Monday, June 3, 2019

Living the Normal Dream

It's been 12 years since I began this journey. I remember once asking a WW leader, a woman who had been maintaining her weight for something like 20+ years, asking her if she feels like she has a "normal" relationship with food. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: after all this time, do you feel like you have a normal relationship with food?
Her: yes, I think I do.
Me: how long did that take?
Her: around 13 years

At the time I was 6 years into my journey, and 13 years seemed like a long way off. But as I inch closer to it, I'm taking notice of my relationship to food (who am I kidding? I'm always taking note of that). And not only my own, but others too. I'm a regular observer of the food-woman relationship dynamic, always curious about what women say about such things.

One of the things I've noticed is how many "normal" women (a category I define as women who haven't been hugely overweight) struggle with their food intake. I'm thinking of a woman I work with who is tall and thin and has never been more than a few pounds overweight. She and I talk all the time about our attempts to lose weight. She goes up in this 5-10 pound window, then loses it before vacation, then gains it on vacation, then loses it when she's back, and the same around the holidays, and on and on.

I'm doing a sort-of version of that. Though the 5-10 pound window I'm in is not cool with me. I'm currently right around 160. In the winter I got up to a startling, depressing, scary 173 before I broke that streak and did something to change it. I was down to 157 and hopeful about getting back to 145 (my original goal weight) but then started loosening up the food intake again. And so now I'm "focused" again. And so it goes. I've been open to the very real possibility that this might be it for me. That I'm never going to get back to 145, or even 155, but I've not given up just yet.

My point is not about the numbers, or about the fact that I'm 15 pounds over my goal weight, but more about this bouncing around. I'm realizing a lot of women live this way. And A LOT of women see their ideal weight as 10-20 pounds less than they are. And for me, those women always fell into the "normal" category, the one I mentioned earlier.

I guess what I'm saying is, maybe I'm becoming normal. Not quite though. I know my relationship with food remains a little "off". I still use food when I'm bored, or tired. Or angry. Maybe sad too. Probably happy from time-to-time. I sometimes eat in a way that leaves me feeling like crap, physically and emotionally. I still want that to change. I know it might never go away altogether, like it did for my old WW leader, but something less than what's happening these days would be nice.

Otherwise, things are going pretty well in my life. A little over a year ago I was so frustrated with my lack of regular exercise I did something I never thought I'd do. I joined a specialty group-exercise studio that charges what I think of as a ton of money; OrangeTheory. For a while I went 5x a week but I burned out and after skipping pretty much the whole month of December, I got back on the horse and now only go 3x a week.

I'm a big fan. All the classes are a mix of cardio and weights. The cardio tends to be a HIIT model, though not always. They are an hour long and I usually sign up in advance. If you cancel within 8 hours of the start, they charge you $12. Who knew $12 could be so much motivation?

But the thing I like the best, is that you I don't have to think. I show up, work my butt off for an hour, and leave. I just have to get myself in the door, and everything else falls into place. Of course this was true with the gym too, but I think I was bored with my routine. OrangeTheory is anything but boring.

In other news, the kids are good. I took them to the beach a few weeks ago and we had a blast.

Work is good. I started a new job about a year ago and I'm enjoying it. It's running a mental health program. Very challenging, but dynamic and interesting in a way that makes the challenge worth it.

So I think that's my update for now. If you're still out there, drop a comment and say hello!


  1. I think you are right when you talk about normal. I see women all the time worried about a pound or two and constantly dieting and trying to lose. I think that ‘normal’ for a woman is that way...a constant struggle to keep our weight within a certain range. It is a never ending cycle.

    Congrats for holding it together...even though you may be higher and have been higher than you want to be in the past year or two, you have managed an amazing maintain! Keep up the good work!

    Last but not least...your kiddos are getting so big...and still as adorable as ever!!!

  2. So good to hear from you again, Michelle.

  3. Good to see a post and see you’re doing well! I am finding the fight, just like you. I can’t seem to get below 155 and stay there. As soon as I get there, I seem to start adding the pounds back and end up around 162 and then go back. I wish I could stay consistent. You look great though and your kids are growing up!

  4. CPAGrrrl / ChrisJune 4, 2019 at 6:16 PM

    I’ve missed your check-ins! So happy to hear your are doing well and you’re happy. Virtual hugs from the Midwest. 💜

  5. Hi Michelle! I'm still out there, now following from my new life in Germany! When I first got here, I wasn't working, and managed to lose 35 pounds - the thinnest I've been in my life. Then I got a job, and gained some pounds back. Then I moved for a job I love and am doing long distance with my husband, and now I've gained many back... In some ways, I know exactly what I have to do to lose again, but I just have very little interest in doing it. I definitely feel like it's a question of priorities. Perhaps at some point I'll get to the point where i want to prioritize it - maybe next week even! But not at the moment. I don't know if this is healthy or normal... but it's what I feel right now.

  6. I was so happy to see your post, Michelle! I was just thinking about you last week and remembering how much I enjoyed your honest reflections on this weight loss adventure. I’m now post menopause and find it so easy to gain weight and such a struggle to lose. I cont8nue to strive for a fit and healthy life because that’s when I am happiest. Thanks for the update and I hope you keep writing!

  7. Hi Michelle,

    I read a lot of your blog (from your first post) back in 2015 when I lost 83 pounds to my goal of 140ish. Then came some life changes in 2016 and I regained some weight. Then came even more changes in 2017 and I fell off the wagon completely and regained everything I’d lost. About 2 months ago, I started up again and I remembered your blog so I decided to re-read it (from the first post again). I’m so glad I read it in 2015 and was so inspired reading it again now. Thank you so much for keeping your blog up and for sharing your journey.


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