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What’s the Opposite of an Eating Disorder

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A book on a bed and an image of Emily Rosen

It’s quite easy these days to read all kinds of books, articles, blogs and more on eating disorders. This is a deeply important and compelling topic for our times. So many people are living in pain and confusion not knowing how to manage their unwanted eating, their weight, or their emotional challenges with food.

But have we really explored what an ideal relationship with food could look like? Have we even considered the principles that might define the opposite of an eating disorder? In this fascinating video from IPEtv, Emily Rosen, Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating shares about this very topic.

She articulates 18 great principles that characterize a healthy and happy relationship with food. We think this is quite an eye-opening list. Why not see how many of these you apply to your own experience of eating!

YouTube video

Here is a transcript of this week’s video:

Hi, I’m Emily Rosen, Chief Operating Officer for the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

Today’s Topic: What’s the Opposite of An Eating Disorder?

It’s quite easy these days to read all kinds of books, articles, blogs and more on eating disorders and disordered eating. These are deeply important and compelling topics for our times. So many people are living in pain and confusion not knowing how to manage their unwanted eating, their weight, or their emotional challenges with food.

Let’s take a few minutes and give some airtime to a different view on eating disorders.

Let’s answer the question of what is the opposite of disordered eating.

Linguistically, the answer is ORDERED EATING.

It doesn’t sound too sexy, but I think there’s something important here. Perhaps we can simply ask, what is a harmonious approach to eating, if indeed there is such a thing?

Here’s a collection of 18 great principles for eating. These principles are as free of nutritional dogma as possible, and as a result, they can be applied to almost any nutritional approach.

Here goes:

Principle #1 Intention
We eat because we choose to eat, not because we are compelled to do so through habit.

#2 Presence
We eat with awareness of the body, taking notice of the atmosphere, the people we’re with, taste, texture, posture, chewing, aroma, and all the sensations of the eating experience.

#3 Reflection
We actively listen for the body’s feedback: Did the food help or hinder the body, and what can we do next time to ensure a more fulfilling meal?

#4 Exploration
We see eating as a learning process, an ongoing journey through the unknown where both diet and body are continuously changing.

#5 Transformation
We see our relationship with food, and any challenges we might face with it, as an opportunity to grow and transform.

#6 Nourishment
We understand that food nourishes us through its quality, how it was grown, who prepared it, how we eat it, and the way we share it with others.

#7 Personality
We understand that our food choices are intimately connected to our personal preferences, and the way we choose to live in this world.

#8 Natural Cycles
We include seasonal foods in our diet to benefit from the wisdom of evolution.

#9 Local
We include locally produced foods in our diet to support our community and benefit from bioregional nutrition.

#10 Synergy
We understand that diet works in synergy with factors such as exercise, sleep cycles, breathing patterns, emotions, work styles and more.

#11 Community
We recognize that sharing a meal with others can be a beautiful nutritional act.

#12 Intimacy
We embrace that eating may be a deeply personal experience.

#13 Connection
We are aware that eating connects us to the earth, soil, animals, plants, and waters, and that by nourishing them in thoughtful ways, we nourish ourselves.

#14 Spontaneity
We embrace strategic rule-breaking with a smile.

#15 Kindness
We recognize that judging another for what they eat is an old and outdated approach, and that care and respect is the way.

#16 Joy
We smile when we eat.

#17 Gratitude
We notice that being grateful is a powerful nutrient.

#18 Love
We remember that no matter what our challenges with food or body might be, that love is always a reliable solution.

So, in a day and age where we speak so much about disordered eating and eating disorders, these are our 18 principles of ORDERED eating. I hope you can choose some of these that inspire you the most, and see if you can take your relationship with food to a whole new place.

Please email us at info@psychologyofeating.com if you have specific questions and we will be sure to get back to you. In the comments below, please let us know your thoughts. We love hearing from you and we read and respond to every comment! 

Thanks so much for your time and interest and I hope this was helpful.

A book on a bed and an image of Emily Rosen

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