What is normal?
How many of us have felt like we weren't normal because we have had to go on diets and watch what we eat or drink?
I have been thinking about this lately because in the past what I really wanted was to be slimmer and to not have to worry about what I ate because I put on weight so easily.
I wanted to be normal. I really believed that normal slim people didn't have to worry about what they ate and that eating what you want when you want was normal.
So many of us have said things like.. "it's not fair, I only have to look at cake and I put on 10lbs" and that we wish we could eat cake whenever we want to and still be slim like X does. But is it really NORMAL not to have to think about what you eat?
Who are these normal people? The only people who genuinely don't have to think about their weight in today's society are people who are very active and manage to burn off more calories than they consume or who are gifted in the metabolism department? But are these scenarios normal? I'd say they are more often than not exceptions to the actual average person because so many of our jobs are office based and sedentary which means we have to supplement our lifestyles with exercise and because food is so plentiful (I mean it's everywhere) we all need to keep an eye on how many calories we take in, and remember that we only really need to eat to fuel our bodies/minds.
I spent so many years feeling I was being denied normal pleasures when I had the strength to say no to the free cakes in the office or when I had to swap from drinking beer to drinking a low calorie spirit. I felt like I was being denied a NORMAL life. But was I?
I guess our perceptions of normal come from our societal habits and expectations which have evolved organically over time.
For example, we happen to have come to celebrate birthdays and weddings and
other milestones in life with CAKE (sugar & flour) or ALCOHOL, so they seem NORMAL, but is it really normal to consume more calories than our bodies really need or is it slightly disordered thinking?
Of course I'm not saying we shouldn't have occasional treats and celebrate with delicious cake or a glass of champagne but I want you to think about how normal it actually is to do any of these things? Thinking about this has made me realise that I shouldn't NEED to make
excuses if I choose not to eat cake just because it is there and everyone else is eating it, and it's become expected.
I also don't need to feel like I'm defective because I have to be careful about what food I take in seen as I work in a very sedentary job.
What other things do we consider NORMAL which actually don't necessarily make sense and which we could benefit from decoupling our perceptions with reality?
It's definitely worth thinking about!
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