I spent most of my life on a diet. I was the first-born to a 17 year old women who battled her own self esteem issues; a beautiful figure in my eyes, one that I did envy, but did not inherit. I was the chubby kid. And my mother became weight focused. A few of her comments burn in my memory for what now seems like eternity…
You have such a pretty face… if you just lost a little weight…
What if we paid you $1 per lost pound?
Don’t wear that shirt, it looks like you are wearing a spare tire around your waist.
Growing into my own body issues, I started a diet young. I prayed to wake up skinny. I researched if Oahu offered weight loss camps for kids. I did Sweatin’ to the Oldies video tapes in my living room. I wished upon a star to wake up the next day nonfat. I cried about it. I sometimes thought if I could just take a knife and cut off all of the fat from my abdomen, my life would be so much better.
Fast forward to young adulthood, first love and heart ache. I fixated that my weight was the reason everything was wrong in the world and I began my obsessive exercise compulsion which turned into marathon racing which turned into long distance triathlon training which turned into an over decade of over exercising. Couple that with an Ulcerative Colitis diagnosis in 2003 and I was certain that I could exercise anything away, including my newly inherited auto immune disease.
But, that is for another blog post, or rather, for hundreds of other blog posts. I needed to give you the back story as to why I myself battle with listening to my body’s natural cues especially when it comes to food.
As someone on a diet from child hood and then as a young adult with a disease that involved digestion, I learned to ignore hunger because eating was painful; emotionally as it always had been but then it also became physically painful as well since Ulcerative Colitis ceates open sores on your colon and the colon is in charge of digesting, that whole eating and digesting situation with a “leaky gut” is just downright painful; like really painful.
And so there I was. As a young girl, I didn’t eat because I was fat. As a young adult, I didn’t eat because eating with Ulcerative Colitis caused awful repercussions and so eating food was just not worth it.
As a young girl, I didn’t eat because I felt fat and ugly. As a young adult, I didn’t eat because I wanted to be thin. The obsession slowly became a game of control… How long could I last? How strong could I be? How much discipline did I have?
I pushed my hunger so far down, way down deep, that I really believe that I made myself believe that I was never hungry. I tuned hunger out; completely; 100%; point. blank. period.
Fast forward to today as I stand now. I’m a work in progress; but, aren’t we all? On December 7, 2015, after colon removal surgery; I realized that I needed to listen to my body and really pay attention to the cues, the messages my body was giving to me. I began to work on exercise balance (still a A LOT of work in progress) and eating to fuel my body versus not eating to punish it. Then in May 2018, after a late term miscarriage, I didn’t have energy to do much of anything. My exercise took a back seat because I fell into a deep depression and exercise just wasn’t cutting it like it had before. I just threw my hands in the air and thought,
Why the fuck exercise? Why be healthy? Why take care of myself when at the end of the day, being healthy doesn’t mean jack shit when you can’t even carry a pregnancy to full term?
I crawled into a black hole and planned to stay there. And it took months; but I was surrounded by love and support and little by little, my light began to shine again. I began to see purpose in my life again. I slowly found joy in the things that had previously brought me joy. But, I was changed forever; this life experienced changed me for the better.
I realized my mindset needed a reset. I needed to give myself permission to be kind to my body; to learn compassion toward myself and to listen to my body. I spent more than half of my life fighting against this body; cursing this body for what it did not look like, for what it could not do; and that shit needed to change.
Does it happen overnight? Nope. A client and I were chatting about enforcing our healthy boundaries with not so healthy loved ones. She is starting her journey; mine is 10 plus years in. And out of the blue, I told her “Hey, it took me 10 years to get here, to get to this place where I am 100% okay with my boundaries and how I enforce them. And I have ZERO guilt about the way I interact with these individuals because I know what I need to do to remain 100% feeling good in my head and in my body.”
She was kind of bummed that I said it took so long.
This is the long road; the journey. You do the work, day by day, little by little and eventually, you’ll get to your destination. And then you choose another and another and continue this process on and on.
My next path? I am working on clear communication of how I feel with particular individuals without sugar coating it; without side stepping it; without completely avoiding it. I want to create enough strength and confidence to speak my truth without fear or anxiety and although I know that I probably have another 10 year journey to go; at least now, I know it will be worth it. For every uncomfortable situation I’ve found myself in, I’ve come out stronger and more confident for it.
Do you listen to your gut? Do you tune in to the fine subtle and sometimes, no so subtle messages your body sends you? Do you want to break free from punishing yourself with exercise or food restriction? Are you ready to dive deep into your mindfulness to determine if your actions are genuinely healthy for you?
I help busy and stressed women who feel hopeless because everything they try never sticks. Women who are sick and tired of chasing unrealistic goals based upon unrealistic ideals. And I help the under dog; people who have had to face some shitty circumstances or they deal with a body that is constantly challenging them in just down right crappy ways. I’ve been there…”no colon, still rollin’.”
If you need someone in your corner, I got you boo.