Have your (cup)cake, and eat it too.
I never understood this saying, but now I do. See, disordered eating, and food obsessing, was my way of life for many, many years. I always wanted to be free in my body because most of my life, I felt a prisoner in my own skin. To say it was a pretty awful feeling is, an understatement. It was like I was always aware of the 'heaviness' and belief that my body just never quite felt good enough. There was always weight to lose, no matter how thin I got, and it was as though food thoughts were an unstoppable obsession. If I lost the weight, I was constantly in fear I would gain it back, and if I thought I had weight to lose then I felt so unlovable, so horrible, that I often did not want to leave the house. I would force myself to make the 'right' choices, only later to binge on 'healthy' sweets. My days literally revolved around food. It was, hands down, the center of my universe.
When I first went vegan, and discovered raw foods, life felt good because my food choices were tightly controlled. Most people thought I was uber ‘healthy’, choosing salads over a sandwich or burger (oh my!!!) at restaurants and never (EVER) eating gluten, dairy, corn, soy etc etc etc.
Here’s the (not-so) funny thing, in my quest to get healthy I got less healthy. Instead of tuning in, and listening to what my body needed on a day-to-day basis, I tried to override the system and I was constantly eating in fear. After so many years of this, suddenly I had no control. I’d be eyeing that cookie and couldn’t think of anything else until I drive back to wherever I saw it and devoured it. And I mean devoured it like I had never tasted a cookie before. Almost always I felt less than full or satisfied, even if the cookie was huge or I had multiples. It was like there was a vast void inside that I could never get filled.
Today, I can have my cake and eat it too. But the beautiful part is, I eat it because it tastes sooooo yummy. And if it doesn’t, if it’s too sweet (as often the case), I’ll have a bite or two and stop. Yup, I am now that person who can have ice cream in the freezer for months, never finishing it. Or I can get a cookie or donut from the coffee shop and bring half of it home and literally forget about it.
I share this because I know so many women who struggle like I used to. Whose lives are ruled by food and thoughts that they - their bodies - are somehow wrong. Their days are lived out in a desperate attempt to change the very thing that allows them to be in this world. What’s worse is I find these women are often dimming their light and not sharing their true gifs with the world.
Keep in mind this often masquerades itself as uber health conscious ... I should note that all my ‘binges’ were on gluten-free, vegan, paleo etc etc treats. It doesn’t always matter so much what is in the food as the energy you are putting in to eat while you eat it. Don’t get me wrong I still eat healthy, but it is out of love now and no longer fear. I eat well because I love my body, and I want to nourish and nurture myself and feel the best possible. BUT, it doesn’t rule my life, and some days I have a turkey wrap from Whole Foods and other days I make a raw vegan enchilada in my dehydrator. Sometimes I want a green juice, and other times a cold brew with cream.
So, how did I go from hating my body and being obsessed with food to loving my body and seeing food simply as another piece of my everyday life? The answer is TRUST. I didn't trust myself to make the 'right' choices, and I also didn't trust my body to be beautiful exactly as nature intended. I was convinced that if I didn't obsess over my food choices, and exercise regime, that I would become 'fat'. Really what I thought is that I needed to be absolutely perfect in order to be loved. Our bodies always know best, but we have to give them the freedom and trust otherwise they rebel; just like when you tell your child not to do something and then that is precisely what they want to do. Today, I listen to my body and eat what she craves. I don't find myself overeating, or following a strict diet. My food choices now seem to fall in the middle between eating for health, and eating for pleasure. My body has never felt better. Sure sometimes I have a tiny glimpse of the old stories, but I no longer see it as a fact. Instead I am able to witness it as a thought and tell myself, and my body, all the reasons why I love her and the old thoughts start to drift out of my awareness, just like a passing cloud in the sky.
If you struggle with food, and loving your body as she is, I promise you – freedom is possible. You can feel alive and amazing in your skin. Something magical happens when we begin to love ourselves, and our bodies. We start to live our most magnificent life. If you need support, please reach out. You have a gift to share, and the world needs you. xx, Jamie