Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by in Maintenance | 2 comments

50 Tips To Help You Succeed at Normal Eating

To practice normal eating means (to me) to eat healthfully.  Eating fast food, snack food and live almost exclusively on simple carbs and fats is the opposite of normal eating.  I like this article because it gives a nice list of how to’s for normal eating.


from psychology of eating expert Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed.
author of: Nice Girls Finish Fat, the Rules of “Normal” Eating, the Food and Feelings Workbook, and What Every Therapist Needs to Know About Treating Eating and Weight Issues

No matter how many years or decades you’ve been overeating or how many diets have failed you (notice I didn’t say that you failed on the diets but that they failed you!), you can learn how to become a “normal” eater—eating when you’re hungry, choosing satisfying foods, remaining aware and enjoying food, and stopping when you’re full or satisfied. To do so, you will have to be focused like a laser and persistent like a dog digging for a bone, not expect overnight success, switch your attention from the scale to your appetite, and learn effective life skills to manage stress and distress. I’ve taught hundreds of disregulated eaters how to eat “normally” and I can teach you! Here are 50 tips to speed you on your way…


1. Look in the mirror daily and tell yourself you can learn the skills of “normal” eating.

2. Instead of thinking there are “good” and “bad” foods, consider them as nutritional
or non-nutritional (“good” and “bad” are moral terms that are best avoided in the
food arena).

3. Don’t put yourself down for the mistakes you make with food. Rather, lavishly
praise yourself for all your successes, even the tiniest ones.

4. If experience tells you that diets don’t keep your weight off, don’t try to convince
yourself you should be dieting. Instead, give yourself points for trying a different

5. Never say anything to yourself you wouldn’t say to a young child you love,
including calling yourself stupid, hopeless, bad, a failure, worthless. Be your own
cheerleader by generating positive thoughts about your progress.

6. Avoid all-or-nothing thinking and using words like never and always. Remind
yourself that most of life is not black and white, but gray.

7. Detoxify negative things people say about you that are untrue rather than repeating
them to yourself. Remember that what people say belongs to them, not to you,
even if your name is attached to their words.

8. Ask yourself often how you are feeling so you can become connected to your
emotions, but ask only with curiosity not condemnation.

9. Stop judging yourself harshly and start developing self-compassion. Treat yourself
lovingly and practice speaking to yourself with extreme esteem.

10. Do not keep telling yourself that learning to be a “normal” eater is hard because
saying so only programs you to find the work difficult. Instead, substitute the words
challenging or doable.


11. Check in with yourself often to see how hungry you are using descriptions such as
not hungry, moderate, very, famished or a 1-10 scale.

12. Every time you think about food, ask yourself if you’re really hungry enough to eat.

13. Experiment with eating smaller meals more frequently.

14. Consider your hunger as a signal that you need fuel, not that you have to go out
and seek the most fantastic eating experience of your life.

15. Practice believing that hunger is for fuel and pleasure, not for meeting emotional

Choose Satisfying Foods:

16. Don’t get hung up on what other people are eating, but ask yourself what you
would like to eat.

17. Remind yourself that foods fall on a nutritional continuum (high value/low value),
not on a moral continuum (good/bad).

18. Never eat without stopping to consider what you want first. Spend time making a
satisfying choice.

19. Refrain from allowing guilt or shame to contaminate your eating decisions.

20. Don’t eat foods you don’t find satisfying because they’ll remind you of being on a

Eating with Awareness and Enjoyment:

21. Before you eat, look at your food, the portion size, its presentation. Breathe

22. Chew every mouthful thoroughly to release flavor.

23. Let food sit on your tongue to let your taste buds absorb flavor.

24. When you’re talking, stop eating and when you’re eating, stop talking.

25. Stay connected to your body’s appetite signals while you’re eating.

26. Push away guilt and shame while you’re eating and focus on sensory pleasure.

27. Pause while you’re eating to see how you’re feeling about your food in terms of
quality and quantity.

28. Stop eating when flavor pleasure declines as it will after a while.

29. Rather than being determined to polish off all of the food in front of you, seek the
moment when flavor peaks and you feel an internal “Ah” of satisfaction—and stop.

