I have hated my body ever since I was very young. I started to hit puberty around the age of eight, and it's very confusing to develop so young. I went through years of being teased, to years of being harassed, when I started working in the IT field. At age 23, I finally had enough and resorted to breast reduction surgery.
Surgery was not the fix, I still had body issues. After the operation, I turned my focus to hating my stomach. I used food to make myself feel better. I ate as fast as I could in order to get as much food in me as possible. I realized that when I ate, I felt better. Any time I felt down, the only thing that could cheer me up was macaroni and cheese (or anything with cheese for that matter)!
I always said I was grateful I didn’t have a “real” eating disorder like bulimia, or binging. But, I never realized that what I was doing was hurting my body.
Three years ago, when I started my yoga practice, I acknowledged my issues with my body, but it has been a daily struggle to get out of that mindset of personal judgment.
I remember watching our teaching videos during yoga teacher training and crying and hiding my eyes so I could not see myself on the screen. I was mortified with how I looked.
But then, I started to have little breakthroughs here and there and started overhauling my diet. I became a “yo-yo cleanser,” jumping from one cleanse to another, hoping that one would finally work and that something would click! My family and friends would ask me “so what can’t you eat today?”
I was having breakthroughs in so many parts of my life, I could not figure out why I still struggled so much with food.
Recently, a good friend made a comment to me about how fast I eat. I was mortified and grateful at the same time to hear this honesty from her. I started to notice how fast I really was eating and how freaking awful I must look shoving my face full of food.
So I’ve started to really pay attention how I eat, and what feelings come up for me while I eating. Fear that I will never eat that specific food ever again comes up. There is a lot of fear around eating in general. I realized that I eat beyond fullness because I feel guilty for leaving food uneaten.
Consciously slowing myself down felt strange to sit and chew my food and swallow before taking another bite. I think because I have yo-yo cleansed so much, that I over indulge in something in preparation of giving it up for a short period of time.
I started reading A Course in Weight Loss by Marianne Williamson. The chapter “Start A Love Affair with Food” opened up a new awareness for me. It talked about how you may feel like you’re lover of food, but in reality you are the exact opposite.
“The eating patterns of an overeater are chaotic, fearful, furtive, and out of control.”
Check, check, check and check.
I've been filling myself with more and more hate by gorging myself!
Here are the top five things I am implementing to change the negative thoughts and patterns I have around food and my body:
1. Start a love affair with my body.
Appreciate it. Realize that it keeps me going even when I haven’t appreciated it.
2. Take my time to eat.
Notice when I feel satisfied versus feeling overly full. Be okay with feeling uncomfortable about not being full.
3. Make smaller meals.
Eating slower means I eat less.
4. Enjoy food for the nutrients it provides for my body.
How often do you eat a vegetable and think, Wow, this is going to do awesome things for my body!
5. Notice my thoughts when I eat and write them down.
Be OK if fear or discomfort show up.
Getting to this point has taken a long time and I need to keep reminding myself that I won’t be perfect overnight. I will have setbacks and failures, but instead of giving up, I will drop the guilt and keep trying.