I am a girl who’s struggled with weight and body image from the age of 12. For decades, I was a professional yo-yo dieter either restricting or overeating, sometimes both in the same day. I’ve been in clothing sizes from 6 to 16
During my overeating or neglecting phases, I would eat anything. Anything I wanted or desired whether I was hungry or not. I disregarded my health and what my body needed because well, since I was “off program,” I didn’t want to miss out on the foods I wouldn’t be able to eat once I got back “on program.” I treated most meals like they were my last supper. Exercising was optional. Why exercise if you’re not in pursuit of changing the shape of your body? Why work that hard if losing weight wasn’t the goal?
Eventually, I would get frustrated, frenzied, and anxious about the size of my body and go looking for the next diet craze. Surely if I could control my food and make my body shrink, then everything would be right in my life, so I thought.
I’d muster up enough willpower to hop on the next diet or lifestyle change (a.k.a. restricting), and get at it. I’d eat the exact portion sizes someone told me to eat, diligently track my food, follow a rigid exercise plan, and often cut way down on certain food groups. I’d think about food and exercise non-stop because if I didn’t, I might gain weight. In fact, I would over-exercise and push my body to its limits in pursuit of the “ideal” body. Some would consider my behavior obsessive.
Being obsessed sucked every ounce of energy out of me, caused me to live in a state of chronic stress, and quite frankly turned me into a b*tch. I scoured the menu before going to a restaurant, ordered what fit into my plan (which was usually NOT what I really wanted), religiously packed my own snacks for outings, turned into the food police around our house, and loathed grocery shopping and cooking. It was emotionally draining and extremely stressful!
I would look in mirrors, windows, or wherever I could find my reflection, wondering how I looked. Did I look bloated? Was my stomach flat? Even though I was the smallest I’d ever been, I still wanted to be smaller. People complimented me on my willpower and my body. I loved those compliments! Who doesn’t?
Unfortunately, I was also binging several times a week due to the deprivation my body was experiencing. The diet world will tell you that binging is a sign of weakness and you just need to have more willpower or distract yourself. This is NOT true! Binging is a result of restricting.
However, I didn’t know that yet, so I would beat myself up for not being able to hold it together and stay “on program.” In came guilt and shame, which led to the eat-repent-repeat cycle.
Looking back, I realize I was not truly happy or even myself in either place. Why? Because my mind was a mess in both places. My mind was not in alignment with my spirit and heart. I made it about the food and my body, but in truth, it was and never will be about the food or my body. Food is just food. My body is my body.
Optimal health is about more than a number on a scale or the circumference of your waist and thighs. It is about being well in mind, body, heart, and spirit. It’s about ditching the rules, the food police, and the thought that only “clean” foods are allowed in one’s diet. It’s about letting go of the pursuit of the “ideal” body and accepting that all body sizes and shapes have a place in this world. It’s accepting that the pursuit to perfection is a never-ending road with no room for contentment or peace and is no longer needed in my life. It’s knowing that stress creates more health issues and what is really needed is self-care and relaxation.
In 2016, I became a Revelation Wellness Instructor and did a lot of heart and spirit work. For me to move forward, I needed to understand my true identity and purpose for my life. As I continued to work on me and change my mindset, I knew my passion and purpose was to help more people get out of diet culture and decrease their stress. You see, my FB feed is filled with women stuck in obsess or neglect. They are either restricting (and probably binging, also known as cheat days) or overeating. They are doing one or the other in hopes to find freedom and peace. However, freedom and peace are not found in either of those places.
In 2018, I became a certified Health and Life Coach with tools to help women tune into their inner-wisdom regarding their health and well-being. Tools to help women decrease and manage stress. Tools to help women be secure and confident in their own skin. Tools to help women use their own intuition regarding food, exercise, self-care, and overall health. Tools to develop a strong vision for their desired outcome, as well as the ability to let go of any beliefs that no longer serve their vision.
We are all different. Just like there’s no one-size-fits-all shoe. There’s no one-size-fits-all diet or lifestyle. When we quiet the outside noise of diet culture and society’s expectations, we can tap into our inner-wisdom and find our true self.
I’m humbled to say this journey has led me to freedom and peace. Freedom and peace in body, mind, heart, and spirit!