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Becoming a Competent Eater

  1. I needed this! One of my struggles with IE was the “eat as much as you want, and you’ll be able to stop when you’re full because you know you can always have more of it, the next time you are hungry.” That is so not the case, at least for me. We don’t ALWAYS have a dozen cupcakes or freshly baked sugar cookies in our house…we don’t ALWAYS go out for a favorite meal. If I don’t order a large DQ blizzard, I’m certainly not going to go back out for another small one. Instead, I’ll eat 700 Chips Ahoy cookies and not even particularly like them. And the “when you’re hungry” issue is, as you said, a struggle when you have a family. Looking into EC now…thanks again for bringing this information to light for so many of us.

  2. stephieann8 says:

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    Excellent read! I needed this 🙂

  3. Anna says:

    yes, this is a super helpful article– would love to hear more. I have always done my best to practice EC for my kids (after reading and loving Ellyn Satter’s work on feeding children), which, while allowing kids to decide how much they eat, does also involve parents making judgments that ensure that kids are offered a good variety of foods– ie high and low fat offerings, carbs, protein, fruit and vegetables. More recently, I’ve been reading about intuitive eating and trying to figure out how to heal my own relationship with food. But it is hard to do both, especially as a parent who is responsible for getting everyone fed– I don’t think an IE-only model meshes well with my reality as a working parent.

  4. hannahkenway says:

    Thanks – this is really useful. I, like so many of us, have a family to feed, a career and a busy life – intuitive eating is a wonderful concept but there are times when I simply need more structure and EC seems to provide this. In reality I’ve found that a kind of mish mash of both seem to work for me – life is unpredictable and thus there are days when I have the freedom to follow more of an IE model and other days where it’s simply not possible without some stress.

    • GlenysO says:

      Agreed! That’s why I also have found both to be useful. I can be a bit more spontaneous at meals sometimes, so it’s good to have both models to work from.

  5. You know what’s funny is that when I have lots of food options, say at a potluck or Thanksgiving, I don’t eat as much because food looks plenty. When I sit down to a meal where everyone gets the same thing, I panic that there isn’t enough for me. I know this stems from childhood, though. But choosing and having options helps me eat consciously.

    • GlenysO says:

      That doesn’t surprise me at all! Food insecurity can certainly drive one to overeat. I love Eating Competence because the emphasis is on providing a variety of foods at a meal – though unlikely to rival the variety of a buffet, that’s true!

  6. Little_Em says:

    Love this. I have no idea how to choose what I ‘fancy’ or what truly ‘normal eating’ looks like. This is helpful. Thank you.

  7. […] Eating style, but if you’re having difficulty with the demand-feeding schedule, I wrote about Eating Competence last week for this very […]

  8. Pooja Grover says:

    Hi there. Thanks a lot for this article. I have myself been struggling a lot with regulating my diet, mostly getting sucked into overeating while under stress. The links provided are also helpful.

  9. Thank you for the resources! I will check out a couple of these books.

  10. Dawn says:

    Love the way you’ve summarized these two important concepts! Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family is an all-time favorite in the non-diet book genre. And of course love the Intuitive Eating book too!

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