Thoughts on Being “Normal”

I never claimed to be normal…

Basil Hair

I’m afraid with my basil adornments, foodie collections, and other broccoli-kissing shenanigans, I’m your village idiot neighborhood weirdo. And yeah, we won’t even go into what my neighbors must think of the robed and slippered girl outside at 7am taking pictures of a bowl of oatmeal…

No, what I’m talking about is my relationship with food and how immensely it’s changed over the last few weeks…how things are finally starting to feel “normal” again. Certain situations that USED to be a source of stress are now not even given a second thought. And the other day? I was perfectly satisfied with ONE cookie! 😀

So I started thinking about what got me to this point. I mean, my journey with intuitive eating has been a LOT of work, but through all the trials and errors, moments of needless guilt, and the fights with my nagging perfectionism, I found THREE things that stood out the most…

TIME

I assumed when I first gave up calorie counting and decided to start eating intuitively that it wouldn’t be easy, but I guess I just thought it would be easy? expected to catch on quicker. I mean, whenever I do something, the perfectionist in me wants to be THE best. Also? I’m seriously impatient. I’ll admit, without the support from all of YOU, I probably would’ve given up months ago.

Gulf ShoresOnce I returned from vacation, I struggled to get back “on track”. While I felt like I had maintained a good amount of balance at the beach and was very proud of myself for not only having one or two minor freak out moments, it’s always hard for me to make the transition back after time away from home.

PERSPECTIVE

Then, after a week of ups and downs, jussssst when I thought I found a groove, my knee started acting up again. Now the OLD me would have been so upset by this sudden “derailment” that it would have ended in a downward spiral toward the nearest cereal box, but this time, things were different. Instead of seeing this as a setback, I took it in stride. I realized my body needed rest and well, there wasn’t any cereal in the house anyway! 😉

I used the extra gym-free time to find other ways to relieve stress…I allowed myself more time to sleep (even if it was just 20 minute nap before work), I picked up a new book, I caught up on blog stuff, and I even got in the kitchen! Which brings me to my last thing on my list…

CLEAN EATING

I know everyone’s definition of what’s considered “clean” is different…actually, I really enjoyed hearing Kat’s and Khusboo’s thoughts on the topic…but I’m not really looking to start a debate today. For me, it means sticking to whole foods and getting away from those that come with nutrition labels. Well, with one exception…

Peanut Butter Luv

Some of you may have noticed a lack of cereal killing around these parts lately? Well, I’ll be honest, when first trying to breakdown the whole “good” vs “bad” label thing, I kinda overdid it. At one point, I may or may not have left the store with FIVE boxes of cereal! 😯

But after the excitement of having previously banned foods back in my life wore off, I came back to eating whole foods and left the processed ones on the shelf. It’s been about a month now since I’ve had a single bowl of cereal (don’t cry, Amanda) but I can honestly say, I haven’t felt deprived ONCE!

If and when I do crack open a box, I’m sure it will feel a lot more special since I’m no longer trying to prove something to myself by eating it.

Banana & Fig Oats with Coconut Butter

But for now, I think I’ll just stick with my photogenic bowls of oats! 😉

Are you a patient person?

What’s something you are proud of yourself for accomplishing recently?

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66 Responses to Thoughts on Being “Normal”

  1. Jessie says:

    You already know my thoughts – but if you for some reason forgot (or just want to blush a little bit), not only are you doing but you’re AWESOME!!!! Thank you for sharing such a lovely, yet daring (for you I’m sure) post with all of us.

    Have the BEST day you can!

  2. Mmm cereal. I used to kill some bowls myself, and I used to also get crap for it from people who deemed me as a “health nut”. Which pissed me off. I don’t eat crazy bowls of cereal anymore, but I do pretty much eat it on my yogurty mess bowls every night. I didn’t cease and desist b/c of what people had said, but just because my tastes have changed.

    I agree that “clean” depends on the person and we should all uplift and respect each other. People can get so icky! Were all different and in different bodies. Congrats on your progress!

