I struggled with disordered eating from the time I was 17 until I was 23 years old. No one knew. Not even my family. I struggled with over-eating, undereating and depression. I felt shame, I felt empty and I felt alone. I felt uncomfortable in my own body, I felt unworthy, I felt helpless. I felt a hole in my soul.
I made a choice in my life to look at my so-called weaknesses and issues and use them as teachers. My path to healing was full of obstacles. I choose to call these obstacles opportunities because they led me to the best health of my life. They led me to a light, healthy, vibrant outlook and body.
There were three key things that helped me move through my disordered eating and make peace with my plate. These things saved me, and I want to pass them along to you. I think you might find these tips important even if you don’t struggle with an eating disorder; maybe you know someone who does.
1. Lean in to it.
By this I mean really feel it. When you’re about to go on a feeding frenzy, starving and restricting yourself, or heading to the bathroom to purge, stop for just one second. Usually when we’re feeling the pull to restrict or gorge, we're avoiding a feeling that we probably don’t want to feel because it’s so big and painful.
Stop. Breathe. See if you can tap into whatever that feeling is for you. Once you start to notice the feelings that come before the storm, I think you’ll begin to see a pattern. The next tip is what will help you let go of that story and move though those delicate feelings.
2. Listen to your self-talk.
I really wanted to heal; I didn’t want to be a slave to my ego. I realized my self-talk was hateful. I began to use awareness and meditation as tools to help me change my patterns and thoughts about my body and food. I found that when I was in the moment and connected to my heart, I didn’t have any problems with eating. I valued my soul, not just my body and external looks. When I was present with the here and now, I saw myself as beautiful, I saw myself as love.
3. Eat real food.
Raw, fresh, organic food changed my life. When I started eating a diet that was high in plant-based foods, things shifted for me. When you eat a clean diet, often your body and mind begin to cleanse as well. I felt so light and happy. My body regulated its weight naturally. I didn’t even think about it. I felt peace for the first time in a long time.
Those were the three key things that helped me lean in and ultimately move though my dangerous eating patterns. Some other things I did that supported my healing:
- I stopped reading magazines.
- I started practicing yoga.
- I took up running.
- I read books that supported my soul's growth
- I found healthy role models.
- I asked my God for support.
- I made sure to check in with my soul life every morning and every evening.
- I started a blog all about healthy eating and healing.
- I surrounded myself with healthy people.
- I quit searching for a man to make me feel good about myself.
- I learned to forgive myself and others.
- I slowly learned to love myself again.
- I remembered that we’re all in this together.
Your path to healing may be different than mine, but I truly believe that if you can forgive, open your heart and ask for help, your best body, life and spiritual path will open up before you.