My Body's Journey
I distinctly remember the feeling, laying in my bed at my parents's house staring vaguely at the ceiling, my brain impossibly foggy because I was on my 5th day of consuming ONLY Vitamin Waters.
Among my favorite diets, besides the Vitamin Water diet, were the "3 Tangerines per Day" diet, or the "Only Saltines & Ginger Ale" diet. As much as I loved dieting, I also loved bingeing, and my favorite binge was a holiday binge, where I would regularly consume - unfathomable to me now - THREE WHOLE loaves of bread at a time.
This is a brief glimpse into what was a 5-year long eating disorder. When you look at eating disorder statistics and consider the fact that most women deal with them for their entire lives, I got off quite lucky. But when you're in the midst of a food-thought-obsession, it feels like a lifetime regardless. It certainly did to me - I NEVER thought I would ever be able to turn my attention to anything else. Fear, love, and hatred of food dominated my entire life.
I now know I was not the exception, I was the norm. This past weekend we cancelled a workshop at the studio, the Embody Love workshop, because of low attendance. This strikes me as ironic, because I personally know tons of women who are riding the roller coaster of body acceptance, who could benefit from a workshop just like this one, and I'm sure you do too. Maybe we aren't quite ready to admit it yet. Maybe we are afraid to take the first step towards self-love. Maybe it feels so impossible we don't see the point in trying. I've certainly fallen into every one of these categories at some point or another. But now, having thoroughly and proudly clawed my way out of diet culture, I would never want to waste another second there. I'm here to tell you the way out is possible, and it's available.
Fact: NO ONE is immune to body image issues & diet culture. I grew up naturally very athletic & toned. This body type was, as a teenager, GROTESQUE to me. I wanted to be 6'2" and 100 pounds so I could model (yup, I had my sights set on it, embarrassing admission) or look like Natalie Portman re Black Swan. There was no amount of starvation that could bring me any closer to that goal. In fact, the juicy irony and GREAT NEWS (for everyone) here is that as soon as I STOPPED restricting and yo-yo dieting, I started LOSING weight, and now (I am not saying this as a gimmick, I swear it on my life) I don't restrict ANY foods and I am the strongest, fittest and happiest with my body I've ever been. The point is the grass is always greener on the other side, and you can NEVER look at another woman and say "She doesn't know my struggle because she just has good genes and good metabolism." It simply is. not. true. The TRUTH is that your body starts working with you the moment that you start working with YOUR BODY (louder for the people in the back!).
Let's also take a minute to look at that word: RESTRICT. Just because I don't restrict doesn't mean I eat whatever I want & go to town on Cheetos all day. There are foods I don't consume, because I don't WANT to, because I know they are toxic & will make me feel like shit. Any food that I DO want & feel good about putting in my body, I eat. And it's become such a natural practice, after lots of practice, it's easy now. That's right: a relationship to food can be EASY. And it can be a lifelong relationship. That means when a new fad diet comes out, I let it breeze through my news feed without any temptation to try it. It means I'll never be coerced into paying hundreds of dollars for shakes or "quick-fixes". I already know what works for my body and how to fine-tune it if needed. I can get answers from within & feel good about that, which prevents me from the struggle of "Nutrition Information Overload." It also prevents "I-just-finished-the-Whole-30-and-I-need-a-whole-pizza-and-box-of-wine." Not to bash on the Whole 30, or any other program, which serves lots of cool purposes for lots of awesome people. But if it's just not jiving for YOU because you need something a little more sustainable, I hear you.
Today I heard someone at a coffee shop say she was "bad" for ordering a COBB SALAD. This makes me cringe. And this is why we're re-launching our Three Weeks to Well program starting June 3rd. I work a lot with teenagers around body image stuff & preventing the influence of "diet culture", but the truth is we grown-ass women NEED IT TOO. It pervades our lives in sneaky ways, and if we are to hope to be good examples for our daughters, we need to shut that shit down once and for all. And we don't have to do it alone. This program is led by me personally, and I hold it near & dear to my heart. We will meet 4 times in person to check in; be connected in a Facebook group to ask questions, vent about struggles, celebrate each others' success; learn how to tune out the insane amounts of information and tune IN to our intuition; and get closer to a better relationship with our bodies. I'm only taking 10 people for this first round, so don't wait to register! Please email me personally with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a lot to be lost, especially familiarity and comfort, when we let go of one way of being, but there is too much to be gained for us to just stay where we are.