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    Old 08-21-2005, 10:10 PM   #1
    LS289
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    What really is "normal?"

    What is normal in EATING? in EXERCISING? in OVEREATING? in DRINKING? in everything, really???

    I'm asking because last night I went to a BIG dinner for my brother's bday at a steakhouse and ate a lot of food. Bread to start, tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad with olive oil and vinegar, Filet mignon, roasted vegetables, 2 glasses of red wine, a few bites of creme brulee, and a few tiny chocolate mint candies. I let myself feel ok about it b/c it was a celebration, but today I was wondering...do most people compensate the next day after a big meal like that? Do they eat lighter and exercise more? Do they dwell on it? Or is it normal to have a meal like that every once in a while and not have to think twice about it?

    Today was my day that I was going to "compensate," but I didn't do such a good job at it. Here is what I ate:
    Breakfast-apple, blueberries, banana, lowfat cottage cheese, flaxseed
    coffee with nonfat milk
    lunch-6 slices turkey with LF pita chips and 1/2 of a tomato
    Dinner-big salad with peas, corn, garbanzo beans, tomato and LF dressing
    Dessert-nonfat frozen yogurt
    And I did not exercise (my muscles felt really tired/sore)...

    What about exercise? If I am running 5-6 miles almost everyday now and I eat very healthy, then what happens if I stop? Will I gain a bunch of weight? I exercise all the time, but I have a couple of friends that never go to the gym and seem to eat almost the same as me and don't gain weight. And I know that it all comes down to "calories in, calories out", but what about casually speaking...not technically speaking? If I were to not exercise (or not exercise as much) and eat healthy foods when I'm hungry, then would I most likely be a normal weight? I just get so confused sometimes about what I should be doing or what is normal...WHAT IS NORMAL!???

     
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    Old 08-22-2005, 07:48 AM   #2
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    Re: What really is "normal?"

    Hi

    I think everybody's bodies are different and how they've been conditioned, so to speak. I think our jobs play a part in it, too. I have a sedentary job where I sit and I can't even take a drink of water for hours. My hubby is on his feet all day. We're on the same eating plan, and he's lost twice as much as me. I didn't take care of myself when I was younger, and I'm paying for it now. These things IMO all have to be taken into consideration to figure out what is "normal" for you.

    I think the proof of this is how some lose weight with only cardio; others need weights or strength training; others need both cardio and weights/strength training. Some do well with low-fat/low-cal; others do well with low-carb or vegetarian.

    I think you really just need to listen to your body. If you don't run for a few days and eat your normal diet (which looks great, BTW) and your shorts are tight, you may need to exercise a little more. If you go crazy with food on a holiday or a birthday, listen to your body the next few days and try to figure out what it's telling you.

    FWIW, for the past six weeks, I had been eating absolutely no processed foods. I even make my own bread and salad dressings. Well, I had a death in the family on Saturday morning and ate out almost all day on Saturday...not really bad stuff, but like a turkey sandwich on a specialty bread with cheese (boy, have I missed real cheese!), an olive relish and olive oil; some premade low-fat dips and pitas from the store. Man, was my stomach upset the next day! I realized unless I never want to eat out again, I probably should be eating some processed foods just for social purposes. My diet of no processed foods was not "normal" for me, and my body told me so when I ate something that wasn't completely homeade.

    HTH...I'm curious to see what others say, too. Very interesting

    Lysne

     
    Old 08-22-2005, 10:15 AM   #3
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    Re: What really is "normal?"

    LS,

    Normal is NOT thinking about food, exercise, weight, compensation/guilt, good/bad foods ALL THE TIME. I try my best to eat healthy and I am active, but I don't think about it a lot or ever feel the need to compensate. I'm not suggesting that you don't have other things on your mind, but from reading your posts, it seems that you think about the above mentioned things a lot.
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    Old 08-22-2005, 10:17 AM   #4
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    Re: What really is "normal?"

    Normal means not compensating. A celebration is a celebration- it's not going to cause you to gain weight overnight. Normal means that when your muscles are tired, rest and don't feel guilty. Normal means eating junk foods if you crave them or if that's all that's available, and not freaking out because you couldn't eat a super low fat, low cal, high fibre/protein meal/snack. Normal means eating when/what/where you want, how much you want and feeling satisfied that your meal was delicious and satisfying, and NOT thinking about the calories you just ate and how you're going to purge them. Normal means listening to your body- not always your mind- about eating. If you like that cake and you want a slice, go for it..don't punish yourself because your mind tells you it's not an apple. Normal means eating a huge variety of foods- both good and 'bad' and not feeling guilty for eating one thing over another. Normal means only remembering meals for the memories that came with it, and not for their calorie or nutritional content. Normal means trying to eat healthy when possible, but not feeling guilty or upset when its NOT possible or when you crave something else.

