During my journey of losing over 150 pounds, I often found myself wishing I could just eat like a “normal” person. That thought consumed me at times as I was sitting on my couch either eating more than I thought I should or *wishing* I was eating something I thought I couldn’t.
This is now a conversation I have often with clients. They wish they could eat like “normal” people. As this conversation follows a very similar path with every client, I ask them to picture this “normal” person and their eating habits. Tell me about it:
I always get a variation of, “Well, I have this friend. She can eat anything she wants and never gains weight.” Those words are always laced with (as they were for me as well) envy and a little irritation.
I say, “So, they eat the same foods as you do, but they never gain any weight? Why do you think that is?” They always answer with some form of “their metabolism is better than mine,” or “they are just lucky,” or “I have no idea!” More often than not, those answers are not actually true (barring actual medical conditions impacting metabolic rate).
Here’s the “AH HA” moment:
The biggest difference between how you eat currently and how “normal” people eat (IE. your friend) is that they do not stress and worry about food. They are not obsessed with food 24/7.
At this point I just get quiet and wait for that to sink in. I can see their face as they really start thinking about this friend of theirs and how they never do seem to worry about what they are eating. They never seem to talk about food with guilt-laden sadness. They never seem to obsess about the scale or their weight.
You see, obsessing about food…
Whether it’s “good” or “bad” for us, whether you’re eating for celebration or comfort, whether you’re wondering how long you’re going to have to stay on the treadmill to burn it off, whether you’re already worried about the next time you step on the scale…
That obsessing stresses your mind out! Your brain then sends all kinds of signals to your body and starts elevating some hormones, depressing others.
That cycle is one of the biggest differences about “normal” people and their eating habits… It. Doesn’t. Happen. Every time they eat, they aren’t sending their brains and bodies into this stress-induced hormone roller coaster. Avoiding that cycle means their bodies do different things with the food they eat (IE. probably not storing much of it).
When you are stressed your body cannot discern between “I’m about to be eaten by a tiger” stress and “I’m worried about gaining weight” stress. The most interesting thing about this phenomenon (in my opinion) is that your body can also not discern the difference between “I’m feeling stressed and guilty about eating this brownie” and “I hate eating salad when I really want to eat a brownie.”
That means, my friends, if you are stressing about NOT eating a brownie while you are eating a salad instead (and you’re not happy about it), your body will still behave as though you are EATING THE BROWNIE. It will store the salad…from stress.
“Normal” people eat the brownie (guilt-free) when they want it…and eat salad (happily) when they don’t. No. Stress.
That is one (very important) difference.
Have you heard this before? Is this all new info? I would *love* to hear your thoughts or answer any questions you may have…