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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Becoming "Normal"

More than wanting to be thin, I wanted to have a "normal" relationship with food.  I didn't want to think about food all the time.  I didn't want to be constantly chastising myself for what I was eating or what I wished I was eating or what I wasn't eating.  I believed it was possible to eat when I was hungry and stop when I was full.  I believed that I could eat all foods in moderation; that nothing had to be off-limits.  I believed these things, but I'd never actually lived them.

As long as I can remember, food played a disproportionate role in my life.  I was a thin child and a thin teen and a thin adult until I was 29.  But through all those years, I felt out of control with food.  I felt like if I permitted myself to eat the way I wanted to eat, I'd weigh 500 lbs.  Events were about the food I could eat, the food I couldn't eat, and the food I wanted to eat. 

I had no idea how to obtain this normal food relationship.  I read books.  I went to Overeaters Anonymous.  I went through eating disorder treatment.  I remember trying to defend myself to my ex-boyfriend, Eddie, (who had food issues of his own) when it came to having certain foods around our home.  I had taken to buying a tube of uncooked cookie dough and having a bit, raw, as dessert.  He believed that I was deluding myself by having that stuff around.  He thought that with my past food issues, I should abstain from eating sweets and fats FOREVER.  He said that the fact that I was so attached to those foods proved that I wasn't eating them "normally", that I was being compulsive about having sweets and eventually I would binge on them.

One thing I have learned about myself is that other people can really influence my confidence in my beliefs.  I thought that I could eat sweets in moderation, but when Eddie questioned it, I became defensive and resumed my previous "sneaky" food behavior.  And eventually I binged because for me sneaking food is a part of that binge behavior.

But I don't want to talk about Eddie just right now.  I want to talk about the other part of it.  I want to talk about trying to have a "normal" relationship with food.  I want to talk about what that means and how we go about getting it.

See, I think I have a normal relationship with food right now.  At least as normal as I've ever had.  I'm not compulsive about food.  I don't obsess about food.  I don't think about food all the time.  I eat what I want.  I stop when I'm full.  I don't "go off program" because there's no program to go off of.  I do what I do.  I don't always make good food choices.  Sometimes I overeat.  Sometimes I eat when I'm not hungry.  But most of the time, I'm pretty normal.  And when I do make a mistake, it doesn't last long and I don't struggle to resume "normal" behaviors.

I don't know how I got here, to be honest.  I know it has to do with finally stopping dieting and stopping beating myself up about food.  I know, too, that having my lap-band to tell me when I've had enough is a HUGE part of my success.  I don't know if I could have done it without that.  But I also know that there's more to it than simply having weight loss surgery.  I read other blogs where people talking about needing to get their mojo back, needing to do a 5-day pouch test to get back on track, needing to go to the gym again and I understand those feelings, but I also recognize that I don't feel that way now.  To me that sounds like how I felt BEFORE I had surgery when I was always thinking I needed to "do" something - go on a diet, start an exercise routine, SOMETHING.  I wish I could give some concrete advice so that others could have what I have, because it is amazing to be free from all that crap. 

   

15 comments:

Amy W. said...

Im gonna tell you, I dont think I will ever get there. Maybe because I dont think I will then I am fulfilling my prophecy. But I can tell you that I dont think an hour goes by that I do not think of food in some aspect. It's constant. I often wonder what dilleniates between those that can move on and those that can't.

MandaPanda said...

Great post! I don't think everyone gets to a zen place with food. I'm one of those always needing to "do" something but it's usually activity based. I feel better when I go to the gym and not just for the exercise part. It gives me a break from my hubby and kids and allows my mind to truly wander. The more I work with my band, the more I feel closer to where you are with the whole "everything in moderation" piece.

Theresa aka Tessie Rose said...

Excellent post! I think my relationship with food is healthier than it has ever been, but I don't think I'll ever be completely free from my pre-occupation with food,though.

Bonnie said...

You are very lucky. I had hoped the band would get me to the point you are, but so far it has not. However, it does help and I am glad I got the surgery.

amandakiska said...

I am not trying to say I don't have my "moments". I do think about food a lot, at times. This past weekend on two seperate occassions I fixed a snack when I was so-not- hungry. I think everyone has to watch what they eat to some extent, and I am no exception. Hope that clarifies!

Shannon said...

going into getting the band as it being a life change totally made the difference for me. I wasn't going at it like this was a diet. I started thinking this is for the rest of your life. this is for healthy kids in your future this is so in 20years your not dieing from uncontrolled diabetis. When you mind follows it's amazing what happens to your body and thought process.

great post

Leslie said...

Great post. It really got me thinking. I'm in a much better place with food but I still have days when I struggle. I think a big part for me is not beating myself up. If I accept my struggles and just let go of them then I do better and don't get stuck in that hopeless feeling of failing.

Amanda said...

Fantastic post. I am just in the beginning stages of weight loss surgery. 3 months out..and I constantly think about food. I think if I've had to much or not enough on and on. I am not so worried about the types of food I eat but more about the quantity.

The Cozy (not crazy) Coconut said...

YOu are so right - I've always wondered what it must be like to be 'normal' or not really care much about food. Its always controlled me. I'm not sure if I'll get there - I have so many great memories of family time that definitely centered around food. Always. The best times in my life have been about and involved food. My husband, on the other hand, could take it or leave it. If he can make they annoyance in his stomach go away by just drinking water, that's what he does. He regularly skips lunch b/c he doesn't feel like troubling himself with eating. I wish I could live like that.
I do feel like some days I am there. Other days I fall behind. Great thought provoking post - thanks!!

Drazil said...

Great post - I sooo want this too but I'm not sure I'll ever have it. I'll keep trying though and following your lead.

Amanda said...

Good post...we are similar in that I didn't become heavy until about 26. Talk about an unfortunate time to look your worst - mid twenties!

Lyla said...

This is great!

I'm on my way to normal. It's a heck of a lot better than it used to be, when I would stop almost every day to get something because I couldn't bear the thought of having to "make do" with something that was in my house. The fact that I come home every day without obsessing about what I'm going to eat for dinner is the first step to normal and I like it a lot.

Ronnie said...

Having a healthy relationship with food is the holy grail. I can't wait til I'm in your shoes. I always ask myself, "What would Amanda do?" ;)

Tori said...

The best part of this post is the hope that it gives me that one day after lots of practice I too wont have to obsess about food. LOVE that idea.

Lee Ann said...

great post amanda. i'm gonna write down some things you said in the first paragraph b/c that's how i feel. i just want to stop thinking/obsessing about this all the time. if i don't i get fat. i just want a normal relationship with food--i want that more than being thin. i just want to stop being hungry and feel normal. the only time i felt normal was when a medicine called topamax took away the everpresent hunger and also when i was in the early stages of pregnancy---for me it wasn't morning sickness---it just took away my constant hunger and i was only hungry at normal times and didn't think about food otherwise. it felt so liberating.