When I was 20 years old, I gained nearly 20 pounds in under three months. I believed it was all because of the food I was eating at the time.
When I was 21 years old, I lost nearly 20 pounds in under three months. I believed it was all because of the food I was eating at the time.
For the next 5 years, the pattern repeated over and over again. I was in a vicious cycle.
A stressful period would trigger binge eating, which would then cause weight gain. That would trigger self-hatred, which would cause social isolation. I would then decide that I can’t go on like that, which would trigger draconian diets. That would cause weight loss, which would trigger increase in my self-esteem. I would then start socializing more and that would trigger happy feelings. Until the next stressful period. And it would be Groundhog Day all over again.
I spent over a decade of my life believing the idea that the way I felt had everything to do with the way I looked.
I was terrified that I didn’t have enough willpower to keep dieting and keep depriving myself of the pleasure of eating. And I just loved eating! Was that so bad? Did that mean that I just wasn’t meant to ever enjoy food and enjoy the way I looked at the same time?
But that’s what I believed.
And then something shifted.
I got tired of living in fear. I’d had enough. Enough counting calories. Enough turning down my friends’ lunch invitations. Enough using the number on the scale to measure my worth and determine whether or not I should feel good about myself.
And then I let a new idea enter my mind. An idea so bold and in such contrast with everything I had believed for years, that it completely rewired my brain. That idea was that food was not the enemy.
I gradually made friends with food. I was learning to enjoy it without feeling guilty. I was studying the different foods that I found delicious and pretty soon I realized that I actually love, love, love healthy foods. I discovered the limitless diversity of delicious and nutritious foods that nurtured my body and nourished my mind.
And then something else happened.
My weight stopped fluctuating for the first time since I was a teenager. I was going out with friends and enjoyed great meals without going into self-hate modes. I was happy, relaxed, and loved every minute of those experiences. And you know what that did to my body? It kept me in parasympathetic nervous system dominance. My stress levels were down, my digestive system was working like clockwork, I was absorbing all nutrients from the food I was eating, my blood was in my stomach, where it is supposed to be after a meal, and not in my head, counting calories and blaming myself for every bite.
The moment I stopped obsessing over controlling every little thing about food was the moment I was free. And when I was free to explore food, it turned out that it had the potential to be my biggest ally along. But it only became that when I let it.
Ideas are not changed by will, but by new ideas. Until you make room for a new idea to enter your mind, your mind will remain a hostage of your former wounded self.
I am the CEO & Founder of Foodie Boulevard – a disruptive organization that explores the role of food beyond the plate as foundational long-term strategy for personalized healthcare and wellness.
Our mission is to develop solutions that help our audience use food as an interactive educational tool, a powerful epigenetic factor, and a healing mechanism for people struggling with eating disorders.
I am a published author, blogger, lecturer, and workshop organizer. I am a certified Eating Psychology Coach by the Institute for the Psychology of Eating in Colorado and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Ambassador.