One day when I was fourteen I began to betray my body.
Reading my mother’s Redbook magazine, I came upon “Dr. Stillman’s Quick Weight Loss Diet for Teens.” Included was a chart showing his ideal weights for adolescents. This informed me I should weigh 104 pounds. Since at the time I weighed 114 pounds, I suddenly realized I was overweight.
I didn’t ask any of the obvious questions such as, Who says so? or What is this based on? or Who is this Dr. Stillman? or Why would I give him my power? or Is this really good for me? or What are the results of eating like this?
I just accepted that because I was ten pounds over this stranger’s ideal number, something was wrong with me and needed to be fixed
Never mind that no one looking at me would have thought I was too heavy.
Never mind that I was strong, slender and healthy and could jump off of and onto a running horse and hike and swim and play all day and slept soundly each night and felt at home in my body.
It was written in a magazine by a medical expert that I should lose weight and I took it on as truth.
That very day I started Dr. Stillman’s diet. Without telling my parents or questioning his authority I dove right into his rigid low fat, low carb regime.
This began a battle with my body that was to last for years. Although this battle was mostly invisible to others, it zapped enormous amounts of my energy, attention and happiness.
Did I lose any weight on this diet? I don’t remember.
I do remember:
Lots of boiled eggs and cold, low fat meat, lettuce and celery.
Being hungry much of the time and feeling guilty about this most basic need.
Beginning to eat furtively and feeling ashamed when I ate “too much.”
Segregating foods into the categories of good and bad, acceptable and forbidden.
Feeling in conflict with food and with my body.
Before encountering Dr Stillman’s diet, I had eaten when I was hungry, stopped when I was full, trusted my body’s signals without second guessing and listened to my instinctual wisdom effortlessly.
On that day I began to choose foods by rules, by authority, and out of fear.
On that day I moved out of a natural state of ease, freedom and happiness in my physicality and into a state of distrust and anxiety.
On that day I began to betray my body’s natural brilliance.
I now know that this diet wrecked havoc on my metabolism - havoc that led me on a downward spiral into dieting, binging and purging and took me years to repair.
This diet also wrecked havoc with my natural friendship with my body and with my instinctual connection with my needs and desires.
While today I view this low fat, super low carb diet as a terribly misguided and unhealthy way of eating, it was the particular timing that created in me a perfect and dangerous storm. My hormones were propelling me into the phase of life when we women are biologically wired for pleasing, when the ancient survival impulse to be attractive can so easily overpower the need to care for ourselves.
And, as all the challenges we face offer the potential for great blessings, this process set me on a path of deep healing and discovery.
Although I lost my innocent trust of my body, the painful experience ultimately led me to question the craziness of our culture around dieting, nourishment, bodies, beauty and health. It compelled me to develop a conscious, intentional and unshakable appreciation of the natural brilliance and beauty we each possess.
Transforming my battle with my body allowed me to guide my clients and students to lay down their swords of self-harshness and to access the deep wisdom and delight of their own bodies.
Recently at a conference I met a writer I had long admired. She told me she was struck by how confident, strong and at ease I seemed in my body. She said “You are obviously so at home in your own skin. This, is unusual, especially for women.”
This is a quality I have earned. After years of self criticism and inner harshness I created - through intention and action - this presence of being deeply at home in my body. I love myself as perfectly imperfect and I continually cultivate my natural vitality. I am so grateful to have reclaimed the power of my natural connection with my beautiful, brilliant body.
You also have a beautiful, brilliant body.
She - or he! - is eager to communicate and partner with you to create extraordinary well-being, vibrant health, happiness and soul-satisfying success.
Dieting is one way we may betray our bodies.
There are many others including ignoring, over-riding, distracting, criticizing, over-medicating, under-exercising, over-exercising and trusting external authorities above our inner knowing.
I’ve done all of these .. and more.
I’m guessing you’ve done a few yourself.
The good news is, you can shift it at any time.
The very first step, and you can start right this minute, is to decide to befriend your body.
Just as you are, nothing to fix or change, begin to treat your body as a beloved life-long friend.
I’d love to hear from you.
How will your life be different if you truly make the commitment to befriend your body, just as you are?
Maybe you have made that commitment. If so, congratulations! How has it affected your health and happiness?
Maybe like me, you’ve made that commitment and you find it is not a one-time thing but an evolving growing process. What helps you grow into that commitment?
Love and Blessings,
P.S. Keep a watch out in the next week or so for my announcement of a special no-cost, on-line training I’m offering this month to answer one of the most common questions I receive: How can I listen to my body more effectively?
P.P.S. Are you ready to experience - more fully than ever before- the natural power, wisdom and delight of your body? I’d love to support you in that. Click here to apply for a special 1:1 Befriend Your Beautiful, Brilliant Body Breakthrough Phone Session. My gift to you.