Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 21st, 2014 Finding Our Normal

October 21st, 2014 Finding Our Normal

One of the things I've given a lot of thought to lately is, what does it mean to be "normal?" I've concluded "normal" is a relative term. Your normal isn't my normal. We're all different.
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This guy wanted to be normal. He wanted to have a normal relationship with food. He had fixed in his mind a vision of what it meant for him to be normal, you know, like people who are of normal weight with normal eating behaviors who wear normal clothing. To him, in order to be normal, he had to simply eat less and exercise more, yeah--that would be some kind of normal. 

What this guy failed to recognize is, he was already normal. He was his normal. In order to achieve weight loss success, the perspective on "normal" had to change. It couldn't be someone else's normal, it had to be his own kind of normal. He could mimic someone else's normal for a while, but eventually his normal would override the abnormal impersonation of normal--and everything would go back to being his normal. 

Okay--enough of the third person--it's annoying. What I had to embrace was my normal. I had to let go of the idea that I wasn't normal because in that, I was constantly suggesting I wasn't good enough or something was wrong with me. I am good enough and there's nothing wrong with me--as long as I'm not trying to be someone else's normal.

My normal is: I'm addicted to sugar and if consumed, it triggers bio-chemical reactions that send me searching for more and more--and not just sugary items--I'm talking loads of carbs and high fat-- it's on!! Nothing trips my trigger like sugar--it is my normal. So I abstain, one day at a time--and it's my normal and I'm okay. 

I enjoy a drink of alcohol on rare occasion, perhaps once or twice, maybe three times a year. It doesn't negatively effect me beyond a slight feeling of intoxication. It doesn't trip anything for me. That's my normal. I have close friends with decades of sobriety, who--if they tried to mimic my normal, it would ruin their lives for who knows how long, maybe even kill them before they found recovery again. That's their normal. So they abstain, one day at a time, it's their normal and they're okay.

Embracing my normal is imperative to my success. My normal means that I take extraordinary care with food. My normal means no sugar. My normal means I remain active in seeking and offering support. My normal requires my attention and a rock solid commitment in doing what I do for my recovery. I fiercely protect it and never apologize for it.

I know many people who will enjoy their share of Halloween candy in a couple of weeks and it'll not be a big deal at all. That's their normal. If I tried to mimic their normal, you would witness a much different turnaround on these pages.

The biggest key for me to be my best, requires me to embrace and accept my normal, not someone else's. I hope and pray I spend the rest of my life celebrating my normal. Because if I do, I can't lose. 

This is what "finding what works for you" is all about. Sometimes that statement is misunderstood to mean "Find the plan or procedure" that works for you. I'm suggesting that "finding what works" for you and me, starts with honestly defining our personal normal, then fashioning a plan that gives us what we need.

I no longer want to be some idealized version of "normal," I just want to be mine.
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For some reason, I was feeling a bit off this morning and I reached for some snacks. I'm not a big snack guy, but as you'll see in the below tweets, I had a mid-morning snack and a late morning snack. It's uncharacteristic of me. It isn't necessarily bad--I mean, really, eating several small meals a day is a good thing. I simply had to stop and acknowledge my reasons for reaching for those two snacks wasn't because I necessarily needed it at the time--it was likely because I was stressed and tired. I kept it within my budget. I made sure it remained in my food plan. And it was okay. But it was important for me to understand what was happening and how I was reacting.

I had a busy afternoon at work followed by a grocery trip and dinner preparations before the Tuesday night support group conference call. It was a great call with 100% attendance seven weeks in--that's a big deal!

My workout tonight was very nice. I've been focusing on the music more and more and when I do--when I allow myself to get lost in it, I always get an amazing workout. When my workout falls short is usually when I share that time with all of the thoughts and concerns of the day. Gifting myself that workout time and deciding to "clear my mental schedule" for its duration, is extremely effective.

My Tweets today:






















Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Strength,
Sean

23 comments:

  1. Brilliant post, Sean. I especially liked this paragraph:
    "This is what "finding what works for you" is all about. Sometimes that statement is misunderstood to mean "Find the plan or procedure" that works for you. I'm suggesting that "finding what works" for you and me, starts with honestly defining our personal normal, then fashioning a plan that gives us what we need."

    That hit me right between the eyes.

