Redefining Normal

- POSTED ON: Sep 18, 2011



What does normal mean?

The dictionary defines normal as:

* conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern;
* relating to average intelligence or development;
*  free from mental disorder: sane.

With regards to weight, normal is defined as
having a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9.

Many people consider the word “normal”
to mean “average”.

“Normal” is different things to different people.
Each of us have our own definition of what “normal” is.
Our viewpoint is influenced by our family and friends,
and our cultural and social background.

 The advertising media is part of our social background,
and have had a large part in shaping our concepts of “normal”
in our own lives, and the lives of our parents,
and even the lives of our grandparents and great-grandparents.

So, we tend to define “normal”
based on what we have been TOLD is normal.
The word for being not normal is “abnormal”.
The word “abnormal” simply means deviating from the normal or average,
but that word has a strongly negative connotation for most of us.

  Why is “normal” even important?
Because deep inside, most of us believe that
being “normal” is good, and
while being better than normal is good,
being “abnormal” is bad.

What is considered “normal” eating in our culture?

* Hamburgers go with french fries and a soda or milkshake.

*  Sandwiches go with potato chips and a soda.

*  Ice cream, cakes, pies, cookies. candy and other sweet desserts
should be frequently eaten as part of our normal meals;
as snacks; during social events; and especially all during holidays.

*  Chips and crackers and popcorn are acceptable between meal options
as well as excellent side dishes.

*  Cold cereals (most of which are 90%+ sugar)
are optional and suitable breakfast foods.

While dieting, those of us with weight problems
learn to eat differently than “normal” while we are losing weight.
But most of us expect to return to “normal” eating,
once we’ve achieved our goal weight.
  Unfortunately, when we do this, we regain our lost weight plus more,
and we beat ourselves up emotionally…because we aren’t “normal”.

I’ve found that in order to succeed at maintaining my large weight-loss,
it has been necessary for me to redefine normal.
My ongoing job is to establish a NEW normal.
That is what a change in lifestyle actually means.

Leave me a comment.

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Existing Comments:

On Sep 19, 2011 wrote:
Absolutely, and it can be annoying. I actually started incorporating more vegetables, and colorful, intense ones, not a cup of lettuce, into my meals years ago. I still find it frustraing that I can't get a plate of food that is about half bright, un-mushy vegetables; that it is considered normal to have a whole plate of all dense foods for a meal. I used to say that losing weight was like trying to become an Olympic athlete because it was so all-encompassing in terms of lifestyle. Actually, I was making it harder than it had to be, but I think for the morbidly obese, it still is. The consistent change in thought patterns in order to maintain the actual habits is an enormous task. I still marvel that some people have done it.

On Sep 19, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Oolala, yes, the task of redefining normal for oneself is like "swimming upstream" and can often feel frustrating and annoying.

On Sep 19, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
Oh, that last post sounded disjointed but I'm not going to correct it. Just wanted to say I might be driving my colleagues crazy because I spoke up against the "normal" habit people have of pushing others to have sweets when the other person is wavering. I said today that we have so many cues pushing us to eat; I don't want the lunch room to be a prison but that I thought it was just as nice for use to encourage someone not to give in to random junk- not from a weight loss POV but just as a general good practice. It got quiet. Maybe I have to eat alone.

On Sep 19, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
             oolala, Many of the opinions that you and I share are generally unpopular ones. One of the reasons for DietHobby is that it provides me with an appropriate place to express my opinions, which helps me keep them to myself when I'm with society in general. I doubt if you need to eat alone, but please feel free to share your opinions, on these subjects, here at any time.

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