Feed yourself with love and good sense

Your eating can be joyful and positive

At the heart of a positive relationship with food is the principle of eating competence. The evidence for ecSatter shows that we can trust and gratify our natural desires rather than struggling against them.

  • We all long to eat as much as we want of food we enjoy . . .without feeling guilty and worrying that our weight will go out of control.
  • We long to enjoy delicious food with other people . . .without feeling we are eating too much of the wrong food.  
  • We long to nurture our children and delight in family meals . . .  without continually second-guessing ourselves and feeling like the food police.  

ecSatter shows how to make your eating one of life’s great pleasures

  • Stop worrying about food and trying to go without. Instead, give yourself permission to eat.
  • Have rewarding, regular, and reliable meals
  • Pay attention while you eat
  • Then eat what and how much you want.

Your eating will become orderly and reliable

You may fear that throwing away the food shoulds and oughts will send your eating and weight out of control. But the way eating competence works is quite the opposite.

  • Foods you no longer have to eat become enjoyable foods that you can eat for pleasure.
  • Foods that are no longer forbidden became ordinary foods that you can eat matter-of-factly and moderately.
  • Large portion sizes won’t dictate how much you eat: You can eat it all if you are hungry enough, not if you aren’t.

Ellyn Satter’s Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family tells you how to eat as much as you want of foods you enjoy and be healthy! 

Family Meals Focus ~ No. 19


Raising eating competent children

To rear a competent eater, be eating competent yourself. Verto, cogo eros vel gravis letatio proprius. Gemino, commodo magna, acsi regula metuo autem, secundum fatua paulatim similis, sino letatio at. In capio torqueo exerci, blandit olim quod duis. Eros torqueo hendrerit vereor ventosus euismod singularis comis paratus sudo. In eros praesent demoveo velit nunc commodo in sed interdico ut. Iriure, pagus utinam ludus sit vereor blandit ad eum dolor huic si in. Vulpes magna suscipere jugis eum quae, nunc utinam brevitas vicis in laoreet modo. Ymo hos tation proprius refoveo consequat probo utinam virtus pecus suscipit huic.


Eating competence and weight

The eating competence model says nothing at all about what and how much to eat or how much to weigh. Isn’t that a little dangerous? Won’t you eat like there is no tomorrow and gain a lot of weight? No, you won’t. Research shows that folks who are eating competent weigh the same or less than others. Being eating competent lets you trust your feelings of hunger and fullness and accept the weight that is right for you. Granted, that weight might not be one that the charts or the fashionistas dictate, but consider the alternative. You could spend the rest of your life struggling with your eating and weight, take the joy out of eating, and end up weighing same or even more. Less that 5% of people succeed at sustained weight loss. Instead of keeping the weight-loss hope alive, why not hope for a rich and valuable life and being all you can be . . . at this weight?


Eating competence and wellness

You don’t need a special diet to address your health. Instead, develop eating competence. Consider the research: eating competent people have better blood lipids, lower blood pressures, and weigh the same or less than other people. The structure, predictability, and energy balance of eating competence is a natural fit for your diabetic regimen. Staying in tune with your body’s natural processes and focusing on providing food rather than avoiding it and give ease and practicality to coping with food allergies and intolerances. Pregnancy isn’t a medical issue, but what a fine time to become eating competent! Maintaining the joy and predictability of eating competence allows you to nourish yourself and your baby, lay the foundation for feeding your family, and gain the weight that is right for you. 


Eating competence and mental health

The evidence shows that eating competent people do better, socially and emotionally. They are more trusting and accepting of themselves and other people. They are aware of how they think and feel and are effective in guide their lives with that self-awareness. Why should positive eating attitudes and behaviors act as a measure for mental health? Because eating goes well when it is based on tuning in on and respecting our inner experience of hunger, appetite, and satisfaction as well as being accepting and nurturing with our ourselves and our bodies. This self-awareness and self-respect originate in earliest life, with parents who follow the division of responsibility in feeding.


Eating competence and eating disorders

People who are eating competent show fewer of the typical distortions in eating attitudes and behaviors that characterize eating disorders: restrained eating, drive for thinness, body dissatisfaction. Giving strong permission to eat in the context of structure and self-awareness neutralizes the deprivation that underlies bulimia and binge eating disorder. However, people who suffer from anorexia are initially too frightened to be able to embrace the easy-going self-awareness and trust of eating competence. But with progress in therapy, the anorexic person’s relentless self-discipline with food begins to erode. She becomes receptive to developing the relaxed self-confidence with eating and characterizes eating competence.


Get help when you are stuck

Resolving eating issues is important enough to merit an investment in time and money. You don’t have to spend years struggling with your eating and weight. You  deserve to have a relationship around food that is relaxed and joyful. What can you do to find help? 

  • Look for an eating competence professional. An Ellyn Satter Institute Faculty member or Associate may live near you. Alternatively, ask around. You may be able to find a professional who has been trained in eating competence intervention by studying with Ellyn Satter Institute faculty members and/or demonstrated their expertise by taking ESI continuing education exams. 
  • Grow your own. Look for someone who has studied the eating competence model and is willing to learn right along with you. 
  • Consider online coaching from ESI faculty members. Via Skype, telephone, and email, ESI faculty members do assessment, create a treatment plan just for you, and work with you as you institute that plan over several weeks.


Are you in a muddle about eating?

  • You worry about eating almost continuously – doing it, avoiding it. 
  • You feel you know what to do with respect to eating, but can’t do it.
  • You feel bad if you eat and bad if you don’t.
  • You can’t remember when you have felt good about your eating or weight.

ESI can help you

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