“All I really want is to be able to get swimsuit-ready down there without having a knock-down, drag-out fight with my belly and breasts. Is that really too much to ask?”
I would love to tell you that this quote came from one of my coaching clients, but it didn’t. I’ve said that and a truly incalculable number of other not-helpful things about my body in the twenty or so years I spent hating it. They are assessments that I would never, ever say about another woman. In fact, I wouldn’t even think them. My crooked little brain didn’t produce “other”-loathing thoughts, but when it came to self-loathing, I was quite masterful.
It started in my early teens, long before I actually had a weight problem…something that shocked me a few years ago when I actually went back and looked at pictures. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried to control my impulses for unhealthy foods, or how much I tried to force myself to work out or walk or anything else that would result in sweating and weight loss, I couldn’t get it done. I felt like a complete failure, and as I watched myself spiraling downward into whatever is below the darkest shadows in the pit of failure, I seemed wholly incapable of choosing a new direction.
I know. It all sounds very dramatic, but sadly, this is not an exaggeration. Like many of the women I work with today, I was once a self-destructive tornado of self-defeating madness. I was, by far, my worst enemy. Blessedly, the force of protection and healing that could turn all of that around lived within me as well.
The stones of the path that I traveled back to sanity are many and as varied as one might imagine. There was the realization that I use food like other people use vodka. There was a week-long intensive at a treatment facility for eating disorders where the stories I’d been telling myself were first challenged; and I received the first nuggets of what would be an ongoing study of nutrition and the body. There was the harsh recognition that much of my internal and external dialogue every single day was about food and being overweight and that basically, my emotional and social lives were anchored in food.