How my body and I became soulmates. From ignoring my body and controlling her every move, to surrendering to her love and guidance.
You know when you want to tell someone something, but have a hard time expressing yourself clearly enough to get out exactly what it is you want to say?
Well that’s exactly how I’ve been feeling around sharing my story about my relationship with food- and what’s it’s been like to live in my body.
It was only when I was recently interviewed by Becky Jennings of The Balance Method, was I finally able to express my truth and get real about what had been REALLY going on.
Let’s rewind a couple of decades, as with most things it all started with my childhood.
When I was growing up, our home consisted mostly of processed junk food, with a small emphasis on healthy whole foods.
My mom as sweet, loving and kind as she was… she was also a major people pleaser. Although she wanted what was best for us, I feel this was her way of showing love…by her constantly giving us what we wanted.
She grew up on a farm, with four other siblings. They didn’t have much growing up, so I think she wanted to make sure we never had to go without.
In our house you’d find 5 different brands of sugary cereals, or poptarts for breakfast. We would have our selection of canned raviolis, lunchables or a cheese bun caked in mayo with an assortment of processed deli meat for lunch. I think one time she even packed 1-2 jaw breakers in my lunch bag. (Like who can finish 1-2 jawbreakers over a lunch period?!)
Our after school snack wasn’t any better. We’d have Joe Louis, fruit by the foot, dunkaroos (remember those?) or a bag of chips and pop. To end off our day we’d have a ‘nutritious’ blend of chicken/ beef marinated in some sugary sauce, with a mound of mashed potatoes, and a teeny tiny veggie serving on the side.
Let’s just say my mom’s version of eating healthy meant having the good old Canada Food guide on the fridge (even though it was posted behind a pile of magnets).
Every time she’d try to swap out some of our go-to’s for an apple/ grapes at snack time, we would throw a fit, and she’d eventually revert back to our favourite processed fluff.
Of course, as I got older things didn’t get any easier on me.
Throughout high school/ college I dealt with low self-esteem, and was extremely hard on my body- but I was very good at hiding it. I wasn’t athletic or into any sports, so with minimal to no activity I started to put on some weight.
Make-up and materialism was my way of covering up what was really going on deep inside.
I thought if I bought expensive designer labels and make-up I could hide my flaws and nobody would see the ‘real me’.
Things began to take a turn for the worst after my high school sweetheart cheated on me after an on and off again relationship of 7 years. I was left feeling extremely insecure and more broken than ever.
I was depressed, out of shape, alone and had NO idea who I was or where my life was headed.
He was all I knew for 7 years- but cheating was not something I took lightly and I knew this was something we could never come back from.
It wasn’t long after the break-up; I started to burry my feelings with highly processed food (again) but this time, paired with binge partying.
I was literally going out EVERY single night of the week, and would drink myself into a blackout state.
I specifically remember getting calls from cab drivers saying they found my clutch in their cabs on multiple occasions, and I hardly ever remembered how I got home. 2am McDonald’s double cheeseburgers, or any other form of fast food quickly became my nightly rituals.
What’s worse? I was clueless to how poorly I was treating myself. I was getting attention from my party friends, and everyone wanted me around.
But, I had become disconnected from my body and myself. I no longer listened to her, and would continue to abuse her without a second thought about it.
A year had gone by on this disconnected cycle of eat, sleep, party, repeat. But on my 21st birthday something happened.
I was out dress shopping with a friend looking for something to wear that night and after trying on about 10 different dresses…I realized nothing was fitting. I anxiously reached for the largest sized dress I had ever worn.
After trying it on, I had convinced myself,
“they must just design for a small fit”.
I was in denial. Until, I got home.
I stormed into the house, dropped my bags, and the first thing I did was step on the scale. There staring back at me was a number I swore I’d never see again.
And that’s when my scale and I started hanging out daily.
Shortly after I realized I had gained 20 lbs in a 1 year span, I quickly started looking for ‘quick-fix’ solutions to help me deal. I had done every single diet created up until this point…but nothing ever worked.
I was anxious, desperate for change… and was willing to do anything to change my body.
So what did I do? I started to punish her, and restrict her from anything and everything she cried out for.
I was 100% ignoring my body and I was controlling her every move. She no longer had a voice or a say on how we should continue to carry on through life TOGETHER.
