When I was a teen and looked at myself in the mirror, I was always disappointed. My hips were too big and completely covered in cellulite and stretch marks. My nose, huge; my chest, too small, my skin, too pale. I had no coordination nor grace. My mother was sick. My parents divorced. I worked super hard in school so my grades would give some numerical value to a life that I considered embarrassing. I believed I didn’t have anything clever, funny nor worth listening to say.
I desperately wanted someone to love me, because I didn’t love myself. After my first heartbreak, I looked for solace in sweets, surrogate hugs…My clothes stopped fitting. The misery of dieting began. Now I had a new number to give value to my existence. But the scale didn’t bulge. My body was failing me. Despite following my diet to a T, the weight stayed still week after week—If only someone had asked me what was going on in my life and explained me that my stress was the reason behind the weight, and that instead of rationing my food I should learn to breathe, believe, and experience pleasure, it would have been a different story, but this frustration and sadness were the seed of my profession.
I loved/hated food as an abusive partner (although all the abuse came from within me, as food doesn’t have the intrinsic power to hurt). Some time passed and I began studying the art of cooking, and the magic of food as a social, cultural, and emotional marker. Just like that, my weight finally stabilized. I became able to have chocolate at home without being terrified. Slowly, I became a food lover.
When I became pregnant, I began admiring my body for being a vessel for the most fantastic possibility of humankind. Breastfeeding taught me the sacredness of Creation, and becoming a mother has showed me to love unconditionally.
How a parent loves a child is the best example of how we should love: it’s not about believing our child is the best looking or athletic, or smart human being. It’s about committing to protecting, cheering for, listening to, and accepting one’s kid and her challenges, helping him fulfill his individual needs, without controlling or indulging too much.
I help my clients learn how to treat themselves as if they were their own parent/child: to love themselves in an unconditional way, despite their faults, cellulite, belly bulge, and advancing age. We need to listen and accept. We can choose the best options and improve, from a place of love.
Now, when I look at myself in the mirror I see a human being who is trying her best. One that’s lucky to be grateful, even to her cellulite and big hips. It always makes me smile!
Alexandra Zohn, MA, EPC, HHC is a Certified Eating Psychology and Holistic Health Coach, Nutritionist, Chef, and holds a Master’s in Food Studies. She’s the creator of The Star of Health, a blueprint for self-care that helps people of all ages improve their energy level, mental focus, digestion, hormone balance, metabolism, immunity, mood, social life, and overall happiness by focusing in five key areas of their lifestyle.
By making small changes at time, and incorporating simple practices on how and what we eat, connect with others, move/exercise, sleep, and allow ourselves to relax and experience genuine pleasure, we can all become healthier. Especially if we use creativity and spirituality as a tool.
She sees clients one-on-one and in groups, and works with them on improving their quality of life through a mind-body-spirit approach.
Photo Credit: Liam Gordon