Challenges create opportunities. Opportunities become our story. Our story defines our journey.
Without doubt, weight has been at the root of my journey. Chubby, fat, anorexic, obese, normal. Labels that deeply influenced my relationship with my body and self-esteem throughout my life. An issue that created challenges and presented opportunities that defined my journey and led me to what I do today.
Early on I was known as the “fat girl”. For years I was teased about my size and all the physical marks that come with being “big for my age”. I coped with the humiliation and shame by emotionally disconnecting from my body and avoiding meaningful relationships.
Desperate for acceptance by my peers, I went on a very restrictive diet the year before high school. I lost a lot of weight and very few people recognized me. To others I looked “great”. But I genuinely felt awful. My skin was dry, my hair was falling out, I had daily headaches, it was hard to concentrate, and I was obsessed with the numbers on the scale.
Even so, I wouldn’t change what or how I ate. I welcomed the gnawing in the pit of my stomach, believing it was the sign of a healthy body. That and lots of exercise … how else would I keep the weight off and be accepted in a world so focused on appearance?
Bottom line… I went from “fat” girl to “skinny” teen to “sick and desperate” young adult. All I wanted was to eat like a normal person and be healthy. This wish led me to the field of nutrition and wellness.
Yet despite everything I learned in college, I continued to see my body as an enemy that I could not trust. I spent the next two decades navigating the fad diet jungle and yo-yo weight highway trying to achieve impossible expectations popularized by the media and corporate America. Up to nearly 200 pounds then down to 98, followed by every number in between. And let’s not forget the ever present diet sodas, coffee, cigarettes, and other crazy tricks to quench any feelings of hunger or fatigue.
Anxious, tired, a constant reliance on over-the-counter drugs to ease the aches, pains and coldness throughout my body… I truly believed this was normal.
When I hit my 40’s I was diagnosed with osteopenia (thinning bones) and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (an autoimmune condition where the body continuously attacks the thyroid gland causing many important body functions to slow down). I was suffering and in a vicious cycle that I thought I couldn’t break. I blamed my body for everything that was not right in my life. I could not hear what my body was trying to say.
Eventually I found myself in a series of significant health crises that demanded my attention at all levels — physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I had to let go of many beliefs that I thought were true and make peace with myself… I was scared and broken to my core.
Slowly I let go of the false definitions and images of the ‘ideal self’ that permeate the media each day. I learned how to connect and really listen to my body rather than ignore or fight against it. I began to trust my body and believe that it would tell me exactly what it needed. I became a “Sensation Scientist”.
Intuitively I designed a colorful, diverse eating plan personalized for my body’s needs. I explored different movement techniques and chose activities that bring me joy and pleasure. Setting boundaries, prioritizing sleep, minimizing environmental toxins, and connecting with my higher self and others took on new importance as well.
These simple sustainable changes have helped me become more vibrant, confident, healthy and happy. I now understand that I truly am the author of my story and at the helm of my journey.
In the spirit of transparency, I share that my thoughts continue to be my big challenge … those endless sound bites that want to keep me in small and afraid. It’s easy to get swept into the negativity that we hear and read about each day. It takes courage to stay positive and be true to oneself. That’s where opportunity lies. Every morning before I get out of bed I give thanks to all my parts and pieces for getting me through my highest highs and lowest lows. I take a few moments each night to give thanks for all the blessings received that day. Compassionate self-acceptance and appreciation for what is good in my life really are the gifts that keeps on giving.
My personal journey has taught me that no matter how broken, the body is designed to heal itself. Do I still struggle? You betcha! But I’ve come to realize that there is choice in each moment and with every action. And choice is our opportunity for growth and transformation.
With an open heart, caring wisdom and a commitment to your process, it will be my privilege to partner with you on your journey to health and healing. Let’s travel together!