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Competent Eating: Learning To Love Your Fuel

Competent Eating: Learning To Love Your Fuel

June 18, 2022

When is the last time you took the time to sit down and really enjoy a meal?

In today's world, we are so busy with work, families, and everyday stresses that when we finally get the time to eat, we scarf it down. It’s like one of those moments when you’re eating a sandwich and wondering where the other half went (already in your belly!). Not only do we eat our meals extremely fast, but we have completely lost touch with the meaning of eating: to fuel and nourish our bodies.  

Let’s face it, eating can be confusing. It is easy to be overwhelmed with various feelings of negativity, guilt and frustration around food due to the vast amount of dieting forms that encourage fear and restriction of foods. No matter what you eat, what diet you adhere to or the quantity you eat, you are reading this so I can remind you HOW to eat.  

What is competent eating?

Competent eating is being positive,comfortable, and flexible with eating as well as eating enjoyable and nourishing food in satisfying amounts 1. This theory of eating takes no part in prescriptions, measurements, or restrictions. Let me introduce you to the evidence- and practice-based eating model constructed by Ellyn Satter, a registered dietitian and an internationally recognized figure on eating and feeding. 

According to the Satter Eating Competence Model (eScatter), you are a competent eater if you follow these components:

1.    Positive Attitudes: You are positive about eating and food. You emphasize providing rather than depriving and seeking food rather than avoiding food.

2.    Food Acceptance skills: You are comfortable and flexible with food. You choose an ever-increasing variety of foods in satisfying amounts.

3.    Internal Regulation Skills: You tune in on and trust your internal regulators. You eat when you are hungry until you feel satisfied and stop, knowing that there is another meal or snack coming soon.

4.    Contextual Skills: You take feeding yourself seriously and plan ahead. You take time to eat regular, reliable meals and snacks and pay attention when eating 

This is a theory of eating that you can implement into your life no matter what specific diet you follow or what your goals are. Research has shown that “people who have high eating competence are healthier medically, physically, and emotionally. They have higher HDL and lower blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides.”2,3 This is because the model is based on the utility and effectiveness of biological, psychological, and social processes and it works by giving you stability.1

There are a lot of attitudes today that surround eating with being punishing, negative, or guilt-filled. This mindful practice of competent eating reminds us that there doesn’t have to be shame with eating. This might take time to master competent eating, but you can practice today by being a little more mindful, positive, and maybe forgiving during your next meal.

Here’s a few tips on how to be more mindful while eating:

1.    Breathe. Take a few breaths before diving into your meal. Take a moment and reflect how you are feeling. Are you stressed? Are you hungry? Are you rushed?

2.    Give gratitude. Acknowledge the labor that went into your meal-the farmers, animals, Mother Earth, the chefs and be thankful for the people who may be surrounding you at the table.

3.    Sit down. Try not to eat on the go. Sitting down will help you be more appreciative of your food and more aware of your experience.

4.    Turn off the TV or put down your phone. Distractions make us less aware of our eating.

5.    Chew slower. Dive deep into your senses. Appreciate the smell, the different textures and flavors. This will also help your brain receive messages that you’re full, and prevent you from overeating.

And just a reminder that food is fuel, food is love, and you need it to do all the amazing things that you are destined to do.


By: Aubrey Rockoff



1Satter E. Secrets of Feeding aHealthy Family. Madison WI: Kelcy Press. 2008. ISBN 978-0-9671189-2-5

2Satter EM. Eating Competence: Definition and evidence for the SatterEating Competence Model. J Nutr Educ Behav Suppl. 2007;39:S142-S153.

3 Psota T, Lohse B, West S.Associations between eating competence and cardiovascular disease biomarkers. JNutr Educ Behav. 2007; 39 (suppl):S171-S178

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Competent Eating: Learning To Love Your Fuel



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Cognitive Repairment | Superfood Packed Powerbowl Recipe

June 18, 2022

Simply put, the term superfood can be used to describe any food that provides health benefits as a result of exceptional nutrient density. As I experimented with adding various superfoods to my diet and experiencing the positive effects I decided to create an easy to make meal that would include several of the superfoods that are on my top ten list. I am excited to share with you the result of my efforts, this delicious PowerBowl that is all about brain health.

Research has shown that by altering your diet to include top superfoods in abundance while eliminating processed foods will have a major effect on improving cognitive function including memory, mental acuity, capacity and ability to manage stress. Here is a list highlighting the some benefits of the superfoods I combine in the PowerBowl.

SuperFood Benefits

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) : Olive Oil contain phenols - plant compounds that powerfully stimulate our bodies repair mechanisms. Oleocanthal is one phenol within that possesses anti-inflammatory benefits comparable to a small dose of ibuprofen. These extra healthy 14g of fat act like a slip-n-slide for key nutrients to be absorbed into the blood-brain barrier.

Avocado: Avocados are very rich in Vitamin E, at level basically unmatched by supplements. Vitamin E is excellent for boosting the brain's processing speed. Did you know: avocados contain twice as much potassium than bananas, a critical macro mineral that can only be found in our diet.

Dark Leafy Greens: A superior source of the vitamins folate and magnesium. Folate is found to be crucial in development during pregnancy. Magnesium is another critical macro mineral that can only be obtained through diet and is highly beneficial to the over 300 enzymes tasked with energy generations and repairing damaged DNA.

Almonds: Rich in polyphenols- plant defense compounds providing anti-oxidant effects on the body and the gut - where the good bacteria need to thrive.

Blueberries: Blueberries are among the highest in antioxidant capacity due to the abundance of flavonoids, a compound shown to cross the blood-brain barrier, enhancing signaling parts of the brain that handle memory.

Eggs: Egg Yolks contain a small amount of nearly every vitamin and mineral required by the human body. They are an abundant source of choline, which is important for both healthy cell membranes and a learning and memory neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.


One serving:

• 1/4 cup cooked Quinoa

• 2 1/2 cups Kale

• 1 cup diced Butternut Squash

• 1 cup diced Avocado

• 1/2 cup Cherry Tomatoes

• 1/4 cup sliced raw Almonds

• 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

• 1 oz fresh blueberries

Low Carb Option - substitute quinoa with one egg sunny side up


Bake squash at 425 degrees for thirty minutes, flipping half way. Brush lightly with fresh maple syrup for a carmelized crunch. (my preference). Combine quinoa, kale, squash, tomatoes in a large bowl and toss with EVOO. Add salt and pepper taste. Top with sliced almonds, blueberries and diced avocado.


Calories - 769

Protein - 16

Carbohydrates - 75

Fat - 45

Fiber - 23


Mark Ralyea, Chief Success Officer Catalyst Fitness Wehrle

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