    Annnd dizamn woman those oats look good! That’s funny about your neighbors. Mine think i’m nuts for various reasons as well 😉

  3. It’s winter anyway – that means oatmeal season! With pumpkin. 😉

  4. Love this post!! As I said to you before you are seriously my poster girl for IE and inspire me more and more with posts like this. I like you have felt at times that I should just get it straight away but then certain things have come up that have made me realize that my food issues have been around a long time and aren’t just going to go away in a day but each step forward or even backwards I know is the right way to go as life was not meant to be full of counting and fear of food!

    You should be so proud with how far you’ve come!!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      And so should YOU!!! Seriously? “my food issues have been around a long time and aren’t just going to go away in a day” I tell myself this almost EVERY day!! We may be impatient with ourselves, but we are strong, we will get through this and we will NOT go back to days of feeling trapped by the numbers! Now give me a big “Hoo Rah!!” Lol

  5. Yes – I am a patient person, some find it pretty annoying 😉
    I haven’t been reading your blog for too long – and I have to say, I adore your transparency! Your candid posts are inspiring and uplifting!
    Haha – nutbutter – I understand – I couldn’t exclude it from my day either :)
    Your oats are very photogenic indeed!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Thank you, Shashi! That really means a lot to me…especially since my mind goes all over the place when I’m typing up these kinds of posts! I swear I have to read and RE-read it before hitting publish just to make sure it’s comprehendible! Haha!

  6. Khushboo says:

    Oh Heather I love this post- you are doing so well on your IE journey! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and although I don’t always comment, the amount of progress you have made is HUGE…and you should be very proud of yourself :)! I definitely feel you on the bit about the novelty wearing off when you aren’t depriving yourself. As much as I love chocolate/dessert in general, my cravings for both are much less than the days when they were off limits. It’s funny how much of a difference a slight psychological shift can make to our actions!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      It really truly is!! I never understood how people could actually practice the whole “everything in moderation” thing. I swore people just said that as a way to justify eating cookies! Ha! But now? NOW I can finally say the same thing and really BELIEVE it! It’s so amazing how much a change in perspective (and time to heal) can do! Thank you so much for your sweet comments, Khushboo! You are an amazing woman, m’dear!

  7. Great post lady! I think dealing with any sort of food issue requires time and persistence – eating is something we have to do multiple times a day, so it takes a while to change your mindset about it and change your habits.
    And no shame on the cereal thing – I’ve got about 5 boxes here, and I only ever have it once or twice a week right now…I’m all about the oatmeal as well :-p

  8. Congrats on the progress! I feel ya- I am so impatient too!

  9. Hi weirdo. I am so, so happy for you. Lots of love!

  10. Kat says:

    You are such a beautiful soul my friend. I’m so happy to see how far you’ve come…you seem so much lighter, if that makes any sense. Kind of like it’s clicked for you :)
    These food issues are definitely not something you just get over one summer (ok, maybe the lucky ones do). Most of us truly are in the trenches fighting this battle for a long time, and yes, patience really is a key component. Which pretty much sucks for me seeing as how patience is NOT one of my virtues! Anyway, I think as long as you keep taking steps forward, even if they are small shuffles, then you are doing something right :):)

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      That makes TOTAL sense…I FEEL lighter! :) And this: “I think as long as you keep taking steps forward, even if they are small shuffles, then you are doing something right” Oh my gosh, SO true! Just be sure to tell YOURSELF that whenever you start feeling discouraged! Girl, we are too much alike…must be that special ginger connection…and I know how hard I can be on myself yet how compassionate I can be toward others. I just want you to know you are a strong and brave woman and a HUGE inspiration to me! xoxo

  11. I always love hearing about your perspective on IE, ‘clean eating’, cereal, etc. So inspiring.

  12. Crying just a little over here 😥 But no, seriously? I’m so happy for you, lady! You’ve really come so far in healing your relationship with food, and I’m glad you’re starting to get the kind of results you want. I can totally relate to getting frustrated with how long the process can take, but it’s more than worth it, no? If you ever feel like giving up, one of the things I’ve found helped me get through those times the most was really taking a moment to look at how far I’ve come. Sometimes the changes are so gradual that you don’t even notice unless you really start paying attention.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      “Sometimes the changes are so gradual that you don’t even notice unless you really start paying attention.” <- AMEN!! Which is why it sort of took me by surprise once I realized it...then it was like "WHOA"! Now I can finally see that curvy path that lead me to this point and it feels great! Thank you so much for being there and supporting me through this, girlie! I've told you before, but I'll tell you a hundred time, you are such an inspiration to me! *hugs*

