“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.
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.
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