I went on my first diet in my teens. It failed, of course. I think I gained the 5lbs I was trying to lose and that was the beginning of more than two decades of weight and food struggles.
I struggled with my weight, body image, food, disordered eating and even an eating disorder (bulimia) for many years.
I did eventually get desperate enough to finally lose weight - starvation and over-exercise work fast when you're desperate. They are not sustainable though and even when I "hit my goal" I still hated myself and my body.
So I hired a trainer who introduced me to “clean eating." Within four days, I had my first binge, and within eight months, I was sitting in a therapist's office hearing him say I was bulimic.
I became a trainer myself - an award-winning trainer and nutrition & wellness coach for over 8 years. I also started competing in figure (a division of bodybuilding) and became a nationally qualified champion figure athlete.
All in an attempt to build a perfect body, so I could be happy and learn to love myself and my body. But none of it ever worked, and the eating disorder almost killed me.
In learning to find my own way out of the weight loss obsessions, the body hate, the bingeing, the emotional eating (and the depression and anxiety that accompanied those things) I slowly began to realize none of it ever really had anything to do with weight and food. I had been abusing my body with years of dieting, restricting, bingeing, over-exercise or no exercise was all because I didn't value myself or my body. And I didn't value myself because of the stories I'd been programmed to believe that connected my weight to my self-worth.
I realized that if I ever wanted to be happy and at peace, I needed to stop dieting. I needed to stop obsessing over the weight, and food and heal the things that were driving all those self-destructive choices in the first place.
So, I learned to trust myself, connect with my body, and feel rather than numb emotions. I allowed myself permission, acceptance, compassion, kindness, and curiosity so I could learn to stop punishing myself with food & start nurturing myself instead.
I forgave myself for not being perfect.
I meditated and practiced mindfulness.
I stayed away from the scale and anything that was part of diet culture and my “old” way of living and thinking. I dug into all the old stories, beliefs and behaviors and learned to change them. I became more comfortable with the “me” in the present. As I did those things, the old stories began to fade, and peace emerged. Peace with my weight, peace with food, peace with my scale and most of all - peace with myself.
Before I knew it, I noticed I wasn't bingeing anymore. I wasn't overeating, mindlessly eating or emotionally eating. I was no longer controlled by food and I was choosing to make nurturing choices for myself in ways I used to have to try to force and willpower myself to do. The war zone in my head had been replaced with the kindness and peace I'd been searching for all my life.
My time as a trainer and nutrition and wellness coach taught me that I was not alone. Most of my clients (and our population at large) are all struggling with the same things I was and now, I understood exactly why.
So, I decided to quit being a trainer, took mindfulness-based cognitive-behavioral coaching certification courses and created Cognitive Eating because I wanted to focus my work where I was most passionate and felt I could do the most good - helping women just like you heal weight and food struggles. You don't need more people telling you how to eat and move. You need someone to help you change your brain - the stories you're telling yourself about yourself and your worth, your thoughts, habits and emotions and the behaviors that are being driven by those things. That's where real, lasting transformation lies because those things are the root causes of the things you're struggling with.
That's the real journey toward health, happiness and peace. I look forward to guiding you on your expedition toward love, acceptance, health, and happiness.
It’s so worth it. And so are you.
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