• Shalyn Yamanaka MS, RD

What is a Competent Eater?


Competent Eater...that sounds foreign and not much fun. Most people have never heard about competent eating. It can be confused with mindful eating, but it is more than just mindful eating. For those who have never heard of mindful eating, it is eating and drinking while being present and aware of your body’s sensations.

Mindful eating has been in the press, but unlike many of the diets, it is not a quick and easy solution, so does not seem to have gained much traction. It can be said, it is a lifestyle. Hmmmm, lifestyle change seems to ring a bell…yup, that is usually connected with physical activity. It is a “lifestyle change.” One that most people are not willing to adopt. What do you mean, putting down my phone, turning off the TV and computer, and concentrating on what I’m doing? It’s only eating?! Not even a book or newspaper? In today’s society that everyone is constantly trying to multi-task and has attention spans that are getting shorter and shorter, there are so many tasks we take for granted and rarely recognise we are even doing them. Eating is one of them. How many times do you eat while you walk, drive, make a phone call, email, text, read, fill in the blank here and not realise what and how much you consumed? Don’t feel guilty - it happens all the time.

Competent eating goes beyond what mindful eating is. It is everything that eating encompasses – not only the action of putting food into your mouth, but the attitudes, beliefs, thoughts and feelings that go into the choices (food, drink, environment, timing) and the body awareness and self-care needed to ensure you remain healthy. This includes positive eating attitudes and beliefs, food acceptance (eating a variety of foods and being able to accept new foods and limited situations), internal regulation (knowing and following your signs for hunger and satiety), and self-care (ensuring you feed yourself reliably and dependably).

#eatingbehaviours #competenteating #eatinghabits

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