    If you were to continue what you were eating and not exercise so obsessively, you would most likely NOT gain weight. Your mind would definately tell you that you have, but you wouldn't. You aren't eating that much, and when you do it's extremely healthy, to the point where it's not really..normal. Your celebration meal was VERY healthy and it really was NOT that much...most people would eat that plus a whole creme brulee or other dessert, and not feel guilty at all. And the day afterwards looks VERY healthy, and to a healthy person, that menu WOULD be compensating. There was nothing wrong with what you ate, and it wasn't that much. The fact that you're tried after doing the exercise you've been doing for a while suggests youre doing TOO MUCH. I highly recommend you cut down on exercise- run only every other day, and don't double up on those days either. Your body NEEDS to rest and you can't keep running it so strictly- its exhausting and is clearly putting a strain on your- physically and mentally.

     
    Old 08-23-2005, 08:58 AM   #5
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    Re: What really is "normal?"

    Yes, the others are right. You do NOT eat enough and you do too much cardio. I would try weight training and less cardio to prevent muscle loss which is probably occuring since your underweight for your height.

     
    Old 08-23-2005, 10:56 AM   #6
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    Re: What really is "normal?"

    I know I eat very healthy MOST of the time, but that is what makes me feel good! And so does running! I am thin, but I honestly don't think it is because I undernourish myself. Maybe my view of "healthy" is just THAT skewed, but I really don't think so.

    I try not to think about food/exercise too much, but then I think about not thinking about it and I end up thinking about it more! It's like an obsession. And it's not an obsession in the sense that I won't eat or I run 10 miles a day, it's just that I like what I do and how I feel, so I want to keep things the same, ya know?

     
    Old 08-23-2005, 01:16 PM   #7
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    Re: What really is "normal?"

    Except you don't..really.. I mean, you do like the idea of yourself being thin, but at the same time the thought of gaining even an ounce nearly cripples you. And it's clear that you don't enjoy feeling restricted to this diet that you've created for yourself, because if you didn't you wouldn't keep thinking and worrying and posting about it.

    You know very well that calories in must equal calories out in order to maintain a certain weight. Since you are underweight, you aren't getting enough calories IN. Jessicca is right- you need to cut back on cardio and start building up a little muscle so you don't ruin your body completely. YES, the scale will change, because muscle weighs more than fat, but you won't change physically (albeit being more toned and lean). Although I know you will probably have a lot of trouble with the numbers rising, for whatever reason. You don't eat enough for the exercise you do. Whether you take that to mean that you should cut back on exercise or you should eat more is up to you, but you aren't healthy if you are underweight, no matter what you may think of yourself physically..

    Are you seeing anyone regarding your problems? I'm not being mean, but I really think that seeing a therapist (a good one) and a doctor or nutritionist (or both) would really help you out. You may not want to face the fact that there is a problem, and there may not be in some people's opinions, but it is fast getting there, and you aren't really doing your body good.. please see a professional for some personal help..

     
    Old 08-23-2005, 04:55 PM   #8
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    Re: What really is "normal?"

    LS, I always used ask that same question "what is normal?" And really from what I have learned there is no "normal". Everyone is so different. Everyone's bodies needs different amounts of food and different amounts of exercise. But girlygirl and everyone else is right....worrying excessively about weight, food, calories, exercise, etc. is not normal. What I'm saying is as far as "amounts" go with exercise and food varies ALOT from person to person. But behavior wise "normal" is just like girlygirl said. Eating what you want, when you want, and how much of it you want without worrying or feeling guilty about it. I still struggle with this at times but I'm getting MUCH better here lately. For supper I just downed a whole big plate of whole wheat pasta w/ ground turkey and marinara sauce and a side salad and I'm full and satisfied and not beating myself up about it. It feels good to let go . Plus all of the other stuff I've ate today like ice cream too. I've come to realize it's really OK! And it's not worth it to worry so much about it. Yeah, I may gain some weight...so what I need to! I'm still only 102lbs when I should weigh at LEAST 106 at the lowest. I'm learning to listen to my body and totally throw out my "diet mentality". I eat when I'm hungry, what I'm hungry for and until I've had enough of it. Then I move on and try my hardest not to dwell on it for the rest of the day. If those thoughts do creep into my head I just push them back out again and tell myself "It's not worth worrying about!!" It's hard, I know but think about how much happier you would be if you just let go and didn't obsess over it anymore. Wouldn't it be nice? Well only you can make that happen! I would HIGHLY recommend getting the book "Intuitive Eating: A recovery guide for the chronic dieter" and reading it cover to cover and following everything it says to do. That book has helped me more than anything has. I know you want to change. You wouldn't post so much on here if you didn't. So my advice to you is to find that book...I got mine on Ebay for like $2.50 and read it. I feel like that book has changed my life. I didn't think it would have such a huge impact on me but it did and I'm so happy I bought it. Take care and hang in there ok? ((hugs))

     
    Old 08-24-2005, 06:32 PM   #9
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    Re: What really is "normal?"

