I have to tell you, it's not easy to be ten years old, a foot taller than your peers, have only one friend you can teeter-totter with on the playground, and break your grandma's heart every time she tries to buy you yet another Kids 'R' Us plus size outfit that still doesn't fit.
It's the type of scenario that led me to start dieting in elementary school and keep dieting relentlessly well into adulthood.
I tried every diet in the book, yo-yoed my weight until I’d lost and gained a total of nearly 200 pounds, was living in a body I'd never been a fan of, and was hopeless of ever attaining true self-love and peace with food.
I know all of this sounds dramatic, and it was, internally. Externally, I was just a gal who kept losing and gaining the same twenty pounds. My friends and family didn't know the extent of my obsession, because I didn't even know.
Living in a diet-crazed culture, it seems normal to be constantly consumed with the idea of losing weight, but it's not. Or if it is normal, it definitely isn't healthy.
For years I felt desperate to lose weight, because I thought it was the only way I could fully accept myself. If I wasn’t trying to lose weight, I was fervently trying to maintain my weight.
Food was something I obsessed over but was totally disconnected to. It was measured in calories, points, and guilt. My nighttime ritual consisted of putting my head to the pillow, closing my eyes, and going through each item I ate that day.
Can you say unhealthy obsession?? I had no idea that my habitual cycle of dieting was wreaking havoc on my mind and body and causing me to hold on to the very weight I so badly wanted to lose.
Then a day came when I realized I could not move forward in life without addressing my relationship with food and dieting, my ugly habit of body shaming, and my anxiety-driven lifestyle….
That changed everything.
I decided to quit.
Dieting, that is.
I gave it all up. The counting, the forbidding, the stressing, the rule-making and breaking, the self-loathing, the obsessing, the controlling, the feeling out-of-control-ing….
It wasn’t working and I needed a break.
Instead of embarking on another diet, I set to learn about food and about my body. I turned my attention away from how the outside of me looked and focused on what was going on inside.
I had been so focused on losing the weight, I hadn’t even considered if my body was healthy. I needed to learn to love the right food for the right reasons.
Suddenly, the path became clear: eat real food, the kind that will heal your body from the inside out.
This simple thought has changed my life.
Today, I see food as a tool to love and serve my body well. I’m active because it makes me feel good.
I listen to my body and have a clear understanding of my own health needs.
I allow myself to make mistakes and learn from them. (Can I get an "AMEN"?!)
I am far from perfect, but I don't seek to be. I know my health is a journey, not a destination. And for the first time, I'm enjoying the ride.
Is there something keeping you from feeling great? Do you want to feel healthy and vibrant, but have no idea where to start?
Have you broken so many promises to yourself that you've lost all trust in your abilities to follow through or succeed in your goals?
Do you desire accountability but fear you'll have to give up all the food you love?
Have you been living your life on autopilot for so long that the idea of any change at all is absolutely terrifying?
Wherever you're at and whatever is keeping you from experiencing freedom to the fullest, it's okay.
The question is, "What will you do now?"
Here’s the truth.
The more you regulate your food by what others are telling you, the less you will know of what your body needs to get healthy.
You’ll continue to crave the “bad foods” and force down the “good stuff”... that is until you quit, feel like a failure, and move onto the next one.
But you don’t have to live like this anymore. Today could be the day you change your life forever.