In my line of work, I get this asked often. Is this normal? Normal is important. Don’t we want to lose weight to look normal, to weigh what’s normal for our height, age, and gender?  There is no underestimating the power of normal! As humans we are wired to be wary of the abnormal – which is sometimes good and often not so good!

“I’m losing so slowly. Is that normal?”

“It seems like the only place I’m losing weight is in my boobs. Is that normal?”

“How come I have so much gas? Is this normal?”

“I’m doing everything I supposed to do and I haven’t lost a pound. Is that normal?”

In theory, losing weight is abnormal. It takes doing things you don’t normally do to get the weight loss results you want! Some people seem to get abnormally preoccupied with food when they’re trying to lose weight. It doesn’t seem normal to spend a lot of time thinking about what you’re trying to reduce. Relax, it’s normal.

It’s normal and it’s one more reason why weight loss can be such a challenge. When you’re trying to cut back or reduce how much food you’re eating, you might find yourself thinking more about food than what is, well, normal!

The more you think about food, the more you want to eat some. That, of course, is counterproductive to making progress. If you eat more food you stand the chance of gaining weight. Oh, and it’s so normal; lots of us have experienced the abnormal preoccupation with food that happens when we try to eat less of it.

In fact, research with young children between 18 months and 5 years showed that little, fish-shaped cheese crackers were relatively uninteresting when offered at free choice (placed in a bowl and within easy reach) but became intensely interesting and desirable when the children were told, “you cannot eat that.” They wanted those crackers more than little cookies which were also in bowls and placed within easy access. Why? Because they cookies weren’t off limits. They were told they could eat as many of them as they wanted. They didn’t want them at all!

And what are we if not larger, children when it comes to food?

How can you put food back into its normal place so that you’re not spending all of your time thinking about what you can’t have? Here are some proven strategies that work well.

  • Get your mind off food, especially the food you want to eat in smaller quantities and less frequently. You cannot “not think” about food, because when you are trying not to think about food, you are indeed thinking about food! You need to find something else to think about. It needs to engage your mind deeply.
  • Have a supply of things to eat when you get the urge. These things ideally should taste good, improve overall nutritional content of your day, be naturally low in calories. If you didn’t get the hint, I’m talking about snacking on fruit and vegetables.
  • Drink some water. It’s not going to make you feel full or less hungry. It’s a positive action to reinforce your success. It makes you feel like you’re doing something good and guess what, you are!
  • Get up, get moving. This is another positive action. It supports your weight-related goals, lifts your spirit, and allows you to burn calories which moves you closer to your goal.
  • Change your self-talk. Avoid speaking to yourself in terms of what you can’t or shouldn’t eat. Change it to, “I can have whatever I want and by choosing the right time and serving size, I maintain control and enjoy my food more!”
  • Find a passion! Find something that really fires you up! I have several. Grandchildren, horses, 100 Southern Maine Women Who Care and most of all, helping others to discover how capable and resourceful they truly are and how to use their inner talents to get what they want out of life! What’s your passion? If you don’t know, now is the best time to find it!

In closing, yes, thinking about food when you’re trying to lose weight is normal. Now stop worrying about normal and find something positive to do with that magnificent brain of yours!

Speaking of “normal” there is something abnormal with adding media today. I had some good images to spruce up this blog, but alas, I’m getting error messages. I don’t want to delay publishing this, so it will be published without the images and I hope I’ll be able to add them later!

Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their...