Monday, July 13, 2009

Eating Competence Model from Ellyn Satter

Ellyn Satter is a dietitian whom I've admired since the first time I heard her speak at a meeting many years ago. In fact, I've quoted her before when interviewed for an article in our local newspaper about feeding children. I know she's right. She's so right. I found the following from a twitter link sent in my Marsha Hudnall, another very savvy dietitian--

Ellyn Satter Eating Competence encourages you to base your eating on your body’s natural processes: hunger and the drive to survive, appetite and the need for pleasure, the social reward of sharing food and the tendency to maintain preferred and stable body weight.

There it is. In one sentence. Everything anybody needs to know about how and what and when to eat. I love that she distinguishes between hunger and appetite. I made a big point of doing that in my thesis 25 years ago. It drives me crazy when I read stuff that uses the words interchangeably. It's important to make a distinction because there's a difference between eating to survive and eating for pleasure. There's a difference between eating something because you're hungry and you want to get rid of the hunger and eating something because you're hungry but you want something special to eat. And then there's just eating for pleasure without hunger. That's the killer, of course. And don't you love how she includes the social aspect of food? Sharing food. Pleasure. Sharing. Survival.
Although her books are about feeding children and families, her advice is for all of us.
I've been eating sort of out of control for a few weeks. Just eating. And truly not enjoying. And aware that I'm not enjoying much. And feeling slightly more empowered to make some changes. Not the kind that are superficial. Not following a diet--because I cannot sustain that.
I've been thinking a lot about the obesity statistics that are quoted almost daily in the newspaper. My daughter bought me a vintage felt appliqued jacket for my birthday. You'd have to know vintage clothing to know what that is. It's a jacket from the 1940s. Anyway, the arms are too tight and it doesn't even come close to closing in front. People were just smaller. They were smaller and yet they drank whole milk, ate butter and had pie for dessert all the time (well, maybe that's an exaggeration). They didn't know about fat free this or that or Splenda or "options". They didn't order dressing on the side nor did they obsess about taking the skin off chicken.
Just some stuff to think about for today. On my way to meet up with my trainer for some heavy grunting, groaning and sweating.

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