I shouldn’t say I’m looking forward to leading a normal life, because I don’t know what normal is. Martina Navratilova
“I want to have a normal relationship with food,” I wrote, last week, in my “goal” post. That thought and that word have been running around in my brain for a very long time now. Normal.
I don’t know when I became “abnormal” with my eating. I am pretty sure I was not always this way. While I did not develop great eating habits growing up, they were “normal” eating habits, just not as healthy as they could have been. I suspect that sometime in all my yo-yo dieting I lost my way and without even realizing it, lost any semblance of food normalcy.
I’m not sure I even know what “normal” looks like. Or feels like. But I know it doesn’t look like me; like this.
Here is what I think it might mean for me to have a normal relationship with food:
I would not think about food all the time. Or, even, a lot of the time. And when I do think about food it is good thoughts – like planning meals. Not the “what can I eat next” or “what do I want now” or “what is calling my name” or “when is it okay for me next to eat” thoughts. I want to spend my afternoon, or evening, not thinking about what I should or should not be eating. I want to pick up a book or watch TV without immediately having my mind go to food. Out, out damn thoughts! (Yes, Lady MacBeth again.)
I want to control food instead of food controlling me. I want to take back my power that I have seemingly given away to an inanimate object that often ends up in my stomach. I want to “want” to eat healthy foods. I want to think about foods as fuel or sustenance or nutrition and eat accordingly. I want to develop healthy eating habits – habits! – that include lots of veggies and fruit and lean protein and whole grains and does not include overeating. I want to enjoy what I eat and not feel guilty about anything I choose to put in my mouth. But, I also want to choose to put in “good” things most of the time. I also want to be able to indulge now and then, in moderation. If in the moment I really want to, not just because “it’s there.” I want to be able to handle social situations without overeating, pre-cheating, resentment, or going on a huge eating bender that lasts way longer the the event itself.
I want to live a life where food is not the focus.
I want to NOT eat when I’m not hungry.
Then there are the food “obsessions.” The triggers or red-light foods. Foods I crave and think about all the time way too much. Foods I have sometimes “banned” because the longer I go without eating them the less I crave them until they seemingly give up their grip on me. I want to figure this out. Either conquer the obsessive notion and be able to eat everything in moderation, or, determine once and for all which foods I should just bar from my life and be happier and healthier because of it. The former seems more “normal” but maybe the latter is MY normal.
I want to get off the roller-coaster of yo-yo dieting that has held me captive on a scream-inducing ride for entirely too long now.
But the big question, the mystery, the conundrum, the quest – how do I get my normal back? Or find my new normal. Because I’m pretty sure the old one is broken beyond repair. So new is good. New and improved. Normal 2.0. Normal – the sequel. Just me and my normal.
Note: You know what they say about great minds thinking alike:) If you want to read some thought-provoking posts other bloggers have written along these same lines, check out these posts by Marsial, Sharon, and Ellen.