How to Eat Well

Two weeks ago, when I finished reading Women Food and God by Geneen Roth, I reached a milestone. Much of what she said made sense to me, but I don’t think I was ready to hear it until then. As for her Eating Guidelines, I hated them! Here’s why.

Eating Guidelines

1. Eat when you are hungry.
If I did that, I’d never eat! Because I rarely let myself get hungry. The only time I don’t snack is between breakfast and lunch and after a late supper.

2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
I actually ate a donut while standing in the kitchen recently, which is unusual for me, but yes, I do eat in the car, not a meal per se, but candy or cookies or whatever I can find. When I eat with others, can I really be calm? What if the conversation lags? Won’t they find me boring? Won’t I be bored with them?

3. Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music.
Wouldn’t it be boring to just think about my food? No, that’s a shallow reaction, Norma, not a thought-out answer. Perhaps it would be interesting to evaluate what’s going on in my mouth, my stomach, and my body while eating.

4. Eat what your body wants.
How would I know what it wants? I’m so used to eating what looks good, what appeals to me at the moment, what I’m in the mood for, especially the pizza or pancakes that I just saw in a commercial.

5. Eat until you are satisfied.
Satisfied? This reminds me of the Bill Cosby episode where he says, “I’ve never been full.” How would I know if I’m full? When I do figure it out and still want more, wouldn’t it be impossible to stop eating?

6. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
This is a tough one! I’m often alone at mealtimes, and I hate to eat alone in public, so if I’m eating alone in a restaurant, I always take reading material. Why? Because it’s less awkward than trying to avoid making eye contact with the person in the next booth or across the aisle. At home alone, I always eat in front of the TV. If other people are around when I want to eat a snack but am too embarrassed to eat in front of them, I’ll eat it when they’re in another room. Sneaking food is one of those things I detest yet fall easily into. When I was only 6 or 7, it was like a game to sneak crackers, bread, little bits of cheese, even lettuce into my room to eat under the covers at night. Was I hungry back then or just bored? I don’t know. Perhaps both.

7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto, and pleasure.
This guideline makes me smile. Despite all the negative stuff I’ve been through with dieting, I still enjoy eating a good meal.

While I’m not making any big resolutions for 2014, I’m going to think about these guidelines every morning and see what happens. I already told my husband that I plan to eat supper at the table before Jeopardy!, and he wants to eat with me. Maybe we’ll enjoy Jeopardy! more, too, without the distraction of food.

Ready for Jeopardy!

Ready for Jeopardy!


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Judy
    Dec 31, 2013 @ 16:41:53

    Norma, my guidelines include this, with which I’ve lost 10-12 lbs since April without trying: eat a little square of 70% dark chocolate with a small handful of low-fat nuts (say 6 or 8, any kind) after every meal, including breakfast. Works like a charm; not hungry at all between meals. Don’t want huge meals either. It’s just what’s worked for me; I don’t fool myself into thinking it would for everyone.


  2. Judy
    Dec 31, 2013 @ 16:42:40

    Oops. Make that low-SALT nuts. Not low-fat (:


  3. Judy
    Jan 01, 2014 @ 13:46:50

    Yes, it does sound funny. Not every single meal–sometimes we eat out and get dessert. I guess I should have said I eat those things instead of dessert and find them satisfying.


  4. Laurie
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 17:39:07

    Do agree with all these now? I’m not sure I agree with #6. I am a social eater and love to enjoy food with other people, but it doesn’t bother me to prepare my own little meal and eat by myself. In fact, when I’m alone I feel more free to eat less (no pressure to please the hostess by eating seconds, for example) and so I enjoy my food more.

    Cute Jeopardy! picture!


    • Norma
      Jan 03, 2014 @ 09:49:01

      Yes, I do agree with the Guidelines (not my knee-jerk reactions, ha) because they offer remedies for areas that trip me up. Unlike you, I might eat a lot more when I’m alone. But you make an excellent point! Makes me want to be a hostess who doesn’t pressure people to eat. Thanks for commenting, Laurie!


  5. mez88
    Jan 21, 2014 @ 08:58:58

    I prefer no rules aka guidelines of any sort. I’m coming from a size acceptance position right now, and I believe that as long as I let go of my thin ideal, my nourishing instinct will know exactly what to do without my head messing it up.


    • Norma
      Jan 28, 2014 @ 09:19:04

      I know what you mean. Although my head says it’s okay to be the size I am, my feelings are still negative sometimes. I hope you’ll let me know how it’s going. Thanks for reading and commenting!


      • mez88
        Jan 29, 2014 @ 07:38:31

        It’s definitely been a learning experience. Hard to measure when you’re not constantly looking over your shoulder wondering, “Is this working?” and using weight loss as your only measure of success.

        Other measures are intangible…but much more meaningful. Like recognizing that you no longer punish yourself for how you look by avoiding life, or no longer feeling the need to compare yourself to others so that someone is always higher or lower on the totem pole. Ducking out of this “system” is rewarding. I’ve been blogging about my experiences also, if you’re interested in how it goes…

      • Norma
        Jan 29, 2014 @ 08:52:44

        I enjoyed looking around your blog, mez88. Isn’t it liberating to get on with life instead of letting the scale determine how good your day will be? I agree that “ducking out of the system” is totally rewarding. Thanks for commenting!

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