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The Biggest Act of Self-Love

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[sharethis]
“Lisa, you have a problem. We are so worried about you.”

Four of my closest friends at the gym cornered me, with tears in their eyes, holding slips of paper with phone numbers to call.

They explained to me (after I just did a two hour killer workout) that they saw the signs, an eating disorder, and they couldn’t watch me hurt myself anymore.

I couldn’t believe my ears because I felt invincible. I ran faster than ever before.  I worked out harder than ever before. I felt in control…finally.

I didn’t listen to a word they said. In fact, I told them to f- off and leave me alone. I was pissed.

You see, at the time, I was unconscious. I was disconnected from my body…so disconnected that I couldn’t even feel. In fact, food was my enemy. Every time I ate a bite, I felt things, things I didn’t want to feel.

I didn’t want to feel that my marriage was falling apart.

I didn’t want to feel how I hated my job.

I didn’t want to feel how imperfect I was.

I didn’t want to feel sad…lonely… alone.

It was so unbearable so I avoided food as much as I could.  I never really ate.

Looking back now, I don’t know how my poor body kept up with all the triathlons, running and working out I did. I was beating my body to the ground. I also weighed myself three times a day to add the the chaos.

The only thing I could control was my food…everything else, well, was out of control big time.

This unhealthy relationship with food started when I was eight years old.

Long story short, I was getting my picture taken before my dance recital, dressed in a yellow cowgirl outfit, pink tights, and black tap shoes… feeling pretty with make up on and my hair did. I remember feeling good in my body as I posed for the camera.

(I wanted to share the photo with you but I ripped it up a long time ago.)

Then someone who I adored more than anything said…”Lisa, you are getting chunky. You’re getting fat. You better watch it.”

I was crushed. And then I watched it. I stopped eating.

So at the age of eight, I would write down a list of foods I ate each day in a notebook I kept in my top dresser drawer.

I only allowed 5 things a day:  1 slice of toast, 1 stick of bubblegum, 1 slice of toast ( I think I ate at least 3 pieces a day)…

This went on for years, I remember being in 6th grade still documenting my eating. Of course, I was a growing child and end up pigging out at dinner because I was starving. I would get mad at my body and then vow to do better tomorrow.

I ended up being completely disconnected from my body and food was something I kept manipulating with diets.

Low-fat, low-carb, Atkins and South Beach (that one, I stayed on Stage 1 for 4 years, never going to Stage 2- that means no natural sugar- bananas were evil).

I had no idea what my body truly wanted, how to truly feel, how to trust myself.

Things got dramatically worse after I had my babies.

And after all those years with food issues, I had anorexia which I denied and lied about.

So when my friends tried to reach out to me, I couldn’t even comprehend what they were saying.

Until two months later…

“Mama, why aren’t you eating with us?”

Shit. Kate was watching me. She sees. She knows.

(I used to rush around the kitchen, cleaning up, pretending to take a bite here and there).

Talk about a wake-up call. I took those numbers my friends’ gave me and got myself a good counselor. There was no way I would let anyone feel the pain I knew especially my own child.

 

Self-Love

Here’s my Kate…she’s in 6th grade now, and I’m so grateful that she doesn’t know the pain I felt.

Over time I learned to love food again…a tool of love, not hate.

As I began to eat, slowly, cautiously, filling up my cells with life, I felt the self-love I craved.

In addition to letting myself feel things, my counselor ordered me to do something drastic…

throw my scale away.

So I threw it in the garbage…

And never looked back.

At the time, it was frightening, not to have control, to rely on my body to tell me how I feel instead of reading a number on a scale that either put me in a bad mood or had me striving for a lower number each time. This is the biggest act of self-love in my book.

It’s been 9 years and I haven’t weighed myself. I have no idea what number I am. None.

I highly recommend getting rid of your scale… I can’t even begin to tell you how free I feel and it’s much easier to tap into your body’s wisdom without the distraction of judgement, perfectionism and even despising your sweet body. Our bodies love us, no matter what number we are.

We are more than a number…  a number doesn’t define you. Counting, weighing, numbers keep you trapped, stuck and unfortunately disconnected from your true self.

“It’s never been true, not anywhere at anytime, that the value of a soul, of a human spirit, is dependent on a number on a scale.” ~Geneen Roth, from Women, Food and God

I was hesitant to tell you my story… I’m a health coach… health coaches aren’t supposed to have issues, you know,  with health.  But I’ve learned that my story is just a part of me. Each time I bring up the truth, my body gives me a gentle squeeze and trust is deepened. And I know that you understand and read this without judgement and only with love.

I’m sharing with you because I know how committed you are to your own self-love… how your body knows everything about you and your desire to shine brightly. Your body loves you unconditionally so let’s vow to to listen closely and keep sharing our stories so we can heal together.

Gorgeous ones, how do you show your body love?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

If this post resonated with you, please share with your girlfriends and loved ones who you think will benefit from my story. Thank you 🙂

PS. I do not have any ill feelings toward the person I mentioned… in fact, I don’t hold any grudges. As an adult, I understand it was not about me. I still love that person very much, with all my heart.

Also, a special big thanks to my girlfriends who were brave enough to confront me with their love… we are still friends to this day and I love each of them so much.