  13. Heather, this is precisely why I have a girl crush on you! It’s like you read my mind…My relationship with food and exercise as been a struggle lately. I’ve gone through periods of deprivation and periods of trying to eat as much junk as I want just to prove that I can. I’ve overexercised and I’ve pretending like the pain in my leg wasn’t there (bad idea…) but I feel like things are starting to come full circle.
    I’m learning that “resting” from the gym doesn’t mean I have to lay in bed all day and do nothing (but that’s cool too), and I can actually use my new found free time to do other productive things! Still have a ways to go but I’m getting there.

    And yeah my patience is nonexistent…I am incapable of waiting for anything!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Practicing patience is just that much harder when you have to do it with yourself…one of the hardest lessons I had to learn! And until you find your way, you just have to keep at it trial and error style until you find what works for YOU! Be proud of yourself for trying and for sticking with it! And know that you have ALL of my support, love! It feels so great to be in the new place that I want all my friends to feel the same! :)

  14. Haha I’m proud of passing the Bar? I’m also proud that I’ve been able to get back to intuitive eating (as opposed to stress/emotional bingeing) over the past week and feeling so much better!

  15. Calee says:

    As a person with an abnormal amount of food allergies, I hate the term “clean eating”. What is “clean” for one person (me: can I eat this? Yes? then I am going to eat it because my system thinks it is CLEAN) is not the same as what is “clean” for another.

    My thought on that whole thing? Eat foods that make you feel PHYSICALLY (not emotionally) good. So I *can* eat a bunch of junk food, but I don’t because I don’t feel physically well afterwards. And eating most veggies makes me physically ill, so I don’t because my body can’t process them (except broccoli! yay broccoli).

    Would I choose to eat what others deem “clean” most of the time if it weren’t for the allergies? Probably. But I’m thinking that is mostly because those foods have been off limits for so long that I am really, really craving them. I’ve never been a big eater of junk though, so I bet by default I would eat “cleaner” than what I currently eat given all the food allergies.

    Way to be on eating intuitively. I said to my counselor yesterday when we were talking about “stories” that my brain tells me, “Well, at least it quit telling me I’m fat.”

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      First, yay for broccoli!! Second, omg, YES!! The fat thing! I was just telling my mom last weekend how I surprised the hell out of myself the other day when I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror and was like, “Eh, not bad!” I was like WAIT A MINUTE!! Did I just say that?!? Never thought I’d ever get to that point again…especially since I know I’ve put on some weight over the last few months, but damn it feels good!

      And I swear, you are a strong woman! I can only imagine how hard it is for you with all your allergies seeing things you can’t eat plastered all over the blog-isphere on a daily basis! But I definitely admire your creativity for getting around it! :)

  16. Great post lady! My intuitive eating tends to lead me to copious amounts of toast and cereal and toast and cookies until I feel sick and realize I need to eat real foods again. My stomach and body always feel so much better when eating real foods. I’m proud of myself for finishing two exams this past week!

  17. Girl, I can’t wait for you to get you basil wearing, microphone singing, oatmeal eating ass over here so we can have a blast. Your enthusiasm for food, cooking, and kitchen dance parties is infectious. We are going to party like it’s 1999 or at least sing a Prince song or two….right after we get through the Slipper When Wet album.

    I started making lists today of possible attractions for next week.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Purple rain, PURPLE RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN!!! I just want yo extra time and you ka ka ka ka ka-KISS!!! 😉 Can’t wait to see/sing/dance/eat all the things with you m’dear!! It’s gonna be a blast for sure!! 😀

  18. Sloane says:

    SO proud of you!! Reading posts like this make me so happy because they are HONEST and REAL. I love that you are giving yourself space to grow, relax, and change, and allowing that perfectionist to take a backseat.

