A (Slooow) Metamorphosis...
I was pretty much oblivious to the idea of having any control over my thinking until I was about 35 years old.
I saw life as something that happened to me. I really just drifted through my twenties. I was successful
at what I did, but I also just did whatever happened to fall into my lap.
My lack of any clear plan caught up with me in my thirties. I became unhappy and confused and desperate for things to be different.
Basically, I experienced a sort of existential crisis which resulted in epic self-sabotage. I sabotaged my most important relationship; I sabotaged my (former) career; and I sabotaged the respect of some people in my life who really mattered to me.
And, you know what?
I am so f***ing grateful for this.
If I had not so royally screwed up, I don’t know if I ever would have started to wake up.
The wrecking ball that I took to my life was the catalyst for so much personal growth.
I began to actively seek to understand why my life was such a mess. What was I doing wrong?
I KNEW for sure that there had to be a way to live a life that was fulfilling and meaningful.
One of the first books I read on this journey to figuring some of this stuff out was Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning. It was so impactful. I mean, it’s hard to imagine a more horrifying situation than life in a concentration camp. And yet, Frankl found a way to see his life as both meaningful and productive
even amidst such dire conditions.
This was probably the first time I began to grasp the idea that we have a choice about how we feel about our circumstances. For me, this was an outrageously life-changing concept, and I have spent the past 15 years or so learning as much as I can about how our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes shape our experience.
And please, guys, understand that I don’t have all this stuff figured out!
No way. It is something that I work on every single day (some days with more success than others!).
It has, however, become something of a mission for me to help others understand how easy it is to get
trapped in dysfunctional thinking patterns that cause us a whole lot of pain.
Also, like many women, my relationship with food and my body has not always been healthy. In fact,
at times these relationships were quite damaging. It took a lot of time, effort, and experimentation
to come to a peaceful relationship with food and a healthy degree of body acceptance.
But I will tell you that every single moment invested in that growth has been worth it!
Here are some of the realizations I made over time that eventually brought me to a place of peace regarding food, body image, and self-acceptance:
I recognized foods that were triggers for me—foods that made me want to overeat or binge—and kept them out of the house and, for the most part, out of my body.
I slowly worked up to eating 5 or more servings of vegetables per day, and filled the rest of my plate with a fair amount of protein and some healthy fats.
I found a basic structure around eating that worked for me and made this my *new normal*. It was super important that I did not feel deprived, so my structure definitely has built in treats.
I made a commitment to move my body every single day in a way that raised my heart rate, strengthened me, and helped me manage stress. This is maybe the single most important decision I ever made. I began to see myself as a healthy, active person.
I cut a lot of stress and drama out of my life in terms of both people and situations.
I started practicing some really good (non-negotiable!) self-care habits including daily journaling and meditation.
I began to focus my attention on my thoughts and gradually became aware of how my thinking was affecting my experience of life.
I learned to soften the critical, judgmental voice that ruled my mind. Over time I was able to be gentler and kinder with myself.
Your experience may or may not be similar to mine. And the techniques that served me so well
may or may not serve you. However, I can guarantee that it is possible for you to find peace with food and your body...really, truly.
You are not flawed or damaged or beyond help. You, too, can change your thoughts and your
beliefs which will change your view of yourself, others, and the world you live in. And this, my friend, is a wonderful thing.