Eight years ago I was at rock bottom with my eating habits. I had just informed my long-suffering boyfriend that our change from white pasta to wholegrain wasn’t enough, and that we were now going grain-free. I had found this new diet and it was going to be The One and it was going to fix everything. I still remember the concern in his eyes. How he gently told me he could see I was making myself miserable. Until this point, I couldn’t see the wood through the trees.
The fact that it wasn’t me that was failing at dieting, it was the diets that were failing me.
Instead I was berating myself, giving up entire food groups, and making meal times really anxiety-inducing. And, of course, once I ‘failed’ at yet another diet, I would eat everything in sight; everything I had deprived myself of for so long.
My body dysmorphia was horrifying. I had gone from an emotional-overeating-but-underweight 20 year old, who couldn’t put any weight on despite trying … to a 22 year old with disordered eating who had gone up 5 dress sizes in the past 6 months and would have done anything to make it stop. I couldn’t look at pictures of myself. I couldn’t even look at my own reflection in the mirror! I had tried every diet out there, but always ended up in the same place – eyebrows-deep in Quality Streets tins or Ben & Jerry’s, or in yet another Terry’s Chocolate Orange bingeing session. I was trying to convince my mum to pay for hypnotherapy sessions for me (I was a poor MRes student at the time), because I was Out Of Control.
Thank God I found an article on intuitive eating – completely by accident – literally the day after the pasta conversation. I found real role models (like the Boss sisters and Geneen Roth) to replace all of the ‘fad diet gurus’. I started practicing yoga, which healed my broken relationship with my body. Meditation and mindfulness soothed away my stress and anxiety and everything else going on for me. I wasn’t cured in a day, it took months, maybe longer. But the difference for me was that I started to figure out that there were more important things in life than the weight of my body.
I stopped caring about the number on the scales. I started to pay more attention to how happy I could make myself feel.
Today I am lucky enough to preach what I practice! I am now an intuitive eating coach. I graduated from nutrition school and now I help women (and men!) to heal their relationship with food and to free themselves from the shackles of dieting. Geneen Roth, one of my biggest sources of inspiration, was one of my lecturers at IIN. I am proud now to share the message that DIETS DON’T WORK!
If you can resonate with any of these words, I know you deserve to live life to your full potential. I know it’s scary to think about “letting go” of your weight goals. I can promise you now that stopping dieting doesn’t mean you will end up eating so much you’ll have to be airlifted out of your house (one of my previous client’s fears)!
In fact, it’s kind of the opposite.
By making peace with food and myself, I feel good – and I like how I look! While I lost all of that weight, I gained so much more.
My life is full. I move and exercise because I enjoy it.
I eat what I want and stop when I’m full.
I don’t feel like I’m missing out, because no foods are off-limits.
Let me repeat.
NO FOODS ARE OFF LIMITS!
This is not a diet. And no it’s not a freaking lifestyle plan
(when they really mean diet as well) either! This is your opportunity to overcome your barriers around food, and live the carefree life you deserve.
Or if you want to talk to someone who understands what you are going through, get in touch.