    You’re AMAZING my love, and keep on shining.

    xoxo

  19. I hear ya on being a perfectionist, but I’m so happy you got past all of that to where you are today! There will likely be times when you fall back into old habits…but that’s normal! For instance, you will probably want some cereal (I mean, really, cereal is awesome), but that’s okay, right?? :)

    “Normal” and “clean eating” are words that don’t really have meaning. 😉

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      “‘Normal’ and ‘clean eating’ are words that don’t really have meaning.” < - L.O.V.E! And yes, should I happen to wake up tomorrow with a sudden urge for a big bowl of cereal, so be it! Heck, if I woke up and wanted a cookie, I'd eat it! I swear I never thought in a MILLION years I would understand the whole "moderation" thing, but once the "forbidden" label is lifted, you're right, it's just food...no normal or clean eating or healthy...just FOOD! :)

  20. kolya says:

    My new thing is….trying to not feel like I have to eat “certain” things at a “certain” time…just going with the flow. Kind of have to because my schedule is changing. It made me so anxious but it’s working out!

    Congrats on your revelations too (:

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Thank you, Kolya! That was one thing that was hard for me too. I also had to realize that every day is different…so hard when you’re used to eating by a schedule! It can definitely be nerve wracking, but I’m glad to hear you are pushing through and finding your groove! :)

  21. I’m so proud of you girl – it’s been amazing watching you transform your relationship with food over the past several months. You’ve hit the nail on the head by pointing out time as a major factor. I think some people get frustrated when they don’t repair their relationship with food instantly, but that’s because it takes time! It probably took me a full 2-3 years to recover from my food struggles.

    I’m proud of myself for starting to go to therapy. Opening up to other people is NOT easy for me, but I’m so glad I’ve started.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      I am proud of you for that too, sweetie! I know how hard it can be to open up to people…especially people you don’t know. I’m so happy that you’ve found a good therapist that you feel comfortable with!

      And yeah, I was totally one of those insta-fix type thinkers in the beginning. I just had to keep reminding myself that my problems with food didn’t appear overnight so I couldn’t expect them to go away overnight! I’m just grateful to have had you and my other blends for support while I found my way! Thank you!

  22. It always is about finding out what works for you & this takes time – sometimes multiple tries at it… I am going to be 56 & I am always learning. I am glad that you decided to step back & just focus on you & what is right for you. It is hard with all the food porn out there. For a while I was trying healthy recipes that fit with foods I liked BUT I was gaining & had to just realize that eating my very simple way is best for me! :)

    CONGRATS!!!!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Oh yes, it always comes back to what works best for YOU! I think that’s what took me the longest time to realize…I was comparing myself (and my food) to others on an almost daily basis without even realizing it. I’m glad you were able to find a good groove too, Jody! And thank you so much!

  23. I love this post, Heather, and its really inspiring to see this new outlook and relationship not only with food with yourself. Patience is something I really need to work on- but hopefully getting better at!

    Something I guess I am proud of is actually putting effort and time into my blog- at first I saw it as some side thing, but now I’m really passionate about it and love the community- so hoping to keep improving on it (and your photography has inspired me to learn much more about it- thanks!)

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Aww, thank you, Arman! You should definitely be proud of yourself for the blog…you’ve got some great ideas and you fit SO well into the community…even though your a boy! 😉 But seriously, you are such a genuine person and I’m glad to “know” you! And I’m SO excited to have helped inspire you with photography…even though I have no clue WHAT I’m doing! Ha!

  24. Good for you girl!! I’m proud of you for sticking with it & overcoming your struggle. Quitting calorie counting is TOUGH. I thought it’d be much easier, but I was so wrong. Plus, with having some weight to lose… well, it was going entirely in the WRONG direction for me. So, I didn’t make it with this try, but I have hope that I can eventually when I am ready to try again & feeling better about myself. You inspire me. Oh, & I’m glad I’m not the only neighborhood weirdo. 😉

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Thank you, Karey! Yes, it definitely IS tough…I never realized exactly how hard it was until I was waist deep in it. If I had not had the blog as a way of holding myself accountable, I surely would have called it quits months ago. But I was just so tired of feeling trapped by all the numbers…I swear it got to the point were addition (for food) and subtraction (for exercise) was all I ever thought about. It was exhausting! I think I just had to be in a place where I can’t see myself going back. If and when you are ready to try again, know that you have my support, love! Like I’ve said before, I’m only an email away…and honestly, a good support system is the key when making such a drastic lifestyle change! You are a strong and beautiful woman. If you want this, you can do this! :)