But I didn’t care. Because there was NO WAY I was going to surrender and get real about abusing her the way I had been.
Even though the weight was coming off…I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. I had become obsessed with the idea of “looking good”.
What didn’t help was that I was getting loads of attention from friends and family asking me,
“How did you do it?”
They wanted ALL the rules. The do’s and don’ts of ‘how to get healthy’.
I thought I had all the answers- so that’s when I applied to work as a health coach.
Once I received the job and started working as a health coach I quickly became absorbed in food tracking, and weighing/ measuring of foods.
I felt like I had learned the ‘magic’ formula of food consumption.
With this new found confidence I believed I could achieve ANY body type I aspired to. With the secret formula- no goal was unachievable! After all, I was helping clients lose 100’s of pounds, and had so many client success stories to prove it, (including my own).
A typical workday consisted of me weighing in clients, talking about their food plans, and what adjustments they could be making. I would do the same for myself, and because I had two scales that tracked body fat percentages at my centre- I would weigh myself EVERY single morning when I came in.
I hate to admit it, but I became so obsessed with my goals, that I wrote down my favourite Victoria Secret Model’s body measurements and strived to achieve her exact body type. It was awful.
I mean even if I did accomplish this goal, we both had completely different bodies and there was no way that it would be possible for me to look JUST like her.
What’s worse is I DID achieve this goal. But here I was underweight, unhealthy and I STILL wasn’t satisfied with my results.
So what did I do? Once again, I ended up restricting myself even more, counting every lick, bite and taste. I was going to the gym for 2+ hours every day, all while taking diuretics, and ‘weight loss supplements’ from the weight loss centre.
Until finally…it all hit me. Freedom came in the form of the trip of a lifetime.
When I sold everything I owned and left to travel Australia, all my ‘tools’ and go-to quick fixes went out the window. All at once, I wasn’t able to travel with my scale, and weight loss supplements.
I no longer had a gym membership, and even the food labels in Australia were different than what I was used to.
I quickly began to listen to my body.
I was meditating everyday, spending more time outside, and was getting activity in organically from walking and exploring the unknown.
I was even eating out at restaurants (something I never would have done), I allowed myself for coffee, drinks at dinner and even dessert! I was able to try new dishes and enjoy their diverse food culture.
The best part? I realized even though I was adding in so many extras, my body had remained the same. I didn’t even need to use a scale to tell me that.
My clothes were fitting great, and I was feeling even better. (For more on how travel helped me to re-connect with my body, click HERE).
I was now trusting in my body. I finally learned to give her credit for what she did to take care of ME every day. I also learned, that no matter what, my body took me everywhere I needed to go, easily and effortlessly.
My body and I soon became soul mates. I loved her, and she loved me right back.
I was feeling confident, and sexier than ever… I genuinely began to love myself from the inside out. I felt real joy, and explored life without boundaries, and I learned to stop being so hard on myself.
Finally I understood what it meant to actually LOVE your body.
It had nothing to do with the foods you were eating, calories in vs. calories out, how much you weighed, or how much you could lift.
What it ultimately came down to is L-O-V-E.
It’s about loving your body as it is, right here right now.
It’s about loving your body enough to only speak gently and kindly of her.
It’s about loving your body enough to eat healthy and nutritious foods so she can feel AMAZING.
It’s about loving your body for the way she moves and carries you throughout your day.
It’s about loving your body enough to allow her rest when she asks for it.
But most importantly- it’s about loving your body enough that you stop abusing her, but instead start CHOOSING HER- EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Now that I’ve caught you up to speed on my journey, I am proud to admit that I’ve finally entered into the space of body freedom.
Turn up the Love began when I was first starting out on my health journey. But it’s now evolved into something SO much bigger than just a success story. It’s now a movement.
Throughout this journey I myself have healed my relationship with food and my body. I am now living a life centred around self-love and adoration, and I’m more in tune with myself, than ever before.
I want to share my passion for acceptance, my love for embracing ALL bodies, and my mission in helping women everywhere to QUIT the diet mentality and start embracing their bodies RIGHT NOW.
In the comments below, I’d love you to finish this sentence —
“It’s about loving my body for the way she…”
You can put down as many ideas as you want, but try to aim for at least 3 that you feel are in alignment with your heart.
Thank you, as always for letting me be vulnerable, open, and accepted by you.
May we always start & end with love ♥