A “failed bulimic,” that’s what I called myself. I wanted to be a bulimic so badly, but I couldn’t do it. I was an expert at the binge part but could never quite figure out the purge part.
And no one knew because by day I was this health fanatic who ate the “perfect diet” and by night I spent way to many hours with Ben and Jerry. (No joke my parents owned 2 franchises and we had tons in our freezer).
As a result I became a yo-yo dieter and I would use diets to drop 20 pounds in 2 weeks or exercise like crazy. Morning after morning I would wake up and the first thought that would go through my head was is this going to be a fat day or skinny day. And you know how I found out the answer. I ran to the scale- this external source. IT told me the answer. Yet the irony was that when I did achieve my weight goal, I still was not happy.
The battle with food went on for nearly 2 decades.
I was developing health concerns like irregular menses, constipation, aches, pains and intense mood swings. Intellectually I knew I was eating over emotions but I didn't know how to stop it.
Around the time when my struggle with food was at it's peak I was living in NYC working as a musical theatre actress. To stay in shape for my theatre jobs, and because I was obsessed with my weight, I was at the gym constantly. One day I went to take my normal step class but it wasn't happening. Instead a woman sat in the front of the room and told us to roll out our purple sticky mat. I did as I was told and little did I know that this class was about to change my life. I had stumbled upon my first yoga class.
When not at the gym or on a gig, I waited tables between acting jobs. When I was working in the restaurant the other waitresses and I would sneak food into the bathroom between orders.
One night one of the waitresses mentioned that she had taken the chocolate fudge layer cake into the third bathroom stall. “You can have some,” she said.That was it. I was gone. From that moment on my mind was on one thing—chocolate cake! When my manager told me I had a break, I dashed to the bathroom.
There I was in the 3rd bathroom stall on a 5-minute break tearing through a piece of cake. I was about half finished with the cake when I stopped mid bite. I opened the bathroom stall and looked at myself in the mirror & something happened.
"Who is this person?", I asked myself.
This morning during my yoga I felt self-empowered, calm and connected, especially to my body, which historically had been the culprit of my suffering. I was learning and experiencing presence, consciousness and the real art of loving myself from the inside out. I was beginning to shift my need for approval from external sources (the scale) to inner confidence (liking my body and myself from the inside).
Yet here I was demolishing a cake, relating only to my very loud critic and acting only from my impulsive actions. I walked home from the restaurant that night in a daze. I sat for hours at my kitchen table.
Then I had an insight...
Take yoga off the mat and into the kitchen.
Translated to—practice awareness with food.
It suddenly seemed so obvious. Eating, or rather over-eating, was the one consistent place I went unconscious. In contrast, during yoga I felt vibrant and alive...... present.
What if I could apply that level of awareness to my relationship to food?
In that exact moment I set a new goal: To bring the skills of mindfulness and compassion to my relationship to food and my body.
On some level I was on my way, I had already begun to practice eating an organic whole foods diet but I needed something else...
the missing ingredients...presence, consciousness, awareness, mindfulness and inquiry.
Of course there were many ups and downs over the next 17 years, but now I was on a path. A path others had walked before. To shift my relationship to food and my body with awareness.
I now saw my struggles with food as the gifts of my life. As crazy as it sounds I thanked the universe for giving me this hardship.
Everyone comes into the world with something to overcome. Difficulty with food and my body were the cards I was dealt. And stumbling upon the yoga class at my gym was the first step to put me on a journey beyond my wildest dreams.
With the tools of meditation, yoga and mindfulness I now had a daily practice to keep me in alignment with who I wanted to be in the world. A liberated lady. This freedom took me by surprise, as did my decision to change careers from actress to health coach. I was learning skills that helped me feed my soul and nourish my body, and I wanted that for other women.
The battle with food might not be your struggle. It might be another addiction, depression, relationships, work...
And although you might perceive it as the thorn in your side, I invite you to investigate something else. Perhaps this is YOUR gift.
If you are interested in learning to feed your soul and nourish your body, I invite you to contact me. I look forward to hearing your story and sharing the ways I can support you to find your own path towards your liberation.