Speaking of self-love, join me for a celebration…the 7 Day Self-Love Challenge happening Feb. 22nd. It’s free, fun and we can hang together, making space and time just for ourselves…to listen and connect to our bodies. <3

Click for info >>>

Self-Love Challenge with Whole Health Designs

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18 Responses to The Biggest Act of Self-Love

Joyce Walls

Good Morning Lisa!
It’s so funny how the Universe conspires to bring you wisdon when you weren’t even looking in the dircetion it comes from.
I used to know what self-love was and how to shower it upon myself. I knew how to sacrifice the cookies cakes and candy because my body worked and looked better without them. It was easy, I just didn’t do it. And then I had children and with each one, I turned my love for myself over to them. And then… one of them was diagnosed with Autism and whatever self-love I had left, just flew out of the window and I haven;t seen it for more than 21 years. Well now I know the “Oxygen Mask Theory” is correct because now my body is wracked with pain and I realize that if I do not love myself enough to change my habits and begin to Sacrifice the stuff that isn’t feeding and healing my body, I won’t be around or I won’t be in the shape I need to be in to do anything for my Adult son with Autism when he really needs me most. So I am Re-learning self-love through eating right, reducing stress with prayer and meditation and looking in the mirror and liking the beautiful person staring back at me. I’m Blessed and I will continue to keep myself in a healed space to Bless others. It’s a long road back, but I’m strong. I ready for the journey. Thank you for the confirmation!
Joyce

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    Beautiful, Joyce, thank you so much for sharing with me. Your story, so insightful and I love how you chose to relearn self-love by taking care of yourself with habits that will fill your soul as well as your gorgeous body. You are a blessing and so glad we can be together on this journey! Sending all my love. <3

Amber

Thank you for this! It must have been so hard to share your story. It brought me to tears and makes me think about my own daughter and what I want for her as she grows up. You are a strong beautiful woman and I love your page!!

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    Amber, thank you so much for your message…every time I tell this story, it gets easier but I remember being so close to the edge…and luckily I woke up.:) Thank you for being with me and so honored to be connected to you.

Robin Hallett

Thank you for sharing this powerful message with us, Lisa! I appreciate your willingness to go there and to help us see. We edge spirit out (or God) when we buy into the story that we are only as good as our weight, size, appearance. As soon as we’re on that level of thinking, we are shut down from seeing the bigger picture, and receiving the bigger light. So, how I show my body love is to be grateful for all that it does for me, to appreciate it as the temple it is, but also remember that I am part of something so much bigger!
Thank you Lisa, xxo
Robin

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    Robin! thank you so much for your undying support for me and my growing to speak more about my story. It’s so healing and my body gives me gentle hugs each time. I love how you bring up the spirit, we block God, spirit, when we think that way. So beautiful to know that there is a bigger picture, a sacred journey and our weight, looks, size has nothing to do with it. Love you lady! xo

Carrie

Lisa, Thank you for your inspiring and hopeful message. The battle with the scale was leading me down an unhealthy path, but I’ve now gone two months without weighing in. It’s still uncomfortable in some ways, but the mental freedom is amazing!

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    Lovely, Carrie! So good to hear from you…and awesome about the no weighing…I love what you said, “mental freedom.” It feels out of this world! Sending you hugs, my dear and thank you for sharing with me. <3

Jill

Lisa,
This moved me to tears. Thank God for those girlfriends! I know a couple of people who are in a similar spot right now, and I think they might benefit from hearing this. I see some of the same signs, and it’s scary.
I’m thankful that I’ve never had an eating disorder. I love food and don’t deny myself anything but use moderation. I exercise to strengthen my body and boost my metabolism. Plus, it helps me keep up with the kids!
Thank you for sharing your story. I pray that it will help many women who are in the same struggle.
Love and peace,
Jill

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    Jill, I adore you…thank you so much for your kind words. I would share this with your friends (or if they aren’t quite ready, click FB like button and at least they will see it and come over). You are lovin’ your body up and that makes me so happy…keep on being amazing and so honored we are with each other on this journey of wellness and self-love. <3

amy

such courage and bravery and generosity and love in the telling of your beautiful story my friend. the nugget of gold, for me, is when you wrote that this story is just a part of you… i have my own story that is just a part of me, and i suspect that many of us who show up here have stories that are just parts of them – they don’t define us and they only limit us as much as we are willing to be limited by them. and the telling of these stories and being vulnerable and showing up for one another are gifts that we give ourselves (and each other… :)) thank you, thank you for showing up in my inbox today. xoxo

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    Thank you, my love. You are so right on…we have many stories that don’t define us, it’s a part of what shapes us to be amazing women. You are so beautiful…and since I get to see you each week, I feel your unconditional love, acceptance and knowing that we are all in this together, connected, makes my heart full. xoxo

Gina L

I’ve had my own tearful, and bad relationship with a scale.

My worst food memories are when I was in high school. One of my parents would primarily feed me fast food (that didn’t fill me) and I’d be hungry later on. They’d tell me I couldn’t eat later, I wasn’t allowed to have snacks. I started sneaking containers of frosting into my room (it was the only food I could find that they didn’t use and didn’t notice when it was missing) and I’d eat it far too often.

I was gaining weight, but I didn’t understand how to fix it, because I couldn’t talk to that parent about it.

It took a long time for me to figure out healthy, whole foods eating (over 12 years) and now I don’t worry about snacking and I never eat fast food.

…But that scale… I’ll weight 5 pounds more one week to the next and I’m devastated. I’ve lost pant sizes, but didn’t see it on the scale, and it made me sad, and I gained it all back.

I’m taking your advice! I’m throwing mine out! Thank you for this! I needed to hear it from someone else that the number doesn’t have to rule me!

🙂

    Lisa Consiglio Ryan

    Darling, Gina, thank you so much for sharing your story with me. My parents, too, did the fast food thing…I think it was the IN thing to do at that time. It’s natural to still have those feelings about snacking, it’s embedded into your cells but I love how you were determined to learn about how to fuel your body without that deprivation feeling. Did you throw out your scale yet? I swear it’s an evil thing, especially for those of us who want to live in alignment to what makes us feel good. Sending you love!

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