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    1. Becky, I'm so glad it resonated deeply for you. Thank you.

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  2. PS-- On a lighter note, have you ever seen one of these? You hold it on top of an apple, press down, and it removes the core and gives you perfect slices. : )

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Farberware-Red-Apple-Sectioner/14964900

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    1. I have but I haven't bought one just yet! I don't know what I'm waiting for, really. I still cut with a knife by hand--and sometimes cut my hand in the process!

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  3. That was a great workout!!!! I love your sweet potatoes.. I can hardly wait for those to go dirt cheap for the holidays.

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    1. Thank you! I'm looking forward to the super cheap prices, too!!

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  4. I found all about a new kind of normal having special needs children in my life. I can appreciate it all now.

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    1. Yes, absolutely you can. Blessings to you...

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  5. What a good post Sean. I will be thinking about this today, I think I have always tried to find someone else's normal rather than my own. This for sharing!

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    1. Thank you Alati! I'm happy it provoked deep thought within you!

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  6. Great post my friend! While our "normal" changes a little as we change, the core of who we are doesn't.

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  7. Embrace the new normal , Sean. I abstain from most processed sugar and all grains. It's a fantastic normal of few binge urges, health, and a lean body after 40 years of yo-yo dieting.

    Once I got comfortable with stopping moderation of junk food ( everyone else's idea of normal) and embraced my new normal, I found long term weight maintence and recovery.

    Here's to your new normal!

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    1. Oh Karen-- yes yes YES!! "Once I got comfortable with stopping moderation of junk food ( everyone else's idea of normal) and embraced my new normal, I found long term weight maintence and recovery." <<< THAT IS HUGE. I'm embracing!

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    2. Whoot, Whoot!!! You are not alone!

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  8. I love the idea of having to change "your" normal in order to get to what you "think" is normal.

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  9. Thought-provoking post, Sean. What's key for me is acknowledging that I've been treating habits--like feeling bad about myself, overeating, not exercising for fear of increasing the pain I already have, disconnected, and feeling teary and paralyzed about the future--as "my normal." It's become "normal" for me to feel awful (such a weak adjective. . .).

    So, the epiphany here, to spell it out for myself...is that my habits alone don't equal "normal." Normal means the routines, habits, thoughts, support required to lead a balanced life with a reasonable number of ups and downs that swing only moderately in either direction, with self-confidence, and enthusiastic energy for living.

    Wow. I think I love you. :)

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    1. Can I say your name? I know your name! Uh--I'll just say...
      S, You spelled it out so wonderfully. This is IT.
      Thank you, my friend!

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  10. Bravo, Sean! Love this post as most of yours are spot on of what I am thinking lately. My new norm is not my husbands norm. He does not understand me at all any more. Of course he had a partner in crime in eating, if we went out we ate, car ride, eat.. everything was associated with eating with us. NOT good. Not my norm. Here is the funny thing as I think and ponder your words today. I don't think that was ever my "norm." I believe I just did it because I was so unhappy in job and other things. I love my new norm. For me it works. Even with criticisms , I llove that I have control, that is my new norm! Oh and by the way, I've lost another 4 bls! I did do a bit more eating to get me going like you said and did not weigh every day...and boom! Thanks for the advice!
    Rosie

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    1. Rosie--I'm so incredibly excited for you!!! You trusted the process and the metabolism started firing up again! You're very welcome for the advice! Fantastic!!

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  11. Ha. "Normal" must have been the word for yesterday. I did a blog post on it, too--prompted by a post by Lyn over at Escape from Obesity. Karen's comment above sums up my take on it pretty well.

    The snacky feeling. Isn't it something that even after all of these months, when stress (or some other dis-ease) hits, reaching for food is still the default coping mechanism? Blessedly, you chose healthy snacks and stayed w/in your budget, but that reflex remains. A good reminder for us all to never become complacent, I think.

    I have to say that I am looking forward to the time when I have 6 months clean and my coping reflex is met, as yours was, without a binge and within plan.

    Deb

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    1. So right, Deb-- the reflex remains. We must never become complacent! Staying aware and present during these moments--and trying to satisfy that urge in a reasonable way, or walking away from it, isn't easy. But it is possible. I'm okay with this increased awareness being a big part of my "normal." :) Thank you, Deb!

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