. As a parent living in America only two months per year, already it is a personal focused discipline in knowing how can I let my kids eat within those extremes, while at same time not restricting them too much. What is normal in ourselves too? Normalcy differing between various social, economic, cultural contexts. How can we teach our children about normal eating living in this extremes? One step is to start with ourselves.
Normal Eating is a Link Between Mental and Physical Factors
Perhaps eating normally means making a conscious effort to exclude the mental factors that influence our food habits. If we our balanced with our own approach to eating, then maybe we can meet that good balance between eating simply and eating without extremes. Think about your own eating style. Do you eat mindlessly? Eat while multi-tasking? Feel guilty or bad when you are eating? Check out this concise and accurate article from Melanie Greenberg, from The Mindful Self-Express. Dr. Greenberg highlights some important mental factors that inhibit healthy and normal eating and gives suggestions on how to “transform your relationship with food.” She emphasizes the outside influences on the media and society and how these play a role in how we picture our perfect body. Do you think more of us need to stop pushing to be thin? And why do so many of us have negative thoughts about our bodies so we feel guilty and bad whenever we eat? Our kids are the future. How can we “fix” or slow down childhood obesity if we don’t start being “normal eating” role models for them?
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