I'm going to tell you a story. Some might read it and be entirely unchanged or unmoved. Some might read it and be inspired yet unaffected. And some might read it and see a piece of themselves hidden somewhere in these words...this story is for you.
About nine years ago I developed some really unhealthy behaviours. Behaviours that now - thanks to therapy, coaching and self reflection - I understand to be coping strategies for what was going on in my life. As a pretty stereotypical first born, Type A perfectionist, I wanted control. And at the time, I exerted that control by abusing my body and disillusioning my mind.
I obsessively controlled what I ate (and didn't eat). I controlled how much I ate (and didn't eat). I controlled how much I ran (or rarely, didn't run). I controlled what people saw (and what they didn't see). I controlled my caloric intake, my energy expenditure, my body composition, my weight, my size, and consequently (although not in the direction I might have hoped), my happiness, my self-esteem and my body image. Because the scale, the size of my clothing, the number of calories I had consumed at the end of the day...I allowed these things to control how I felt about my body and how much value or worth I had earned.
This was my mindset for several years until serious health complications forced me to re-evaluate how I was choosing to treat my body. My eyes were opened to the damage I was doing and the consequences I would face, and will continue to face, because of my poor nutrition choices and conditional body image.
This story, my story, is why I do what I do today. Because so many of us are deemed worthy or unworthy, beautiful or unbeautiful, because of the size of our jeans or the number on the scale - whether by self or by others. Because emotional eating, over eating and disordered eating are behaviours that can be replaced with healthy life-giving habits and skills. Because no one should have to feel guilt or shame in relation to fueling his or her body. Because sometimes you just need someone to show you the way - a sustainable, realistic, fits-in-my-life way to reach the goals you want in a way that honors and respects the body you're in.
Yesterday I weighed in at my lowest body fat % ever, since living with disordered eating. And you know why that is so freaking cool? Because I didn't diet, fast, or quick-fix my way to that number. I didn't eliminate entire food groups or compulsively restrict to get there. And I didn't allow that number (or any other number) to dictate my self worth or how I feel about who I am. That number is merely a goal reached because of adopting healthy nutrition habits that have turned into skills over time. Skills that continually bring me joy, energy, health and happiness. Skills that eliminate the need for compulsive, restrictive, emotional behaviours surrounding what I eat, when I eat and how much I eat. Because this is my life. This is my body. And I want to live - not by arbitrary rules or diet book guidelines - but by my own Owner's Manual, designed by me and for me.
I am imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. But through this process I have learned to love myself, and that has been the greatest revolution.
If you or someone you know is looking to write their Owner's Manual, let's chat. Whether you're looking for a nutritionist, a coach, a mentor or just a friend. I want to help you reach your goals.
Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.