This post is about change, courage and finding freedom (along with a personal – surprising – moment of triumph at the tanning salon).
Habits are hard to change…
Especially the ones that relate to how we treat our bodies, and how we use food.
Food plays so many roles in our lives, and changing them can often feel depriving, time consuming, complicated and too tough for any real length of time.
I get it, because I also used to struggle with food, my eating habits, my body image, and keeping everything “in check”.
As an athlete and personal trainer, I’ve spent much of my life immersed in a very body aesthetic-oriented field, and working in a box of mirrors and windows next to beautifully sculpted athletes and trainers. I am very familiar with body-hatred and food cycles of “control – binge – shame”, and the crazy, out-of-control feelings it brings.
And to be honest, I was there well before becoming a trainer…
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved eating. Food was an easy go-to. It tasted great and it filled many roles: reward, pleasure, socialization, procrastination, distraction and yes, even punishment from the shame of eating to much.
You may not believe it, but in my first year of university I was 30lbs heavier than I am now. At one point in my teens my step dad (whose bonding method was teasing), once told me I look like an over-stuffed marshmallow. (He was just joking, but not really, and there’s a reason why.)
I struggled with food and my love of eating, unacceptance of my body – even hatred – and my desire to look like the models on the covers of fitness magazines for many, many years…
Until I had a scare with cancer.
That journey brought me on a quest for healing, and landed me in the living room of a holistic nutritionist, where my first steps in establishing freedom from food AND embracing a more loving, healing lifestyle began.
Fast forward 15 years and here I sit…
- free from food struggle (but still a total food-lover),
- in a body I love (no matter what my weight is),
- feeling healthy and vital, and
- passionate about sharing the rich and beautiful journey that helped me get here.
Recently I had a surprising moment of triumph.
Before a trip to Mexico, I got a spray tan for a little color without the UV rays (and hey, it was organic!). There I was in the buff (mostly) getting sprayed down by the salon’s owner who does many of the fitness competitors. While she was spraying me down, layer upon layer, eyes only inches from my skin, she commented on my body saying how great it was, and told me that I should compete.
My reaction surprised me slightly, and yet was so comforting…
Years ago, this would have been such a great compliment (and maybe would have even had me entertaining the idea), but as I stood there with her scrutinizing eyes on my nakedness, all I could think was how I loved my body way to much to do that. Ever.
I have respect and admiration for the dedication that goes into it, but I know what it takes. And it’s hard. And for me, the process would be everything but nurturing and kind… it would be obsessive, depriving, mentally and physically unhealthy, and would put my body in competition with others to be judged on stage.
Not one part of that picture appeals. Not one part feels loving.
Today, I don’t seek approval of my body from anyone else; I love it unconditionally.
And that is something new from how I used to feel.
And it felt soooo good to acknowledge in that moment just how far I’ve come.
The post-insight that is key to my habit changes (and freedom), was that when I obsessed over food, eating, and my body – trying to shame it slim and hate it healthy – I failed. Over and over. I struggled. I was insecure. I was miserable. And I ate.
And this is why so many people fail! Doing so, is such a common strategy.
When I shifted into love and began to focus on nourishing choices – not because my body wasn’t good enough, but because it was – my struggle ended. My body naturally found it’s optimal weight and shape without me ever feeling deprived or counting a single calorie.
Since then I’ve pulled the wisdom from my experience, delved into the psychology of habit change, studied the psychology of eating, and offer a loving process to help others shift out of their lifelong struggles too.
When we struggle on our own, we can really make things hard. I had many, many people that helped me tremendously get to where I am now. With the right support, and willingness, it’s entirely doable.
If you’d like to make some changes to improve your nutrition, your health, your confidence, your body image or even your weight, I’d love to support you.
You don’t need to keep struggling on your own. And it doesn’t need to be so hard. This can most definitely be a rich journey of love, light and re-creation. You just need the courage and the willingness.
And I believe if you’ve made it this far in my post you have both.
–> If you’re curious about coaching, please drop me a line – I’d love to chat with you and see if what I offer would be a good fit for what you’re seeking.
Thank you for taking a few moments with me here. I know where I was, and where I am, and am so passionate about helping you break free too.
No matter what your inner critic might say, YOU can do it too.