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IE - observing normal people

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Old 02-26-2014, 08:14 AM   #16
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How sad to think of oneself as never being normal.
Unexpected comment from the one who named this thread
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Old 02-26-2014, 08:27 AM   #17
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Unexpected comment from the one who named this thread
Haha, sue me, I've only gotten through half my cuppa coffe yet lol. I guess that what I mean is that I'm striving to become normal. I've always felt that I am not normal and that I would always have an eating disorder but I'm finally believing that I can be normal, that having a normal relationship with food is well within my capabilities!

The operative word here is normal. It's charged with so much meaning for us all. Who here has not felt the need to be normal? Who here has not looked at someone else and not thought them normal or not normal? I suspect that the word has a slightly different meaning for all of us and that's why I'm trying to be very clear about what it means to me here.

NORMAL (as it pertains to one's relationship with food) - a person who is aware of their body's basic need for food. A person who does not measure their self worth based on the food they consume. A person who does not think too much about food and who doesn't take on extreme diets. A person who does not comfort themselves with food in an excessive way.
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:38 AM   #18
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I don't think skinny is the ultimate goal, not for me. Skinny is more a state of mind for me to tell you the truth. Some days I feel skinny, some days I feel fat, both days of those days my weight is the same on the scale. If I had to choose between being a skinny person who fusses about my weight rather than a plump person who no significant food dysfunction I'd choose the latter any day. My ultimate goal is to be free of food as a stressor, a stress release, a stress causer, an emotional outlet etc. And so that's where I'm focusing my energy, and thus observing those that I wish to be like.
That sounds fine, we all have our priorities. Skinny or fat or lean or whatever is subjective and I have my personal ideas (for myself) is as well as how I prioritize goals. I don't assume that we all have the same priorities/desires. As long as we are in tune with what makes us truly content, which might change over time, or might not, that is most important.

As far as NORMAL goes, I find that "average" aka what most are and normal are two different things. There are people who have normal ways of eating, but maybe abnormal habits in other areas. Most people I know are abnormal towards something. I don't have normal attitudes about a lot of things, but for the most part I don't really mind.

As far as food goes, I know that I am not any conventional sense of the word "normal" and I like that. I know some people who "eat to live" because whatever their chemical makeup is, they like food enough, but they don't get the food "ogazm" (hahahaha you knooow).

I also know that there are thinner or bigger foodies who also get the "food o" that I can get, and I am someone who needs a larger quantity than other "naturally smaller" people to get there, but the fact that I can feel such pleasure from food is AWESOME, even if it might lets say, require 2 slices of pizza vs 1. I love sensation, I love that I can get ASMR, frission, brain tingles, "food os" so as long as I can find a way to experience that (even if its not a regular thing) I embrace my food abnormality. That way I can get the sensation that I want and still fit into all my jeans! The thought of only being able to feel just normal levels of content towards food sounds so grey and boring.

EDIT-I should also add, I do think that this can coincide with your definition of normal, aka not eating for emotional comfort. I suppose the definition of normal can vary and also be subjective, such as lean or skinny or fat because the foodies I know, are considered amongst our group of friends to have an (amusingly) abnormal love of eating food.
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:53 AM   #19
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No it doesn't sound boring lol. I'm actually a foodie. My friends clamor for invitations to my dinner parties. I take pictures of all my foods and post them on my facebook wall as obsesively as some post pictures of their babies. I go to the grocery store every day because I love being in the produce aisle. I've been asked many many times to start a cooking blog. I get emails and calls from friends all the time asking for recipes or menu advice. I visit cheese shops as a fun activity. I work on my knife skills and cooking techniques. I splurge on fancy kitchen gadgets. Cooking is a passion and it's one of the main reasons why I'm not willing to diet or cut out certain food groups. I don't think there is anything abnormal about this, lots of people are chefs without weight problems. I get the big O in my kitchen hehe!! I don't see anything wrong or abnormal about my passion for food. I just want to look more like Giada diLaurentis and less like Humpty Dumpty. And again that is why I'm being so specific about what the word normal means in this case, pertaining to eating.

