The Rules of Normal Eating

Stop Dieting and Shift to “Normal” Rules of Eating

Many chronic health conditions in overweight individuals, including obstructive sleep apnea, can be improved if the afflicted individual adopts a healthier weight.  Patients who do not have apnea but snore and are overweight, can also find successful cessation if they lose weight. Whether you have been stuck on the yo-yo world of dieting, or you feel your weight is creeping on year by year without control, the book called The Rules of “Normal” Eating may shed some light on a new path to a healthier weight, and change your life.

The author of the book is Karen Koenig, psychotherapist, educator, writer and speaker. The full title of the book is The Rules of “Normal” Eating  “A Commonsense Approach for Dieters, Overeaters, Undereaters, Emotional Eaters and Everyone in Between!”.

Struggling with weight issues much of my adult life, I found this book extremely insightful and a must read for those struggling with obstacles mentioned in the title. The book does a great job in giving clear examples of how those that have never had eating problems think  and compares them to thoughts of those that struggle with weight and eating.

The goal of the book is for readers to learn to reprogram their dysfunctional beliefs, manage uncomfortable feelings without turning to food, and establish new eating habits that tune their bodies into natural sensations of hunger, pleasure, satisfaction, and satiation.

Here’s a list of who the author believes this book is useful for:

  • Don’t think you’re a “normal” eater and want to find out how to become one
  • Are thin or fat or yo-yo wildly between weights
  • Eat emotionally or compulsively without being aware
  • Are afraid of food and feel guilty and ashamed when you eat what your body craves
  • Have been chubby since childhood
  • Put on unwanted pounds after your first child or menopause
  • Won’t allow yourself to say yes to food or can’t figure out how to say no
  • Are tired of dieting and binging
  • Love and want to help someone who is obsessed with eating or bot eating
  • Believe you can have a healthier relationship with food

The title’s Normal is in quotes because unlike diets that have their own structured rules, “normal” or non- struggling weight eaters really don’t follow rules in regards to what they “should” or should not eat. They don’t think of foods as bad or good choices. Instead they  listen to their sensations of hunger and cravings better as their cue for food choices. According to Koenig, healthy weight eaters do not eat a particular way but have a” range of appropriate eating behaviors that reflect their weight, appetite, metabolism, biochemistry, lifestyle and activity level”

Dieting and ongoing food restriction dont’ work in the long run. It is Koenig’s goal for us to “say yes and no to food in just the right balance”.

The “rules” that Koenig describes are simple in nature, and although challenging, absolutely  possible with awareness and insight to how to change. According to the author most “normal’ eaters:

  • Eat when they are hungry or have a craving.
  • Choose foods they believe will satisfy them.
  • Stay connected to their bodies and eat with awareness and enjoyment
  • Stop eating when they are full or satisfied.

Koenig then offers techniques to help reprogram our thoughts and mindset through Behavioral – Cognitive Therapy (CBT) in how beliefs, emotions and behaviors interact.

CBT is the same approach used with many people who struggle with depression, anxiety and substance abuse.

Beliefs Feelings Behaviors

“Simply put, your beliefs, whether conscious or unconscious, determine your feelings and behaviors. Change your beliefs, and your feelings and behaviors will be altered.”

This book is NOT a nutrition guidance book, nor a quick guide to weight loss.

Becoming aware of your thoughts (beliefs) and eventually working through changing them is where the author recommends to start. Koenig’s “Rules of Change” describes the process of getting our minds to shift to create feelings and then actions to help guide us through permanent food relationship changes are:

  1. Change is simple but not easy.
  2. Change is incremental.
  3. Change is slow.
  4. Change doesn’t happen without discomfort.
  5. Change is facilitated by having or developing specific personality traits.
  6. If you put one foot in front of the other, you can’t help but get to where you want to go.

Reading The Rules of “Normal Eating” is a great place to start your path to a healthier relationship with food. On a side note, the book has a very easy to read and understandable format, and is readily portable in size.  It’s a book I’d recommend underscoring insightful parts that you can return to easily, (as I always do when reading a book). And a book you may want to read more than once:-). Happy reading!


The Rules of “Normal” Eating  “A Commonsense Approach for Dieters, Overeaters, Undereaters, Emotional Eaters and Everyone in Between!”

Other Helpful Articles:

4 Ways Sleep Apnea Affects Weight Loss Efforts

The Importance of Weight Management/Loss With Successful Apnea Treatment

Sleep Apnea 101

This article is general in nature and for educational purposes only. Please consult with your sleep health provider before starting any treatment option for snoring and apnea.