A New Normal

Week 43 -Monday 6AM
I open my eyes. I want to jump up and run downstairs to weigh myself. I want to validate that I am doing something right. I will not go downstairs, I will stay in bed. If the number on the scale is higher than I expect it to be, I could be disappointed and mope around the rest of the day trying to decide if my new lifestyle is working for me. If the number is less than what I expect, I could go all vain and ignore the other good changes in my life. If the number is exactly what I think it will be, I will be validated…
Oh, that’s right, I’m not supposed to be using the number on the scale to tell me if I am worthy. After working on this concept for 43 weeks, the same time frame as a pregnancy, you would think I wouldn’t have to re-remember this every morning. Its not the digital blue number that is the problem, it’s the way I interpret it. I infuse it with meaning about respect and pride and love and worthiness. The scale doesn’t just tell me how much I weigh, it tells who I am, it predicts who I could be, it shows me my failures and celebrates my victories. Shouldn’t I want to know the reality of my weight? Its 6 am and already I’m overthinking. I feel like this is part of my DNA or something.

The above was an excerpt from my journal over a year ago.  I usually go to my journal only when I want to get ideas for articles, but sometimes I see an entry that defined me and I wonder how I even made it through that time.

I am in a completely different mindset now.  I haven’t thought about my weight in months.  I haven’t binged in two years.  My life seems almost boring compared to the times when I actively struggled with food and my body. I am what I always dreamed of being, a normal eater.  And, like many things we aspire to, its not as glamorous as it seemed.  But I am happy and content, which is something I never thought I would say.

Sometimes I wonder if I am too confident, if something will happen that will break me down and send me running back to food.  But my life is not perfect, in fact sometimes it downright stinks, and I haven’t used food to soothe my soul yet.  I don’t even want to.  Now that I can eat anything I want anytime I want, eating doesn’t hold the mystique for me it used to.  It’s a normal function of everyday life. Ho hum.

When I first realized that chocolate cake didn’t really turn me on anymore, it was a letdown.  But I have learned to do many other things to bring fun and enjoyment to my life.  One of those things is to accept and love myself, not in an arrogant way, but in a…well, a normal way.

If you struggle with food or depression or anxiety or self pity, or any other thing that you want to change in your life, just know that you can change to create a new normal.  But first you must accept yourself the way you are at this very moment.  Instead of trying to change what you don’t like about yourself, like everything about yourself and change those things that don’t fit in with the person you want to be.


“Instead of trying to change what you don’t like about yourself, like everything about yourself and change those things that don’t fit in with the person you want to be.” MD stmaryseditedaaaaa

10 thoughts on “A New Normal

  1. Many believe gaining control over eating will create BOTH weight loss and happiness. The PROCESS of gaining control requires finding quality substitutes for food and (more specifically) eating. You have obviously found these substitutes since food is no longer your “crutch” for stress, anxiety, depression or any other issue you used food to temporarily moderate. Finding joy in life and its opportunities is a big hurdle for many. The information you share will make other people believe overcoming food is truly possible. I hope they realize how important Meaning, Purpose and Passion in life is as well. These three words often prevent the recurring cycles of personal failure so many people experience.

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    1. After reading your comment a few times, I had to make a new reply. I enjoy reading your blog and I agree with you that meaning, passion and purpose are important things to have in life and will help with overeating. But, with all respect, I don’t agree that gaining control over food means finding substitutes for eating. If you had said overeating, that would be more accurate, but in reality, there is no substitute for eating. Trying to find a substitute for eating or even overeating is not advice I would give. I believe that only when we allow ourselves to eat without trying to control it or feel guilt about it, is when we will feel satisfied and not need to eat too much. This is the crux of my philosophy and the main point I try to get across. For me, overcoming overeating meant allowing myself to eat with no guilt. Once I could do this, I found myself with more time and energy to pursue more pleasurable things. And that in turn, helped me to make better food choices, which I think is your point. Thanks for reading my blog.

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      1. Thank you for taking the time and effort to write your reply. Dialogue is important to see life from different perspectives.

        The concept I was attempting to convey was NOT gaining control over eating, but rather gaining control over our responses to daily living. Whether people over eat or simply improperly eat, gaining cognitive awareness and control is important. Discovering “things” of relevance that can satisfy personal needs can displace an emotional reason for turning to unhealthy food choices. The better one’s “arsenal” of “things,” the greater the chances for restoring hormonal balance resulting in fewer episodes of addictive cravings. This acts as a positive feedback loop. These “things” are NOT designed to substitute for eating, but rather fill a greater purpose toward achieving qualitative satisfaction with LIFE. The focus, again, is NOT on food; the focus is on the undiscovered opportunities that enhance positive experiences. These are often obstructed behind the “pleasure center” in our brain that instinctively triggers a reaction to cope with chronic stress.

        The “controling” of FOOD CHOICES becomes a natural END RESULT of the proocess rather than a “controlled” behavior. This leads to “guiltless” comfort food decisions without harmful reprecussions. This concept provides a HEALTHY alternative approach to balancing unhealthy stress with unhealthy foods (which typically only temporarily quells emotional challenges anyway.) When this alternative approach is chosen based on clarity and awareness, it rarely leads to the common compromised health outcomes we see today.

        Thank you again for your response. I appreciate you and all the hard work you’ve undertaken. I know many people will turn their lives around as a result of reading what you’ve accomplished.

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      2. I appreciate your taking time to write a clarification, and on a Saturday to boot! I, too, think dialogue is important and am learning a lot from this process. And thanks for the encouragement!

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  2. Yes, I found that many other favorite foods aren’t favorites anymore. At first it was a let down, but now I can explore so many other foods and flavors. I think I am at the point of no return to bingeing. If I have any regrets it’s only that I cannot package up my experience and give it to someone else who is struggling. It really is amazing.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your process. I really relate to the fear of something happening to send you back to bingeing but I do think we reach the point of no return. Something in us knows how good it feels to eat normally and helps us to find other ways to look after ourselves emotionally. However, it’s such a disappointment to discover that chocolate cake doesn’t actually possess magical properties, isn’t it? Wonderful post, thanks Merri.

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