What Is Healthy Eating?
By Abigail Natenshon
Author of When Your Child Has An Eating Disorder

Healthy eating is the ability to eat anything, anytime, as long as it is in moderation. It is about consuming three varied, balanced, and nutritionally dense meals that include each of the food groups every day.

TIP: In becoming a healthy eater, learn which foods are healthy for you.

TIP: You cannot overeat on healthy foods if you are aware and respectful of when your body is hungry versus when it is full, when to eat and when to stop.

If excess and imbalance have become a part of your eating lifestyle, if you find that you are without an accurate gauge for discerning when to eat and when to stop eating, you can expect to see this imbalance in many other areas of your life as well.

It is likely that you may also be without accurate gauges with regard to:

    • how much you study versus how much you recreate,
    • how long you talk on the phone when homework is waiting,
    • how often you give in to others demands versus when you stand your ground,
    • when to turn off the television.
    • how long and how frequently you exercise.

In the space below, fill in other areas of your life where you tend to be somewhat extreme.

If extremes describe your lifestyle, you might feel happier and more secure if you were to ask for some assistance in putting more structure and control into your life. Perhaps your parents could help you by providing more appropriate external limits in certain areas. You may decide to discuss these issues with your school social worker, or your psychotherapist.

Check out your own views about healthy eating.

Healthy eating is fat-free or light eating. T or F
Healthy eating is eating as little as you can in order to feel satisfied. T or F
It’s okay to skip meals when you are not hungry. T or F
It is natural to feel guilty when you eat fatty foods. T or F
Diets are the best and most effective way to lose weight. T or F
You become fat when you eat fat. T or F

If most of your answers were T, it may be that you have fallen prey to the many misconceptions and myths surrounding healthy eating.

Psychotherapist Abigail H. Natenshon has specialized in the treatment of eating disorders with individuals, families, and groups for the past 28 years. She is the author of When Your Child Has an Eating Disorder: A Step-by-Step Workbook for Parents and Other Caregivers, Jossey Bass Publishers, San Francisco, CA. October 1999. Based on hundreds of successful outcomes, this book shepherds concerned parents step-by-step through the processes of eating disorder recognition, confronting the child, finding the most effective treatment for patient and family, and evaluating and insuring a timely recovery. A guide to eating disorder prevention, this book is useful to parents, health professionals and school personnel alike in countering the pervasive epidemic of unhealthy eating and body image concerns, and destructive media and peer influences. Her work can be reviewed further at her web site at www.empoweredparents.com. To order visit amazon.com.

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