I’ve spent a good portion of my life at war with my body. As a former poster girl for disordered and emotional eating I know all about shame, isolation and pain.
Twelve years old – that was when I noticed that my body was very different than my mom and sister’s. I was shorter. They had skinny calves, mine were muscular. I had an ample chest, they didn’t. From there I found that ‘eating my feelings’ was more comfortable than facing them. This made me the only chunky kid out of a family of seven, a category of one no one would choose. Fast forward to college. Eating disorders were pretty common, especially in the sorority circuit. At the time I thought disordered eating was tailor made, just-for-me. This disordered relationship with food and my body hung around for a large part of my young life.
I eventually found the courage to break up with my dark and dysfunctional friend. To say it wasn’t easy is the understatement of the century, but a series of A-HA moments slowly started to shift my state of mind. Here’s what I discovered:
The love of my family and friends couldn’t heal me, but the love for myself did.
What a lot of people don’t know about disordered and emotional eating, is that it isn’t about food at all. It delves much deeper than that. It’s about feelings. It’s about lack of connection. For me it was also needing to heal from something that never healed properly. I know I’m not alone here. I think that anyone who has struggled with their weight and health also struggles with emotional eating in some way, shape or form.
Fast forward to today. I’m a 50+ mom of two and wife to one. If it weren’t for my wholehearted support of my husband, I wouldn’t be here to share my story and purpose, of helping others to heal. If it weren’t for my kids I wouldn’t have that mother-bear-instinct to lead by example, to show them how to love themselves first and to create an empowered life for themselves, whatever that may look like.
So here’s the happy ending part of my story. I know that the love I’ve cultivated for myself is what ultimately healed me. Do I still have days where I feel vulnerable, and my old body image issues get the best of me? ABSO-friggin-LUTELY! But the difference is now that’s OK. It’s OK because the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that physical AND emotional health is a journey… not a destination.