All other forms of normal/not normal don't apply. I don't like Brad Pitt and I've been told that's not normal.
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:22 AM   #20
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Interesting read, I look like a skinnie but fight to be there,I am a binger off and on and struggle with my relationship to food. That being said most people think I am skinny.....I know the person that weighed 50 lbs more....sometimes to obsessive with food and breaking the habit of binging and overeating.
Just remember we don't have a normal and we do not know everything that goes on behind closed doors or in peoples minds.
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:23 AM   #21
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I just want to look more like Giada diLaurentis and less like Humpty Dumpty. And again that is why I'm being so specific about what the word normal means in this case, pertaining to eating.
I thought you said that skinny wasn't ultimate goal to you, then again to me, Giada is skinny foodie, but maybe not to others. Its very possible to happen to be one and discover that you are, but then again, its also possible to not be one even after fully listening and engaging in normal eating practices. Besides Humpty Dumpty ...there are people who also have normal eating attitudes that don't look like Giada, who to me, is likely what females are (more likely) idealized to be at least over...a male Brad Pitt. If lets say, eating normally 100% leads you to the human equivalent of Humpty Dumpty, whatever that may be, would you be OK with that? Because as I said before, at least in my personal observations, I see normal eaters of all size ranges, maybe not extreme levels of obesity, but a range in sizes.
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Old 02-26-2014, 01:24 PM   #22
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I thought you said that skinny wasn't ultimate goal to you, then again to me, Giada is skinny foodie, but maybe not to others. Its very possible to happen to be one and discover that you are, but then again, its also possible to not be one even after fully listening and engaging in normal eating practices. Besides Humpty Dumpty ...there are people who also have normal eating attitudes that don't look like Giada, who to me, is likely what females are (more likely) idealized to be at least over...a male Brad Pitt. If lets say, eating normally 100% leads you to the human equivalent of Humpty Dumpty, whatever that may be, would you be OK with that? Because as I said before, at least in my personal observations, I see normal eaters of all size ranges, maybe not extreme levels of obesity, but a range in sizes.
Of course I ultimately want to look better, I want to like what I see in the mirror. Plenty of women are extremely thin and still don't like what they see in the mirror. I will never look like Giada or Heidi Klum or anyone else for that matter. But I can tell that they like what they see in the mirror, that's what I want. That may happen soon, but at the end of the day I would like to weigh less for many reasons. Don't confuse wanting to look better with wanting to be skinny. I want to feel better inside and out and now I feel like everything I'm saying is being used against me. There's nothing wrong with looking at others and appreciating their gifts. There's nothing wrong with aspiring to be a certain way and look a certain way. As long as the path one takes there leads them through self acceptance then the end result will be good no matter what it is.
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:43 PM   #23
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How sad to think of oneself as never being normal. It makes me profoundly sad to hear it. I really don't care about being skinny, thin or anything like that. I long for having a normal relationship with food. Take the word "normal" to mean what you like, but I know exactly what it means to me. It means eating what I want, eating it when I'm hungry for it, and eating it until I'm full. You can call that mimicking another person but when I see people in my life that are happy with who they are (not necessarily skinny or overweight, just fine), and enjoy food without hating themselves then yes, I'm going to focus on being just that. I'm not going to live in a constant state of deprivation. Being happy = being healthy.
Who said anything about living in a constant state of deprivation? I'm nearly 48 years old, and have been dieting since my parents offered me two pet turtles to lose eight pounds in kindergarten ( I never got my turtles, because when I had lost 6 of the 8 lbs, turtles couldn't be sold as pets).

I've been watching thin and fat people all of my life. I got a bachelor's and then a master's degree trying to learn how to think and act like a "normal" person.

Instead I learned that there is no "normal" except in the sense of "average," and that average is highly overrated.

In developmental and cognitive-behavioral psychology (my area of interest), the focus is on functionality, not normalcy.

I am much happier now that I have no desire or interest in being normal, because normal means average. The average thin person eats when they're hungry and what they're hungry for.

I can't do that. I've tried that many times over the course of the last 43 years, and it just doesn't work, because I'm hungry all of the time, for everything.

That doesn't mean I'm miserable or even just a tiny bit sad. It just means that deciding to become "the best me I could be" has become a lot more important than trying to be average.

I am happier than I've ever been, because I stopped trying to become like anyone else.

I used to envy people who could eat only a small portion of my "trigger foods" and not want more. I envied thin people who never seemed hungry and were easily satified with small portions. I didn't understand that kind of hunger because I only experience that kind of hunger on a no-carb diet, which I do find miserable for an array of reasons.

Now I'm just happy to be me, and I don't have to observe anyone to do it.

I'm extraordinarily happy with who I am, to the point that I wouldn't even bother with my weight and eating habits if it weren't for health issues. It's been decades since I disliked myself or my body or let my weight be a barrier to anything I wanted. Even at its fattest, my body has served me well all things considered.

I don't thhink I've ever hated myself. Even as a child, I always thought of myself as a fabulous, even extraordinary person who happened to be fat. At least I felt that way when I wasn't trying to compare my body or appetite to normal/average/thinner people.

I feel beautiful and sexy, and not just because my husband thinks I am.

I weigh multiple times a day, not to punish myself, but because doing so keeps me grounded and aware of how much I'm eating on days I don't feel like tracking my portions some other way (such as calorie or exchange counting).

I love myself at any weight, so getting on the scale is only feedback, not punishment.

I enjoy food tremendously. Far too much. And if I tried to be average, I would be miserable.

My progress with my weight is extremely slow, because normal is outside my grasp (and I really couldn't care less).

In the past (when I wanted to just be average) I would give up on weight loss, because I could never conform my behavior to the norm.

Now I don't give a rat's patoot about normal. Who needs normal, when you have fabulous? I may never reach an optimally healthy weight, or it may take me twenty years. It doesn't matter, because my weight isn't who I am. It's just one thing I'm working on, just like my budget, my writing, my craft projects, and all my other hobbies and goals.

I just don't see the value in comparing myself to or modeling myself after anyone else. As I was trained in college and graduate school, improving my functionality, is a lot more important to me than normalcy. When I tried to be "normal" I usually failed, and even when I succeeded it felt fake and unnatural. Focusing on being a better me, at my own pace, without comparing myself to anyone (not even former versions of myself) works so much better for me.
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Old 02-26-2014, 04:19 PM   #24
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I applaud you for having reached that point in your life where you are happy and love yourself. Maybe one day i'll get there.... But i'm the opposite right now...all i think is that i'll never be thin enough, pretty enough, doesn't matter how much weight i lose, i still could lose another 20-30lbs, i value myself by what the scale says and i don't beleive anything anyone else says...

I'm not sure I ever truly felt that my worth depended on the scale. I tried to believe that fat made me worthless, because that's what I was taught by all the self-loathing women in my life, but it's a load of crap, and deep down, on some level, I think I've always known it.

For some strange reason, our culture encourages people, especially women to be loving and compassionate towards everyone but themselves.

We would never treat or think of anyone, the way we do ourselves. In fact, if we even saw someone treating another human being the way we treat ourselves, we would intervene to protect the person being victimized.

All I'm suggesting is that it's possible to start treating youself as you would any other human being.

When you think about it, it's pretty arrogant (in a reverse-logic kind of way) to assume you deserve more abuse than anyone else.

Self-esteem isn't about thinking you deserve more than anyone else, it's about realizing you don't deserve less.

Do you judge others by their weight on the scale, or by the content of their character?

Do you hate and berate others for gaining a pound?

Would you stand by, and allow another person to be bullied, tortured and humiliated for being less than physically perfect?

If your answer was "no" to any of those questions, then don't let yourself get away with it either.

Stand up to your inner bully. Treat yourself like you would anyone else. When you say harsh things to yourself, scold that inner bully like you would a five year old picking on her baby brother. Compassionately, but firmly. Don't let her get away with it. Help her understand that the number on the scale has nothing to do with value, and say it until you believe it.

Or if you can't believe it, at least stop yourself from rubbing your nose in it. If you can't treat yourself as you would a best friend, at least stop treating yourself worse than you would a worst enemy.

We're taught that self-deprication is a virtue, but it's not. It's just self-torture without purpose. It doesn't make us better people, it just makes us numb and empty.
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Old 02-26-2014, 05:14 PM   #25
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All I'm suggesting is that it's possible to start treating youself as you would any other human being.

When you think abojt it, it's pretty arrogant (in a reverse-logic kind of way) to assume you deserve more abuse than anyone else.

Self-esteem isn't about thinking you deserve more than anyone else, it's about realizing you don't deserve less.

Do you judge others by their weight on the scale, or by the content of their character?

Do you hate and berate others for gaining a pound?

Would you stand by, and allow another person to be bullied, tortured and humiliated for being less than physically perfect?

If your answer was "no" to any of those questions, then don't let yourself get away with it either.

Stand up to your inner bully. Treat yourself like you would anyone else. When you say harsh things to yourself, scold that inner bully like you would a five year old picking on her baby brother. Compassionately, but firmly. Don't let her get away with it. Help her understand that the number on the scale has nothing to do with value, and say it until you believe it.

Or if you can't believe it, at least stop yourself from rubbing your nose in it. If you can't treat yourself as you would a best friend, at least stop treating yourself worse than you would a worst enemy.

We're taught that self-deprication is a virtue, but it's not. It's just self-torture without purpose. It doesn't make us better people, it just makes us numb and empty.
If I can bottle your words and take them with me everywhere I go, I would.

The main reason I joined this site was because I was looking for a place that I could be myself and not be what I think society wants me to be - scales were always a trigger for me and unfortunately, they still are, coupled with the focus to be as thin as possible. It was this site over a pro-ana site.

Reading encouraging words like yours centres me again.
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Old 02-26-2014, 06:04 PM   #26
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Who said anything about living in a constant state of deprivation? I'm nearly 48 years old, and have been dieting since my parents offered me two pet turtles to lose eight pounds in kindergarten ( I never got my turtles, because when I had lost 6 of the 8 lbs, turtles couldn't be sold as pets). To me, dieting is a constant state of deprivation. I have not been obese my whole life, a large part of my adult life yes, but not since childhood. I have been a dysfunctional eater since puberty though, a COE and binger precisely.

I've been watching thin and fat people all of my life. I got a bachelor's and then a master's degree trying to learn how to think and act like a "normal" person. I got a bachelor's and a couple of masters, but only to pursue my career, not normalcy.

Instead I learned that there is no "normal" except in the sense of "average," and that average is highly overrated. I can't identify with your definition of normal, I can only state what it means to me, which I have, above. I don't wish to be average and I know I'm not thought of as average by those around me.

In developmental and cognitive-behavioral psychology (my area of interest), the focus is on functionality, not normalcy. There is nothing to be ashamed of if I want to find some normalcy in my life concerning my eating habits and I don't see how that is confused with being average. Observation is something that comes naturally, it would be strange if I wasn't aware of how people around relate to food. But now I've found a way to relate to those people in my life that doesn't involve me thinking less of myself.

I am much happier now that I have no desire or interest in being normal, because normal means average. The average thin person eats when they're hungry and what they're hungry for. I am much happier in myself now that I am finding normalcy and hope that my newfound self acceptance continues. I don't think one has to be average or thin to eat what they are hungry for when they are hungry. One just has to be observant of one's own hunger signals.

I can't do that. I've tried that many times over the course of the last 43 years, and it just doesn't work, because I'm hungry all of the time, for everything. I've thought that too. Again my battle is not as long as yours but I am finding out some rather surprising things about myself now that I am not dieting. It turns out that I am actually not hungry all the time like I thought I was. I'm still confused by it but learning to accept that. And if I am hungry it's not for food as I am also coming to find out.

That doesn't mean I'm miserable or even just a tiny bit sad. It just means that deciding to become "the best me I could be" has become a lot more important than trying to be average. I don't mean that you are sad, clearly you are not sad. I said I was sad.

I am happier than I've ever been, because I stopped trying to become like anyone else. Me too. I'm not trying to be like anyone else, I'm coming to appreciate everyone else that's all.

I used to envy people who could eat only a small portion of my "trigger foods" and not want more. I envied thin people who never seemed hungry and were easily satified with small portions. I didn't understand that kind of hunger because I only experience that kind of hunger on a no-carb diet, which I do find miserable for an array of reasons. I used to envy people like that too. But it turns out I am one of those people after all. And now I am enjoying it and I realize there's nothing enviable about it, it's just natural. I don't have a trigger food, eating is not dangerous to me anymore.

Now I'm just happy to be me, and I don't have to observe anyone to do it. I love observing people, I have many people in my life that I've learned so much from and not just about food. Mostly my mother, who is not without faults but enviably the healthiest fittest person I know. I observe my son who eats with abandon and chooses a variety of foods and loves his green peas as much as he loves his chocolate. And I can't help but observe that my husband won't put a single morsel of food in his mouth if he's not hungry no matter if it's his favorite food or not.

I'm extraordinarily happy with who I am, to the point that I wouldn't even bother with my weight and eating habits if it weren't for health issues. It's been decades since I disliked myself or my body or let my weight be a barrier to anything I wanted. Even at its fattest, my body has served me well all things considered. I'm glad. Health is the most important gift we have. And my greatest motivation of all is my son, who I wouldn't wish to burden with a mother with preventable health problems.

...Who needs normal, when you have fabulous? I may never reach an optimally healthy weight, or it may take me twenty years. It doesn't matter, because my weight isn't who I am. It's just one thing I'm working on, just like my budget, my writing, my craft projects, and all my other hobbies and goals.

I just don't see the value in comparing myself to or modeling myself after anyone else. As I was trained in college and graduate school, improving my functionality, is a lot more important to me than normalcy. When I tried to be "normal" I usually failed, and even when I succeeded it felt fake and unnatural. Focusing on being a better me, at my own pace, without comparing myself to anyone (not even former versions of myself) works so much better for me.
In answer to your question, me - I need normalcy in my life. It's not for everyone but one can be fabulous in every way. I'm just not a fabulous eater and that's what I'm working on. I accept who I am but that doesn't mean I can't improve. Having aspirations for how I want to behave around food, having a role model and having aspirations for how I want to look isn't so bad, why are you putting it down?
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Old 02-26-2014, 06:19 PM   #27
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I agree want to bottle up those terrific words for a grey day. Excellent and so right on.

I, too, am generally thin. I've been really on a nice positive streak but tonight I tried on a pair of slacks and they really are just too snug. I go into this whole dialog with myself to get focused and I could make them fit in a few weeks, but I am trying so hard not to do that have been eating reasonably and not overheating and darn it I want to just "be" and sustain.

I am a foodie, too, love to cook and have dinner parties. I enjoy healthy food so much and it tastes good when well prepared. It's not that hard to eat well but I need ice cream and chocolate thrown in.

Anyway I'm having that dialog with myself tonight on wishing those darn white pants fit better and what I should do about it. Probably donating them to a thrift store would be the sensible answer.
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:51 PM   #28
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In answer to your question, me - I need normalcy in my life. It's not for everyone but one can be fabulous in every way. I'm just not a fabulous eater and that's what I'm working on. I accept who I am but that doesn't mean I can't improve. Having aspirations for how I want to behave around food, having a role model and having aspirations for how I want to look isn't so bad, why are you putting it down?
I'm not putting it down, I'm saying that you can't always force yourself into the "normal" box, as much as you might like to.

You can follow a random thin woman around, eat only when and what she eats, do what she does, and sleep (or try to) when she sleeps, and it may not make you happier or thinner.

Food and lifestyle are only parts of the body weight puzzle. Sure if you're 150 lbs or more overweight like I am, you probably eat substantially more and move less than the average healthy-weight person, but if you have only 5-30 lbs to lose, how are you going to find the "right" person to emulate?

And what are you emulating? Eating when you're hungry, stopping when you're full? That won't work if you're insulin resistant or if your appetite and hunger isn't "normal" to begin with.

With all the dozens of variables that affect metabolism and body weight, how are you going to define, let alone conform to normalcy?

Many "normal weight" people keep their weight in check by smoking and other unhealthy behaviors, so do you take up those unhealthy habits as well because someone you perceive as "normal" does them.

The "normal" American diet is so terrible that "normal" is the last thing any of us should aspire to.

If emulating someone else helps you, awesome! But if you try to emulate a thin person and you don't get the results you hoped for, don't assume it's because you did anything wrong. You might just need to find someone else to emulate.

Even if you can somehow be average in every way, you still may get nonaverage results.

You can emulate anyone you want to, but it doesn't guarantee you success.
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:54 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by kaplods View Post
I'm not sure I ever truly felt that my worth depended on the scale. I tried to believe that fat made me worthless, because that's what I was taught by all the self-loathing women in my life, but it's a load of crap, and deep down, on some level, I think I've always known it.

For some strange reason, our culture encourages people, especially women to be loving and compassionate towards everyone but themselves.

We would never treat or think of anyone, the way we do ourselves. In fact, if we even saw someone treating another human being the way we treat ourselves, we would intervene to protect the person being victimized.

All I'm suggesting is that it's possible to start treating youself as you would any other human being.

When you think about it, it's pretty arrogant (in a reverse-logic kind of way) to assume you deserve more abuse than anyone else.

Self-esteem isn't about thinking you deserve more than anyone else, it's about realizing you don't deserve less.

Do you judge others by their weight on the scale, or by the content of their character?

Do you hate and berate others for gaining a pound?

Would you stand by, and allow another person to be bullied, tortured and humiliated for being less than physically perfect?

If your answer was "no" to any of those questions, then don't let yourself get away with it either.

Stand up to your inner bully. Treat yourself like you would anyone else. When you say harsh things to yourself, scold that inner bully like you would a five year old picking on her baby brother. Compassionately, but firmly. Don't let her get away with it. Help her understand that the number on the scale has nothing to do with value, and say it until you believe it.

Or if you can't believe it, at least stop yourself from rubbing your nose in it. If you can't treat yourself as you would a best friend, at least stop treating yourself worse than you would a worst enemy.

We're taught that self-deprication is a virtue, but it's not. It's just self-torture without purpose. It doesn't make us better people, it just makes us numb and empty.
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Old 02-26-2014, 08:22 PM   #30
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I don't understand why you think I want to emulate, mimic, copy or pretend to be like anyone other than myself. I don't follow anybody around or pretend to eat like someone else. And with all due respect I don't see why my aspirations to be a non-dysfunctional eater are any less valid then your aspirations to be whatever you want to be. If you don't agree with what my definition of normal is then that's fine.
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth
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