My Dirty & “Disordered” Little Secret

As a person who has worked hard to overcome disordered eating, I want to talk about the meaning of “Healthy”.

Although I was never formally diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia, in my teens and early 20s, I starved, binged, purged, rode a roller-coaster of guilt and shame, juice-fasted, dieted and created eating “rules“. I over-criticized my appearance, watched my food intake carefully, obsessed over my weight/measurements/exercise and endlessly compared myself to others.

I’d get to a point where I was nearly there and then see someone who was thinner than me and start all over again. I smoked and drank coffee to suppress my appetite. From the outside, people only saw the slim, bony body resulting from this abusive relationship with myself. I hated my body and its imperfections, felt ashamed of my body and the fact that I couldn’t be perfect naturally. I felt extreme guilt when I’d “break the rules” and eat something that would sabotage my quest for perfection.

A quest for “perfection” like this is not “healthy”; it’s exhausting, restrictive and unnecessary.

In my day-to-day, I hear so many women and men struggling with a similar hatred towards their own bodies. People all around me to go to extremes to look a certain way, to have that “perfect body”…from exercise to diet to body modifications like tummy tucks and plastic surgery! I look at this and I KNOW I’m not alone in this. And it’s no wonder…everywhere we turn, we are bombarded by advertising and society’s expectation for each of us to be perfect and to look like each other!

Does this sound like you or someone you know? If so, please keep reading! I can help you to break those chains and break the cycle.

There is a difference between disordered eating and an eating disorder and that difference lies in the severity of the symptoms, but it’s a fine line to walk.

I always found it a bit strange that:

NO medical professional ever asked me about my eating habits. None of my family or friends voiced concerns even though they could see my bones jutting out of my body. Very few people commented when a glimpse of my depression peaked its ugly head through. In fact, society congratulated me on being so thin. That’s messed up, right?! Society rewards us for beating the crap out of our bodies and souls in a way that I’d never wish on another living being.

Here’s are things that are portrayed as “Healthy”, but aren’t when done to extremes:

  • Working out obsessively
  • Watching your food intake obsessively
  • Living life for the soul purpose of looking a certain way
  • Comparing yourself with everyone else
  • Continually striving to be better

Remember: I said these things can be unhealthy when done obsessively/to extremes…everything in moderation.

Do you know what is “perfect” already?

You are. You are perfectly imperfect, made that way on purpose. A perfect combination of all the things that make you quirky, unique and fun!

You are more than just a body. You have a personality, a soul, skills, strengths, interests, quirks, desires and dreams along with that body. You are a unique individual with your very own history and story. This uniqueness makes you beautiful. If all of us looked the same, the world would be boring.

Rather than trying to be or look like someone else, why not be unapologetically & authentically you? Celebrate you! Rather than judging others for their body, why not celebrate them and help lift them while you’re at it? Put aside those standards that say we must look a certain way, be a certain size, act a certain way…take a look past the looks and see who the people really are on the inside where it counts. We are all unbelievably fortunate to have each other with us in this world; celebrate your “YOU-ness”.

Your “You-ness” and self-acceptance are what make you stand out beautifully, I swear.

Speaking Of Bodies:

You have 1 body for your entire lifetime. So be kind to it, have fun with it, take care of it and love it.

Kids Are Sponges:

Take a step back and think about the impact that your actions are having on others. Like it or not, you are a role model to many other people in your life. When our daughters, nieces, sisters, friends kids, etc see that cycle of dieting, eating restrictions, calorie counting, exercising primarily to get rid of that donut you just inhaled, they think that this is normal and start to think of their own bodies as “not enough”. They develop similar habits and practices which suck them into that same destructive cycle.

Is that what you really want to teach them? To hate themselves and their bodies?

What if you think you may exhibit signs of disordered eating?

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have an eating disorder, but if not addressed, disordered eating can very easily turn into an eating disorder…which is serious, dangerous and can be deadly.

You aren’t broken. You need love…love, kindness and patience that can truly only come from that one imperfectly-perfect you. It means accepting yourself at your current state, loving the things that set you aside from the crowd, loving yourself like you would love a friend. This isn’t something that an “easy button” will fix, but love and dedication to yourself can heal. Please join me on my journey to loving ourselves – it’s time for you to feel love and freedom.

Here are 10 Things I want You To Know About Breaking These Negative Patterns:

  1. Please know that “YOU ARE ENOUGH”. Believe this. It’s true. You are thin enough, strong enough, smart enough, important enough, beautiful enough…at whatever state your body is in. No more judging yourself OR others. We can always work towards things, but for goodness sake, give yourself a break and know that you are right where you are supposed to be at this very moment.
  2. Throw away the scale. Seriously, hide it. Break up with it. Trust me that you can go on without it.
  3. Stand in the mirror and repeat after me: “I love you”. Do this every day and even multiple times a day. Do this until you start to believe it. Pick a new body part every day to love and accept as it is and keep going.
  4. Ask for help. I encourage you to build a supportive network of people who love and accept you for who you really are – coaches, psychologists, your family and/or friends. Find a coach or psychologist that you trust to help you work through the core cause of your disordered eating. This is a complex issue and one that is better addressed when you surround yourself with a supportive network of people who want to lift you up.
  5. Experience your emotions – even the ones you may not like such as anger, shame & guilt. It’s true that you need to feel to heal. Give yourself a safe time and place to get curious about and truly feel your emotions (the good and the bad) rather than stuffing them down. Why? If you keep stuffing them down, they just keep building and compounding. Your emotions are brilliant and are telling you something important about you. They also impact your physical health when they are not let out. If you need help, ask for it…please.
  6. Allow yourself to stumble, to fall, to fail. Then pick yourself up with the love and support of a true friend.
  7. Love the true you, making yourself a priority and appreciating the beautiful combination that makes you unique and “perfectly imperfect”.
  8. Be a good friend to yourself – supportive, kind and nurturing.
  9. Eat things that make your body feel good and function well. Be mindful of how you want to feel as you are putting things in your body. Don’t forget to include a bit of the things that you simply enjoy too – everything in moderation.
  10. Exercise and get active regularly doing things that you enjoy and want to do. Do it because you love yourself and want to have fun. Play-time is so important to help us to deal with the stresses of daily living.

 

You are enough – right here, right now.

Let’s fast forward a bit. If my life were to end today, I would not regret the fact that ate an extra muffin last Tuesday or that I wasn’t at my “ideal” perfect weight and size. I would, however, regret not living a life that is true to me, not doing the things that were important to me and not taking the time to truly connect and make memories with the people that matter. What about you?

Please be patient with yourself and start working towards breaking any of these awful habits or mind-sets one step at a time. Change like this takes time and it takes hard work that only you can do, but the freedom and peace that you will one day experience is very worth that effort.

If you want some help to start this journey, please don’t hesitate to setup your free 30-minute session with me (no strings attached). I’m here to help lift you upward and onward on your own beautiful adventure.

Much Love,

Sherri-Lyn

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