Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Nutrition Model Emphasizes a Positive Experience of Eating

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Nutrition Model Emphasizes a Positive Experience of Eating

Article excerpt

Enjoying the eating process without a focus on dietary restrictions may be the key to managing weight and staying healthy, according to researchers, who have unveiled a novel, effective model for managing eating.

The Satter Eating Competence Model, also known as ecSatter, was created by Ellyn Satter, M.S., R.D., L.C.S.W., B.C.D., a registered dietitian, family therapist, and author of Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family (Kelcy Press).

Competent eaters are positive, flexible, and comfortable with their eating habits, and they make it a priority to regularly provide themselves with enjoyable and nourishing food. They guide food intake based on the internal processes of hunger, appetite, and satisfaction, and they rely on the body's innate ability to maintain a preferred and stable weight.

Ms. Satter observes that the eating competence model cultivates effective attitudes and behavior in regard to eating by emphasizing permission and discipline:

* The permission to choose food you enjoy and eat it in amounts you find satisfying.

* The discipline to provide yourself with regular and reliable meals and snacks and to pay attention when you eat them.

Being "eating-competent" appears to mirror overall well-being, she notes. People with high eating competence feel more effective and are more self-aware and are more trusting and comfortable both with themselves and with other people.

Barbara Lohse, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State University, directed the research on ecSatter. Dr. Lohse underscores the model's attention to psychological and biological needs.

"Many of us have eating problems, because as children we are forced into eating more or less food than we need. That is traumatic. Eating becomes a mindless activity invested with conflict and anxiety and not something to be enjoyed. …

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