The Chef Who Couldn’t Eat

It was a summer Saturday like all the others. I had spent the day manning my popular farmers’ market stall on the small island where I lived, selling homemade wood-fired oven bread, jams, and chutneys made from local produce to islanders and tourists. I worked hard but I loved it!

I went home that afternoon with a bit of a sore throat but decided to go out to a friend’s party anyway. It was cold that evening and we sat outside where I huddled under a blanket, shivering. We went home early and I went straight to bed with a hot water bottle and some echinacea thinking I would be fine in the morning. I woke up the next day feeling like I had the worst flu of my life… and I didn’t get out of bed for three months.

It took me almost two more years to crawl out of a fatigue so crippling that I was confined to my house most of the time. It took me another three years to feel “normal.” I would sit at home alone all day spinning dark fantasies that included lifetime confinement to a wheelchair and feeding tubes. The worst thing wasn’t the fatigue, but the digestive changes that took place. I could literally only eat white rice, vegetables and a small amount of chicken or fish. Food had been everything to me – my career and my passion, and I could no longer eat, let alone work. I felt that my life was over.

The bright spots during those dark and frightening early days were the trips I made out of my house to see alternative health practitioners of every stripe. Their treatments often wouldn’t help me (and a few made me worse) but their compassion and unconditional support gave me the hope I needed to carry on. Slowly the fatigue started to lift and I began to heal. I started to wonder if it was possible for me to use what I had learned in my recovery to help others with their own health challenges but I was perplexed as to how I could do that – at 54 I didn’t relish the idea of going back to college for another four years or so. That’s when serendipity brought me to The Institute for the Psychology of Eating and I knew that I’d found my answer. The training they offered provided me with the perfect opportunity to take my love of food and cooking in a completely new and exciting direction and “pay forward” all the care and support that I had received.

I’m healthy today, in many ways healthier than I’ve ever been. When I look back on all the assistance I received from so many amazing people I realize that what helped me heal were not necessarily their “techniques” (as skilled as they were), but their kindness, their compassion, and dare I say it, their love. It doesn’t matter how you get to that crossroads in your life, whether it’s through an illness like mine, or through food and eating issues like my clients, it’s always a beautiful opportunity to make new choices and experience profound and lasting transformation. A wise friend once told me that a true healer is someone who walks alongside you and holds your hand while you heal yourself. When I hold this in my mind and my heart as I work with clients I know that extraordinary things are possible.

Did you know that it’s not just what you eat, but “what’s eating you” that leads to challenges with food, body and health? The chronic low-level stress that we experience in our fast-paced lives has rendered us unconscious when it comes to eating, and we’ve lost the natural joyful relationship that we once had with food. In fact, for many of us, our thoughts about food have become a war zone with “bad” food on one side, “good” food on the other, and confusion in between. Lynn Jennings is a chef and Conscious Eating Coach who can help you manage stress, untangle your food issues, and rediscover the pleasures of healthy eating. If you’re ready to make real and lasting change let’s work together to craft a dogma-free eating and living program that is uniquely suited to you and your body. TheDeliciousPath.com