    I am going to buy that book.
    I really need to get over comparing myself to others and how much they exercise, what they eat, when they eat, etc. I have so many guidelines for myself. If it's a weird time I don't like eating, even if I'm hungry (like 3:30pm, for example) I don't like to eat or if I'm with someone who isn't hungry, but I am, I don't like to eat. Things like that....
    It makes spontanaeity really difficult.

    Tonight, for example, I made a shmorgasbord for dinner and now I feel bad about it, but WHY!? Here is what I ate:
    Baked pita chips(??) with 2tbs hummus (70), 1/3 cup cottage cheese(70), Bowl of chicken noodle soup (200), tomato and cucumber salad with balsamic vinegar (40), and 1/3 cup of chickpea, reducd fat feta, and olive salad (??).
    The thoughts running through my head are: 1. I didn't exercise today, 2. My friends that I ate lunch with (we ate the same thing) probably ate less for dinner than I did, 3. I ate a sandwich for lunch so should not have eaten all those pita chips and 4. I'm definitely going to gain weight.

    The thing is, logically I know that all of those things are so insignificant and I'm not going to gain weight, but I almost feel like there is this competetive voice inside of me that thinks "you could/should be thinner" and "you should be eating less." It's so absolutely frustrating. But it's not as if I starve myself because of it - I just TORMENT myself.

    Girlygirl is right - I think i should talk to a professional about this. I was talking to a therapist a little while ago, but stopped b/c I thought everything was fine.

    The other thing is, everyone who I see thinks I look so great and I'm so healthy and it's so great that I run 5 miles a day...they see nothing wrong with it! So it encourages me.
    Sometimes I think I need to change, but other times I think that I am fine and I am just extremely healthy and there is nothing wrong with that....

     
    Old 08-24-2005, 07:12 PM   #10
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    Re: What really is "normal?"

    1. Normal people don't exercise everyday- and why should exercise have anything to do with what you ate, if, according to you, you simply work out because you enjoy it?
    2. Your friends, 99.9999% guaranteed, has more than you did for dinner, and 100% guaranteed did not have second thoughts about ANYTHING they had, especially in comparison to others or in comparison to the other food they've eaten that day.
    3. What does a sandwich have to do with pita chips? It's not like you had any other starch in your dinner, and a sandwich is a great lunch. In fact, I'll bet there are people (maybe even one of those aforementioned friends) who would/did have a whole plate of pasta for dinner and didn't think twice.
    4. Why would you gain ANY weight? Because you ATE? Because you didn't get a chance to burn off what little you ate? It doesn't work that way (and you KNOW that!)..you didn't each TOO much (you barely ate enough), and it was super healthy...there is no logical way that you could gain legitimate weight based on this meal (on ANY meal!)

    You definately need to see a professional..if therapy isn't for you, try seeing a nutritionist or a doctor. Or maybe look into support groups...even if its for eating disorders, and you feel you aren't completely there, some things could be of use to you to hear/discuss. At least try out your options..

    People also think that celebrities look great and awesome, and celebs love to give off the idea that it is all natural (ie/ they eat TONS..they don't exercise and they are completely normal). Truth be told, we believe it because we'd like to think it was that easy..it's not though. People admire them for their bodies and looks and wish for them and don't like to think that such an appearance takes 2 hours in the gym everyday and constant haircuts, waxings, manircures, etc. And its not our JOB to look like them, so why follow in their footsteps, or even aspire to be like them? They aren't happy..sure they give off that appearance, but to be honest, the happiest I've ever seen ANY celebrity EVER (genuinely so) is when they are pregnant. They get to eat whatever they want, not exercise and be themselves.

    What I'm trying to get you to see is that people may compliment you, and you in turn use that as motivation, but you don't realize (or you do, and are ignoring it) that it's ruining your life. Not to sound melodramatic, but do you honestly think that the people that admire you for your looks would do so if they knew what goes on in your head and what you feel you need to do to achieve that? Doubtful.. I'd say 99.99% of the population respects and admires a woman who is confident in her own skin and is happy with who she is (regardless of her weight or appearance) moreso than a woman who is thin and beautiful but cannot eat out with friends or enjoy a vacation or meal or get together because she is so preoccupied with food, herself and exercise.