30. Keep asking yourself while you’re eating, “Am I full?” and “Am I satisfied?”

Stopping When You’re Full or Satisfied:

31. Think of full as being enough food (fuel) in your belly and satisfied as being the
high point of pleasure.

32. Quantify fullness and satisfaction with numbers or words such as nearly, too, just
or a 1-10 scale.

33. When you feel full or satisfied, focus on that sensation and broadcast it to your
whole body.

34. When you’re done eating, put down utensils, push away your plate, get up—do
whatever you need to do to disconnect yourself from the food.

35. Make sure you’re not focusing on the food that’s left and believing you have to
finish it or clean your plate. You decide when enough is enough.

Beliefs to Change:

36. From “I need to diet to lose weight” to “Diets don’t work long term.”

37. From “This is too hard” to “I can learn to do this over time.”

38. From “This will take too long” to “If I don’t change now, I’ll only be back in this
same place again so I might as well get going on it.”

39. From “Losing weight is the most important thing” to “I will lose weight if I honor my
appetite and learn to eat ‘normally.’”

40. From “I am bad/worthless/ugly if I’m overweight,” to “I accept my body as it is and
will still try to improve it.”

Stop Emotional Eating:

41. When you have the urge to eat when you’re not hungry, ask yourself what you
might be feeling.

42. Remind yourself that feelings need a different response than food.

43. Get to know what emotions trigger unwanted eating—boredom, loneliness, anxiety,
shame, guilt, disappointment, helplessness—and then learn better ways of dealing
with them.

44. Keep a feelings log so you know what’s going on inside of yourself all day long.

45. Reduce stress which will lessen frustration, helplessness, and feeling

46. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself as least as well as you take care of

47. If you find yourself eating when you’re upset, don’t be hard on yourself. Be
compassionate and curious and consider your behavior a learning experience.

48. Get help through therapy if you have a history of trauma or abuse, as there is a
strong correlation between such a history and emotional eating.

49. Be responsible for yourself and don’t blame others for your emotional eating.

50. Tell yourself that you can bear any emotion, practice doing so, and you’ll be
amazed at the emotional muscle you’ll build.



  1. I had GBS almost 6 yrs. ago, I had lost appr. 169 lbs. and was down to 182 (for appr. 2 minutes lol). I stayed mostly anywhere between 188 to 195 lbs. It seems a switch was switched and I have been gaining for almost 2 years now. The last time I was at the doctor’s I weighed 241 lbs. I can’t seem to get back on track and NEED help fast. I didn’t do all it took to do to gain all of my weight back. I am so ashamed of myself and I want to get back on track. I just need someone to walk with me thru this and guide me to what I need to get back on track and to stay there. Please, if you could help me in anyway I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you in advance.

  2. Hi Annetta,

    I understand how you feel! So many post-ops have experienced the same as you share in your post. I hope that it helps you to not feel ashamed to know that unfortunately it is common among RNY post-ops (and other procedures to some degree). Actually, weight regain is a very common occurrence. Many post-ops don’t talk about it a lot so we blame ourselves instead of realizing it is more common than you think.

    You lost the weight once and you can do it again. It will be different than you were newly post-op but YOU CAN DO IT!! I also experienced periods of weight regain too but thankfully have lost it (and losing a few now too). I suggest you go back to the basics. What did you do (or not do) when you lost 169 pounds? Make a list of the old habits you need to replace. Some of my own were grazing, eating more carbs, eating more processed foods, not drinking as much water and quit exercising were on my list.

    If you’re interested in coaching to get back on track and create new strategies for yourself, please let me know. You could also work with a registered dietician or other bariatric professional in your surgeon’s office as well.

    Best regards,

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *