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“Normal” Eating for Weight Loss

By Robin Ola January 09, 2024 Health and Fitness

I was talking to a client recently about passing up the breadbasket when she is eating dinner at a restaurant. She said to me, “I just want to be able to eat like normal people.”

This Really Got Me Thinking – What Is Normal Anyway?

Why is bread with dinner considered to be normal? Someone, at some point, decided that, and it’s not the only “normal” eating habit that should be questioned.

Why are eggs and bacon breakfast food? Who decided that? What about breakfast cereal? I am almost positive that someone didn’t discover this was nutritionally the best way to start our day. I’m pretty sure the food manufacturers decided that for us.

I had a client once that was so worried about the wedding she was going to and how she would feel so weird and not “normal” if she didn’t eat the cake. We spent a while talking about this, and she decided to skip the cake. It turned out no one cared or even noticed that she did not partake.

What about “3 meals a day”– does that need to be the standard of normal? Maybe your body likes a different plan, and only you can figure that out.

Some People Think Dieting Is Normal

Some people think suffering and deprivation is normal to lose weight. Neither is normal, and both are actually harmful to you and your health.

The moral of the story is that what’s normal for your body is normal ONLY for your body. No one else knows what’s normal for you.

We have to define our own normal, because no two bodies are the same, and no two days are either.

As we continue to learn more about our individual differences and our collective health as a society, it becomes more and more impossible for one standard of “normal” to exist.

For example, people used to smoke a lot. They smoked at work and on airplanes and in restaurants. That was very normal then. I wonder what we are doing now that we will look back on and say, “How strange; that used to be normal?”

It’s normal to get huge amounts of food in a restaurant. Dessert after the meal is normal. Eating food that you have to unwrap is normal. Cheese that is in a block and sits on the shelf for a year – or ten! – is normal.

It’s Normal Now to Be Overweight

What would it look like to rewrite the rules of “normal” for yourself?

Is it normal to never feel hungry? Maybe when you go to eat you should be hungry, then you could eat until you are satisfied not stuffed.

Is it normal to have forbidden foods? Maybe it’s normal to eat all the foods you love without guilt.

Is it normal to have to live by a strict eating plan? Maybe it’s normal to trust yourself to choose nutritious food most of the time.

Is it normal to spend hours of each day thinking about your diet? Maybe it’s normal to not obsess over food and let it be a small part of your fabulous life.

Do you wish you could eat like a “normal person”? Please don’t wish that. Question what is normal. Decide what you want normal to be for you, on purpose. This is done with purposeful planning for yourself. If you would like a little help, you can get my Planning Worksheet. It’s free.

“Normal is nothing more than a cycle on a washing machine.”

—Whoopi Goldberg

Let’s Have a Conversation:

How often do you find yourself wishing you were ‘normal’? What does normal represent to you? Why does it represent that? Do you think your normal is different from everybody else’s? What is your normal?

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I went on a date recently the guy was 72 hearing aids falling out he was rude and hurtful he said “ if I lost 20-30 pounds he would date me rude very rude

June Beyer

I love this article! Thank you for the Planning Worksheet, Robin!


There’s good points in the article, but there’s an easy answer to “why is it normal to eat bread”? If you were raised by parents who grew up in the Depression or didn’t have the funds, bread is a cheap way to get full at meals.

Great article – when you look at photos of people from different places around the U.S., normal varies widely. Out here in the southwest, if you aren’t slim and fit in your 60s and 70s, that’s not normal. And we do imitate the people we spend the most time around.


I consider the foods I eat to be normal. Yes, I’m overweight and have been all my life. I currently weigh a little more than I did when I was younger and, yes, I’d like to weigh a little less. I’m one of those seniors who has little interest in eating so I track eating to make sure I’m getting three meals a day in. I don’t deny myself if there is something I want because I know I won’t overeat. In fact, I do much better if I remember three meals and at least two snacks at day. It is difficult when you have no interest in food. I should mention that when I fail to eat, I gain weight. My metabolism seems to like small amounts of food on a regular basis.

The Author

Robin Ola is a Certified Health, Life and Weight Loss Coach, and Personal Trainer. As a Behavior Change Specialist for almost two decades, she is passionate about creating innovative methods to help women make permanent health and life improvements through private coaching, workshops, wellness articles and retreats. Robin can be contacted at

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