Those who know me, know that “normal” is not something I am or will ever want to be. We are very unique creatures and it is our differences that make us wonderful.
The “normal” I am talking about is your normal. By this I mean it is about creating habits and things in your life that are simply so normal you don’t even really have to think about them.
Things like brushing your teeth or using the bathroom. These are all normal things that we do with very little thought. If we skipped brushing our teeth for a day or so it would feel weird. This routine, or your normal way of doing things is what we want to change, and we want to center these new habits around your weight and lifestyle.
But more than that we want to create a NEW normal when it comes to your body. Think about it for a minute.
When you decide to go on a diet or exercise program to lose weight, firstly you change everything dramatically, and you usually set a time limit. You go in with the mindset that this change is temporary. That as soon as you lose the weight, you can go back to the way you were used to eating. You figure that you will make lifestyle changes enough to make this happen. Either way what you are doing is not your normal behavior. You long to sit on the couch and eat cake again because that is what you normally do.
It reflects on your weight as well. Chances are you have gotten used to being the weight you currently are. This bigger size is your normal weight, especially if this is how you have been for a long time – or even most of your life. You may go up and down a little but you stay about the same size.
This is why when you try to lose the weight, you end up going back up to your normal. It is what you have programmed yourself to be. We will visit the beliefs that cause this next, but first let’s look at CHOOSING your new normal.
At the beginning of a year, many years ago. It was time to make New Year’s resolutions. Same as every other year, my idea was to lose weight. Except that this time it was different. Why? Because the thought of having to go through the whole diet and exercise process again was just too much to even think about, let alone do.
I thought “This is crazy. I don’t want to be this fat person always looking to lose weight or trying to keep it off. I want to be naturally thin. To not even have to think about all this stuff”.
How much time do you spend thinking about losing weight? Or trying to keep It off? Or imagining what your life will be like when you have achieved the goal you have wanted for so long.
Think about all the time you spend thinking about food. You may have asked yourself… Is this food healthy? Or will this make me fat? Should I get this delicious, mouthwatering food NOW, because I feel an overwhelming urge that is controlling me? Or am I feeling deprived without it? Am I eaten up with guilt and constantly chastising myself for bad choices when eating those foods I think I shouldn’t?
I mean, think of all that time you spend just thinking about food. Now add in all the time you might actually spend making it all happen. It gets really is crazy sometimes and I didn’t want it to be that way the rest of my life. I have so many other things I would love to spend my time doing!
Then I thought about the people who don’t have to think about all of this stuff. They just think about what they are going to eat when they are hungry, and they add in some fitness to shape their bodies and improve their health. Besides that, they don’t stress about it all day everyday.
I confess. I was a food addict. So most of my time was spent obsessing about food. What I was going to eat next, how I was going to get my next sugar fix, and how sick I felt from eating so much – just to repeat the whole cycle again if not the same day, the next day. Day in and day out, this was my normal.
It was then I started to change that mindset. I decided that I was going to be naturally thin. Yes, DECIDED!
This is when I started looking into what naturally thin people do.
For most of us we over think eating. For example: When you are about to eat something, how often do you think…
“I shouldn’t eat this because it is bad for me”
“This will make me fat”
“If I eat this then I will have to go and burn it off”
and so on.
One day I asked my eldest son what he thought about when he went to eat something. He looked at me puzzled and said “What do you mean?”
My son was 16 at the time, and six foot tall. He was so naturally thin that he had a six pack without even trying. He was the perfect person to ask. So I explained what I thought about before, during and after I eat something.
He looked at me and said “I don’t think of anything like that, I just think of getting full”.
That was it. Not thoughts of good or bad or what will happen if he ate something, and he eats twice as much if not more than I do, but was half the size. He was just focused on getting full.
It was like a light bulb went off. I decided that was what I was going to focus on too.
Just like we talked about when we discussed DIEts, telling yourself that you can’t have something makes you want it more. Telling yourself that something will make you fat, or if you are filled with guilt over eating, then it may cause real physical effects in your body.
From this point forward your new normal is to eat to get full. That is it. No guilt, no over-thinking, just full.
The best way to get full is by eating nutritious food. You body wants to be nourished and it will remain hungry until it feels full.
We will cover this more later but for now simply start by adding in food that is closer to it’s natural source so that it fills you up.
What those foods will be, is different for everyone, but this is where you get to do a little experimenting. See what you enjoy and what fills you up.
Just as I have mentioned before, you also need to take your time eating your food. The process of really tasting your food and actually chewing it really well is part of the eating process that we seem to have lost somewhere. Your stomach needs time to catch up with your brain when it comes to feeling full so the slower you eat and the more you actually chew your food, allows this process to happen naturally. This makes it so much harder to overeat.
It takes a bit of focus to start with but soon this becomes a natural habit. A new normal as we say. This is something that is not a fad or a temporary thing. It is the way that works with our minds and bodies, which fits right in with what we are doing right now.
The next thing I discovered on my journey was adjusting to my normal weight.
By this I mean, what weight felt normal to me.
One of the biggest changes that I found I made was that once I dropped a certain amount of weight, I stayed that size. I went down a bit then went back to some bad habits but my weight only went up a tiny bit if any. No where near as much as before. Then I dropped some more and the same thing happened.
What was actually happening was something incredible. My mind adjusted to this new size for starters. I remember driving back from a specialist appointment for my son. It was a two hour drive and the whole time my upper arms felt uncomfortable. It felt like my shirt sleeves were too tight on my arms, but there was no shirt there. It wasn’t because of my clothes, but because I was getting bigger again. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. Like being squeezed into clothes that are too small but this was my skin. The next day, I went back into the normal mode of eating and I continued dropping weight again.
As I repeated this process for the last 24 months, I find now that my normal is much different than before. The eating that was once my normal was very irregular. My new normal is eating smaller amounts of nutritious food and drinking plenty of water. I now eat small amounts whenever I feel hungry and quiet often I forget to eat at all, which before would be a very, very rare thing. My new normal is for me to be active and want to move my body. This is a new thing too, as the first part of my journey I didn’t exercise at all.
Now is the time for you to chose your new normal.
This new normal is not a number on the scales. The number on the scale can be very deceiving. What you new normal will be, depends on your lifestyle and what you desire your ideal size to be. It is how you will feel about yourself now and in the future.
My new normal includes things like not being sqwished in a seat between other people. I like not having clothes that feel like they will burst. I like walking through the regular clothing section of stores (not the plus size section) and knowing I can fit into these clothes. I like being able to take a selfie and I like what I see. Now I find people are more willing to come up and talk to me too. Little things mean a lot!
What does your new normal look like?