„No chocolate before 9am!“ – what does „normal eating“ even mean?

Let me firstly speak out  how much I hate this word: normal! A normal teenagers likes to party. A normal twenty-something girl has had sex at least once. A normal German drinks coffee in the morning and a beer after work. Recently, I read a lot of posts, mostly on Instagram, in which girls with eating disorders showed what they ate and said how guilty they feel for having eaten it. „Everybody around me seems to eat less. Do you think my amount of food is normal?“, they ask. I don’t write this in an pejorative way. I totally understand this uncertainty when it comes to food and I’ve been there, too. But what I think what you have to urecognize is that the real question is not „is my food okay?“, but „am I okay?“.

Did you ever think about what „normal“ even means? How you would define it? Is itl the average? And, if that’s the case, would you like to be average? Being „not normal“ definitely has a negative connotation. But being „normal“ as well, right? So what should we ideally aim for then?

I would like you to imagine that you’d be the only person in the world. There would be nobody around you. Nobody to compare yourself to. You would eat what you crave and simply accept this as „normal“. I mean, who would be there telling you that it’s not? By reflecting this, it became really clear to me, how much we adapt the ideals of others. We ignore the fact that we are indivuíduals. That we have individual bodies with individual needs. To find the answer to the question what we need, we should rather look inside than outside of ourselves (this may sound a little spiritually, but I guess it’s still true). Try to also remember how you ate as a child. I suppose you never even thought about if what you ate was „normal“. It didn’t bother you if the child next to you  at the children’s birthday party ate less cake than you did (contrarily, you was probably happy that you got a bigger piece).

I often have cravings of which I am pretty sure that the majority of people wouldn’t regard as totally „normal“. For example, I really, really like to eat loooots of cream cheese directly out of the pack. A friend of mine loves dipping tuc cookies in Nutella. When it comes to food, there seem to be so many rules. There are „normal“ portion sizes. There is the wide-spread notion that a normal grown-up woman shouldn’t eat more than 2000 calories a day. Don’t eat a salad along a sweet main course. Don’t eat chocolate before 9am.

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If you ask me, there is intuitive, emotional, maybe balanced, but no such thing as „normal eating“! Well, there is something that is „not normal“ for sure: everything that Ana tries to convince you of. You are not allowed, you are not worth, you simply cannot eat that. You know what, Ana? I’l create my own „normal“ now. I’ll eat peanutbutter sandwiches in the middle of the night if I crave them and I’ll have an appetizer in a restaurant even if I’ve already had a main course and everybody else orders desert. Cause I know at least one thing that’s far more important than being normal in every case: being you!

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