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How "Normal Eaters" Live Their Lives Differently

It's what normal eaters do after eating that makes all the difference.

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There's a difference between "normal eaters" (aka "normies") and the rest of the world. When a normie sets out to eat only a few spoonfuls of ice cream on a hot summer day, but find themselves at the bottom of the ice cream carton they think "Oh man, I'm so full!" They shrug their shoulders, walk off their distended belly, and carry on with their day not thinking about it again. They don't obsess about what just happened, and they continue eating their normal amount of food the next day.

What Happens After the Ice Cream

When a disordered eater or a binge eater hits the end of the ice cream carton, it's a different story. A binge eater will feel guilty for eating the entire carton and may continue on to cookies, sweets and more food—even though they aren't hungry—because they already broke one of their "rules" of no ice cream and now are out to binge on other tasty treats that they see as bad and don't fit into their system or diet. A binge eater cannot shrug off the pint of ice cream, they dwell on it.

A binge eater will beat themselves up for hours or days after they ate the carton of ice cream. They spend time thinking about what a failure they are, how things will never get better and start obsessing about their weight and promising themselves they will only eat healthy food tomorrow. They compromise with that critical voice in their head by promising to lower the number of calories tomorrow to make up for today or to start a juice cleanse to help negate the ice cream. They negotiate with themselves and swear to do better tomorrow.

It's Not About the Food

The difference between a normal eater and a binge eater has nothing to do with the food or even the amount of food. A normal eater and a binge eater can eat the exact same pint of ice cream and react completely differently. It has everything to do with the emotion behind the food and the restriction and rigidity that follows. How you feel after you eat, what story you are telling yourself while you are eating and what happens following the ice cream. It involves the rules you place on yourself, giving a moral label to food as good or bad and thus labeling yourself for choosing a food from the "bad" list.

An unhealthy relationship with food involves basing your self-worth, your feelings, your emotion, and your day on how well you've followed your food rules that day (whatever those rules may be). It's pulling emotion into food and putting food on pedestal that it does not belong. It's giving food the power to decide whether you've been morally good or bad.

It's a tough way to live, and there's no denying that it can be a hard cycle to break. The good news is that it is possible to break the cycle and stop living that way. There are people who have broken free from obsessing about food and disordered eaters who become normies. They used to binge on ice cream and cookies and now enjoy ice cream when they please (which they find they want much less now since there's no rules around it) and don’t beat themselves up after enjoying an ice cream sundae on a hot summer day. There is hope and people can change. The first step? Identifying you need help and starting the process of recovery by finding a professional to help you along the way.