I was inspired to write about how our inclination to pile our plates high with obligations to others tends to leave little room for our own wants and needs (and as a result, often leads to emotional eating). And I thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun, with tongue in my cheek, to tie this into the USDA My Plate?”
Well, I’m just back from the ChooseMyPlate.gov website, and not only am I not having fun, but I also think there may be steam coming out of my ears. What did I expect? I know these websites that promote healthy eating with external guidelines and “shoulds” always make me blind with rage.
When I was finally able to breathe and was getting ready to move away from MyPlate, I got sucked back in when I saw a couple of lines that had me thinking for a moment, “Hey, cool, they’re talking about eating in response to hunger and fullness signals!” They actually said, “Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues before, during, and after meals. Use them to recognize when to eat and when you’ve had enough.”
But dang it, above and below these lines were all the usual recommendations that negate the two lines about attuned eating. They encouraged us to pay attention to calories. And they set the stage for deprivation-driven eating of cake, cookies, ice cream, and pizza by telling us to eat them less often and to “Use these foods as occasional treats, not everyday foods.” But the line that really sent me over the top was the heading above the paragraph about attuned eating, “Enjoy your food, but eat less.”
I managed to click the heck out of there, but I’m going to need some time to calm down. So I’ll be back later to share my thoughts about real problems related to plate overload and some possible self-care support strategies to deal with these problems.
Until then, keep trusting yourself and your body, and enjoy what’s on your plate!
Nutrition therapists Amy Tuttle, RD, LCSW and Karin Kratina, RD, PhD provide no-diet articles and resources including “Stay Attuned: The E-zine for Nourishing Connections” at their Nourishing Connections website. www.nourishingconnections.com