After YEARS of struggling with negative body image, chronic illness, and therefore desperately trying to control my food, I finally accepted that something had to change. I wasn’t getting any ‘better’ the harder I tried, in fact I was getting worse.
The rare time I WOULD experience some sort of “physical benefit” of my dietary choices the emotional and mental harm negated it. It was like a game of whack a mole.
I slowly began to accept that the only way to stay at the weight I "wanted" was to live a life of deprivation and frustration (aka disordered eating).
Eventually that choice became intolerable. I simply couldn’t do it anymore.
I developed pretty severe IBS and experienced my first intense bouts of insomnia. NOW I know those are big red flags of being food restricted but at the time it never occurred to me nor was it mentioned as a possibility by health care providers, even the super alternative, “holistic”, eastern medicine kinds.
In addition to the diet induced IBS, fatigue, and insomnia, I've also struggled with decades of chronic migraines, tense and painful neck/jaw muscles, a scary iron deficiency, and a sluggish thyroid. The more I have healed my relationship with food and my body the better I feel, THESE were the “lifestyle changes” I had been seeking all along.
NOT the kinda of “lifestyle changes” that diet and wellness culture taught me about. Not restricting more foods or working out harder or being more "disciplined". No, I mean LIFE-ALTERING, paradigm-shifting changes. Like breaking down years of emotional barriers, un-felt emotions, and unlearning harmful diet culture messaging. Choosing to step away from mainstream messages of beauty and "success".
I was lucky to find some medical doctors, alternative healers, and book authors that gave me the strength to keep moving forward. I began to feel peace again and finally believed there was a path that led to answers. A light at the end of the tunnel.
I was not ‘cured’ over night but my eyes had been opened to new information and I have never looked back.
(the truth is I STILL struggle with some of these health issues, that is simply part of being a human being!)
Once I accepted that my natural body shape/weight wasn't a curse (OR a representation of my worth) I was dedicated to making A LOT Of changes.
I started my own private coaching practice... YEA!
And quickly realized there was an sad little elephant in the room... OH NO!
The underlying reason a lot of my clients were trying to get "healthy" was because they actually wanted to control their weight, but in a "healthy" way.
Even if weight loss wasn't the first thing they mentioned, it was there. They wanted to be fixed but not at the cost of gaining weight. This was shockingly familiar to me.
I did some soul-searching and chose to specialize in the area I was best suited for:
Helping people get to the core of their health and body image issues WHILE learning new behaviors around food, movement, and self-care techniques.
After all, that was MY story. I know the pain. I have lived it.
I sought out additional training in this field from THE source of body/self acceptance, Isabel Foxen Duke, and was thrilled when she agreed to take me under her wing. She became my mentor and changed my life. It was through my work with her that I began to fully realize my unique point of view as a health and wellness coach.
One of the tools I discovered was Intuitive Eating. I am honored to say I am a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor!
(Cool side note: was personally supervised by Evelyn Tribole during my certification!)
I was also introduced to the Health at Every Size community and now practice from a weight inclusive place.
I help others break free from the chains of body shame weight-loss obsession, and food restriction...
AND to find peace in the shadow of chronic illness.
What would you do if you felt free??
Me at the "Happiest Place on Earth", celebrating, eating, having fun and being FREE!!!