I started putting myself on diets in my late teens. Of course now, looking back, there was no need for it. But at the time I thought there was. As I grew older and my body continued to change (from natural aging and having two children), I would restrict my calories and not eat certain things to attempt to change my body. Sometimes my diets worked. Sometimes they didn’t. But every time I felt tired, hungry, deprived, anxious, angry, and many other emotions. Let’s just say; diets were not my happy place. I’m sure many of you can relate to my experience.
Today this blog will be looking at our relationship with food and how it nourishes us; body, mind and spirit. (The topic of body image is very closely related, and we may explore that in future blogs. As my experience informs that topic).
My weight has gone up and down since my early 20’s after I had my first child. I gained weight with my pregnancy, lost it, gained it with my next, lost it, then have continued to lose and gain weight over the next 25 years. My weight fluctuations were connected to my eating and activity levels, but also to my body image and stress levels. I did many different diet programs. Some I did myself, some were cheap, some were expensive. But all of them were painful for me; physically, mentally and emotionally.
I had grown up dancing, and continued until I graduated from high school. Then after having babies, I started a career in group fitness which I contiued for the next 15 years. I retired from my group fitness career in September of 2015, due to chronic pain. In the early fall of 2016 I started to experience severe fatigue. So much so that I needed to step down from a leadership position in a major direct selling company. At that point my life was dictated by my energy levels; which were drastically low. I was able to get up and take care of my basic needs, but that was it. I became increasingly frustrated and concerned. In January of 2017 I decided to dedicate 2017 to myself and my health.
From 2015 to 2017 I had been gradually gaining weight through the change in my activity levels due to my physical pain and my fatigue. As I watched the scale numbers increase and saw my clothes growing tighter, I became more and more unhappy and started to panic. I needed to find control! I needed to stop this scary trend! I needed the go on a diet! This was a very reactive response to my situation to be sure. But the idea of dieting filled me with dread. What was I going to do?
The answers came to me through my meditation practice. I had meditated on and off for years. In the fall of 2016, due to my fatigue, I started to meditate daily. Sometimes for 1 to 2 hours a day. I was seeking and needed support and answers, and realized the best place to look for it was from myself. Even as I was struggling with my weight gain, I was getting a message through my meditation practice; “Relax and trust yourself. Everything will unfold easily and naturally for you”. At first I resisted this. I wanted to take control and lose the weight. But I was conflicted about this too. I didn’t want to diet again. I also knew that after the diet was over, nothing would have changed fundamentally with my eating habits, so the chances I may find myself back in the same position were high. Then I would need to diet again? Ugh!
“Relax and trust yourself. Everything will unfold easily and naturally for you.” What a radical idea. This is not what all the books say. This is not what all the diet systems say. Forget about everyone out there telling me what to eat and not eat. As I sat with this message and allowed myself to feel it, it became soothing to me. What if I did relax? What if I did learn to hear and trust myself better? What could it hurt?
Well, that’s what I did. I fought the urge to control and get quick results. Over the next year and half I watched my relationship with myself and food completely change. People come across my path to help support my journey. I stopped wanting certain foods. I started craving others. A communication pathway was built (for the first time) between my body and myself.
Not only was my relationship with food completely transformed, but my body was healed. Starting in Jan of 2017 I was going to 2 to 3 doctors appointments every week. On the intake forms I was indicating dozens of health issues. Now, I have no physical issues, my energy is increasing weekly, and I have no doctors appointments on my schedule.
Some may say this sounds like a miracle. In some respects, I agree. I truly believe this all emerged from my meditation practice. Quieting myself and listening to the everypresent still, small voice. Some may call it; your gut, intuition, the universe, source, your true self or God. I’ll let you call it what it is to you. All I know is what I heard and what happened. Miracles? Coincidence? I’ll let you decide.
Some of you may want to ask what I am doing. What I am eating and not eating. Not only is there not a straight answer to these questions, if I told you what I am doing it would completely negate my entire message. Not only that, but my eating is shifting and changing contantly. I have started to eat some things again, and slowly stopped eating others. It changes as I trust it needs to change.
For the first time in my life I can say my relationship with food is healthy and balanced.
Does this sound like something you desire? Bring this intention to your meditating pillow. Also, before you eat something, take a breath and ask “is this beneficial for me to eat right now?” Think of it as a game. Realize you are learning to hear yourself. You are unlearning all the things you have been told your whole life. It may happen quickly. It may happen slowly. Trust yourself, and I can guarantee you it will happen.
with love and belief, emilie