The problem with calling it “normal” eating

This post is published in full here on my Medium profile

I hesitantly wrote this because I want women to strengthen women, especially within a niche career (nutrition). And especially when it’s someone whose writing voice and overall demeanor is on-par with the RD world I want to live in. But I read this recent post, calling “normal eaters” the “healthiest”, and something about it seemed really off to me — in a way I really don’t think the author meant it to. So much so that I’m here now, typing out something that might seem a little harsh.

But I can’t not say it.

Before I do, please know this, internet people: I don’t mean to throw darts of blame, shame, or condemnation. That’s not my intent, any more than I think it was hers. I mean to clear the air for anyone who read that and felt a little bit worse — “abnormal,” if you will.

The post outlined and compared “healthy eating” to “normal eating,” describing the former as an (often) extreme dieter, and the latter as a more relaxed, carefree eater. Each paragraph pointed out ways a “healthy” eater might approach a situation, compared to the ease with which a “normal” eater navigates meals and snacks. Having had an eating disorder, I recognize triggers in those statements.

So I’m writing this to the reader who felt a little like they’re doing it all wrong, yet again.

The reader who might never be “normal” because that normal seems a long way from their current normal. To that reader, it’s OK if it all feels far off, but it’s not out of your reach. I promise.

I don’t think we can just call it normal or healthy eating, and here’s why.

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