  25. girl i am so crazy proud of you. you don’t even know. it’s amazing to have this feeling about food and it’s so amazing realizing “you’re there” you’ve wanted this for so long, babe. i remember chatting on the phone this summer and we were both kind of lost? yes? so mixed up and over analyzing the whole IE thing very much i think, but look where we are now. i am truly so proud of you and just want to hug you so badly! time is a major factor. everything takes time, but healing your relationship with food definitely takes more time than i initially thought, but i am so happy we both finally found what normal eating is <3 i love you again and again and i really hope you know how happy i am for you

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Aww, Meg!!! I love you! It’s so hard to believe how far we’ve BOTH come, isn’t it? Amazing! It feels SO great! I’m so grateful to have had you here by my side this whole time! Thank you SO much, love!

  26. You are amazing and by that I mean that being “not normal” is freaking fantastic. I am so with you on the whole foods sentiment, while I love me a nice processed packaged food once in a while, I’d much prefer a fresh fig, a bowl of oats, and even delicious homemade treats. After all, it really is all about balance, but acknowledging that doesn’t have to mean stocking 100 boxes of cereal, it can simply mean having a bowl thrown in with your breakfast rotation. And yes, it takes TIME. <3

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      SOOOOO true!! And honestly, I think a big part of the change in attitude I had toward processed foods was because I finally gave up the good vs bad thing. The fact that I can actually bake now and then enjoy the fruit of the labor WITHOUT any guilt makes me that more apt to try making treats myself instead of buying them…which is SO much better for body, mind, and spirit! And you know I’m totally with you on the fresh fig thing! 😉

      • I totally understand the baking love, I don’t need a label to tell me what’s in my baked goods, because I MADE THEM. Plus the calories my home baked cookies are sure as heck more nutritious ones than the ones in the weird artificial cookies. Speaking of, there will be fig and chocolate chip muffins happening this weekend. :-)

  27. Looove you girl. Best thing about this? You find YOUR way of normal. Who defines normal anyway? I think the point where we find ourselves comfortable with whatw e do, howw e eat and when/ how much we workout or relax – THIS is when we can lay back and say – this is my normal life. Cause it feels right and it’s not a fight or a struggle. It’s a routine that fits our personality and one we can maintain. So proud of you!!!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Couldn’t have said it better myself! Thank you so much Lucie! Hope you are having an amazing time at the beach! xoxo

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  29. Lisa says:

    Absolutely LOVE this post and your not normalness;) because being so called “normal” is totally overrated!
    And I feel you on the whole foods things – I agree entirely.
    Time if such an important factor! I so overlooked that at first because I just wanted to be back to normal immediately and got super frustrated but once I accepted it takes time to progress it made things a lot easier
    <3

  30. You’re so awesome and an inspiration! I used to be ‘scared’ of food, such as measuring out EVERYTHING, and if I went out of that I thought I would gain 10 lbs overnight. After i gave it up, and gained some weight, it has given me time to re-evaluate how I look at food and myself, and finding a balance between being happy and being too hard on myself. Thanks for the awesome post!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Oh my gosh, girl…it’s like you literally just took the words out of my mouth! I’ve been through ALL of that! How is everything going for you now, love?

  31. I love you, I’m so proud of you, and I’m so blessed by you! Your journey has helped so many people! I’m so not patient, but with my infertility journey and my food allergens, I have had to be nothing BUT patient!
    Being normal is way overrated!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Oh honey, THANK YOU!! And you could’ve fooled me on the impatience thing…guess your positivity makes up for it! You have always been an inspiration to me on that front! Love you!

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  33. I am definitely not a patient person and it’s one of my biggest flaws as a person. I always want stuff to happen now and not later. But for me that’s what ‘normal’ ‘healthy’ eating is all about. It’s about having patience and I guess it’s something I’ll always be working on and adjusting 😀 Glad you’re doing better!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      “It’s about having patience and I guess it’s something I’ll always be working on and adjusting” <- My thoughts EXACTLY! Seriously, it's like you took the words straight from my mouth! <3

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