My Imperfect Journey
They say one of the best ways to heal the current relationship with yourself is to first heal the relationship with your past self. I’ve thought about what I would tell my 16 year old self many times.
“It doesn’t matter what size you wear, how flat your stomach is or how thin your legs are. Searching for acceptance in a clothing size will take you down a dark path. Be kind to yourself. YOU are beautiful the way you are. Being perfect doesn’t exist”
I had poor body image from as early as I can remember. I didn’t see how beautiful my fair freckled skin was, just that it didn’t fit culture’s standard of beauty. I felt flawed and although I didn’t like the shape of my nose, or any of my body for that matter, it didn’t cross my mind to restrict what I ate until my early 20’s.
Figuring out your place and purpose in the world is hard. There is no road map and it is much easier to ignore insecurities and blame your body.
Subconsciously I thought, i’ll control what I eat and have the perfect body then i’ll be happy. Then i’ll be enough.
I began over exercising because I hated my body. I logged every morsel of food I ate, making sure it fit the calorie range I had deemed appropriate and I only ate foods that I “deserved” to eat. Not until years later did I learn this obsession, this disorder with food and weight was a manifestation of the lack of worthiness I felt. The search for perfection became toxic.
Why couldn’t I shake myself and wake the hell up? For so many years I controlled, fought, punished myself for being imperfect. The more rigid my life became, the more crippling my anxiety became. Why couldn’t I see that the imperfections were exactly what made me, ME.
Tears well up in my eyes as I type this because I wasted so much energy trying to change myself when I was beautiful all along. I simply needed to be kinder to myself.
I was still blinded by my own disordered thoughts and actions around food when I decided to become a dietitian. Ironically I wanted to help people become healthy, when I was treating myself so unhealthy. That is where this journey really began. I started to question, what does being healthy actually mean?
Ultimately, I started to befriend myself when I discovered Intuitive Eating. Through therapy I learned to better manage my anxiety disorder and began to work with my body instead of against it. I began to fully experience life.
I don’t support dieting. I believe that health comes at all sizes and shapes. It’s about progress, not perfection and being nourished come from filling your body not restricting it.
It isn’t easy and takes a lot of courage to promote something so counter culture when the rest of society is obsessed with dieting. I use the word courage because of the definition Brené Brown gives, “courage means to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.” As I journey in the present, I celebrate not only success but also struggle because for us to truly be healthy we have to embrace imperfection.