from shame to shine
How I Went From My Own Worst Enemy to My Very Best Friend
My story starts with a childhood of Aunt Jemima pancakes, Rice Krispies with brown sugar, and lots and lots of bouts of strep throat + antibiotics. I had just about ravaged my gut of any and all good bacteria, which of course isn't anybody's fault, since no one understood the importance of those little guys back then. (Side note: I Contain Multitudes is a fascinating book on bacteria!)
Although it should have been, my actual health wasn’t my concern growing up. The only time I started to pay attention to what I was eating was around 14, when I first felt that I was getting “fat” and that my body was wrong. I assumed I had to control my food intake in order to make it right again.
I had no idea how to navigate the changing effects of puberty, and felt shame and confusion on a daily basis when I couldn’t fit into clothing that had fit me just a few months earlier.
Ignoring food as a means to health, I constantly struggled with a weakened immune system, made none the better with my three years working as a line cook (one of the most stressful, physically draining, and overall unhealthy lifestyles available...but incredible nonetheless). (Pssst, speaking of stress, download my FREE and FOOLPROOF 5-Step Guide to Stress Relief Here!)
I was fortunate enough to cook at acclaimed restaurants like Delfina and Nopa in San Francisco, and helped open the dinner program at High Street on Hudson in New York. (True story — and not bad for a girl that hadn't sautéed a vegetable until senior year of college!)
I had always been someone to get sick often, which knowing what I know now is not surprising, but I finally reached my illness breaking point in spring 2016 when getting out of bed each day felt like a feat akin to climbing Everest. Chronic inflammation, low grade fever, indigestion...I had it all. I had also had enough of the life of extreme stress, emotional eating, and endless indulgence of my sugar addiction. I quickly realized that if I didn't change something soon, being the always-sick person would become my status quo.
So, I threw myself into the world of food as medicine.
But I soon realized, simply knowing about nutrition wasn’t enough.
It didn’t necessarily translate into making good decisions, and it certainly didn’t stop the critical thoughts running through my head when I did make that bad decision, or when my body wasn’t looking the way I wanted it to. And that's where Eating Psychology Coaching changed my life.
“Why can't I have self-control? What's wrong with me? Why can't my body look like _____'s?" Do these thoughts sound familiar? They were the soundtrack to my life for many years.
Restricting calories...Eating gluten-free...Fiber crackers at every meal...Eating only in a 6-hour window...No carbs...Looking in the mirror and seeing failure...Dreading trying on clothing...Dreading seeing how a photo turns out..."Diet starts on Monday."
...Can you relate?
This used to be me. From Weight Watchers, to F-Factor, to a nutritionist that had me eating 100-calorie oreo packs and fat free pudding for dessert every night...I tried everything.
Although different on the surface, there was a common thread between each of these approaches: Rigid rules, listening to someone else, and that terrible feeling of, "If I don't do this, I'm a failure."
And guess what? I "failed". Every. Time.
Something inside me felt like rebelling. I don’t WANT to do this, my intuition said, over and over.
It took 26 years and my health completely breaking down for me to wake up, and start working with my body, asking it what it needed and wanted instead of telling it what it needed and wanted.
After years of participating in and observing diet culture, I was finally recognizing the fundamental flaw of disconnection and disembodiment that was at the core of every diet.
By flipping the core of control, obedience, deprivation, judgement, measurement and disconnection on its head, I was able to see incredible results with both my own health, as well as that of my clients. My practice now hinges on the inclusion of pleasure in daily life, and the core belief that pleasure + love + deep self care = true lasting change.