    You are extremely healthy but it is to the point where it is unhealthy. I am not a doctor, but I would say you are orthorexic- obsessed with a healthy lifestyle (eating and exercise) and your body, to the point where it is problematic. You need to seek some sort of help, in whatever form you find most helpful..you DO need to change, but not because it's 'normal', rather because it's HEALTHY and you will be HAPPIER. Listen to Piscean when she tells you how 'letting go' has changed her life and made her infinately happier...

     
    Old 08-24-2005, 08:54 PM   #11
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    Re: What really is "normal?"

    girlygirl... you are seriously SO amazing with all of your advice!! How did you get this brilliant!? Thats why you were the first person i asked when i needed some advice. When I read your posts, i just feel like a stronger person inside and out!! Keep up the good work! You should have your own dr. phil type show!!

     
    Old 08-25-2005, 12:48 PM   #12
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    Re: What really is "normal?"

    lol thanks magnolia! It's not that I'm brilliant I'm just speaking from experience and knowledge I've accquired in the last few years. I worry sometimes that I'm too harsh sounding but I just want people to understand the truth and not to delude themselves with the same things I used to..a lot of the things I say are things I've worked on changing in my own mind!

     
    Old 08-29-2005, 07:56 PM   #13
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    Re: What really is "normal?"

    I don't think you sound harsh at all. Part of the reason I like your responses is because you are blunt and you cut to the chase. You tell me what I need to hear and you don't sugar-coat it.
    I just got back from a short trip to NY (only about 4 days) during which I did not exercise, I ate out with friends, and I was unable to sit and dwell on food. I am not going to say it was totally easy, because it was not...I became very anxious one day that I could not exercise and I felt like I was gaining weight (even though we ate normal meals - not even very heavy ones - and walked all day around the city).
    However, I also realized how normal and wonderful it felt to just kick back and relax about exercise, eat a meal and enjoy the company around me, and to not obsess about the fact that I ate "3 pieces of toast instead of 2 with my omelette."

    I feel like I am on the fence and am about to jump over to the "normal" side, but something keeps pulling me back. I just need something to push me over.

    Your advice, girlygirl, and Piscean (and everyone for that matter) has really made a difference. You can't see me, you can't see what I eat, etc, yet you can tell by my psychology and the thoughts that run through my head that SOMETHING is wrong, which is the crux of the matter. Thank you for being so supportive and for inspiring me to get past this obsession...if that's what it is.

     
    Old 08-30-2005, 06:01 AM   #14
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    Re: What really is "normal?"

    Unfortunately "normal" is illusory. After all "normal" in Mississippi has 1/3 of the population obese. "Normal" has nearly a million people a year dying of heart disease in the U.S.

    "Healthy" is a better goal than normal.

    I try to compensate for a high calorie day with lower calorie days to follow so that my caloric average stays below 2300 calories/day because my goal is very slow weight loss...2 pounds a month or thereabouts.

    Last edited by Lenin; 08-30-2005 at 06:03 AM.

     
    Old 08-30-2005, 07:46 AM   #15
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    Re: What really is "normal?"

    Hi Lenin- thanks for the input, but I'm not sure you're completely on par with the situation here.. because you are losing weight, you tend to compensate for heavier days..the thing is, healthy people who maintain their weight tend to not do that, because they also tend to not calorie count or worry about some average. I agree that 'healthy' is a better goal than 'normal', given that normal is really just based on perspective, but the general consensus among us on this thread is that normal is not over nor underweight, nor is is compensating or counting calories or worry about every morsel you ate. I wouldn't even say that 'normal', in any place, could be considered obesity- yes, it could be the norm, but that is not normal. Normal, in this thread, to us at least, means eating and thinking healthfully, without worrying about compensating or whatnot (especially because most times, people who have a few disordered ideas about eating tend to see healthy, reasonable daily menus as overeating, leading to unneccessary and borderline unhealthy weightloss.

    LS- I'm so proud of you for going away and doing so well! You definately don't have to worry about a thing- walking around all day on a trip DEFINATELY more than makes up the exercise you'd normally do. It's so great you were able to eat and let go, even if just for a few meals. It kind of gives you a taste for how great life is when every day is like that, doesn't it? You are doing really well- just try to apply your vacation mentality to your everyday life (slowly but surely!)..And of course Piscean and I woudl support you- in my opinion at least, you remind me of me! So as I'm telling you to do this or that or belive this or that, a lot of it is coming from my own reassurances to myself a while back! That's also why I feel I understand you well even though we've never met or whatnot. That push over the fence will come...you just need a little motivation to do the right thing, do what's healthy for you. It could be anything..I find that sometimes just reading a magazine or something, a new idea or concept will hit me that makes me think that what I'm doing or thinking (re: food or my body) isn't right and it isn't helping me any.. so just keep working towards yoru goal and keep challenging everything you think or feel, because eventually you'll hit upon the right thoughts

     
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