I struggled with my weight, body image, food, disordered eating and even an eating disorder (bulimia) for many years.
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.
In my 30's I did eventually manage to lose weight but did so with starvation and over-exercise which are not sustainable and even when I "hit my goal" I still hated myself and my body.
So I hired an IFBB figure pro 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 the word bulimic.
I also decided to become a trainer myself. I spent over 8 years as an award-winning trainer and nutrition & wellness coach. I also started competing in figure (a division of bodybuilding) and became a nationally qualified champion figure athlete.
I repped for BSN for a while, was featured in a national muscle magazine, on bodybuilding.com and even in one of their print ads.
All in an attempt to build a perfect body, so I could be happy and like myself and my body.
But losing weight and getting celebrated for my body never solved my weight and food problems, it didn't solve anything really. I just created a whole host of new problems - fear of putting the weight back on, the need to keep getting more validation for how great my body looked and exercise obsessions.
And the eating disorder it all created 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 dieting and weight obsessions had actually caused a lot of it and 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 actually causing all it.
So, I did that.
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, my self and body hate 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 because I cared about myself and wanted to.
The war zone in my head had been replaced with the kindness and peace I'd been searching for all my life.
During my time as a trainer and nutrition and wellness coach, almost every single client I had in that time told me they struggled with food the most which 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 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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