Maybe when you listen to the tips, strategies, and techniques I share in the podcast, it seems like maybe it’s just easy for me and it’s always been this way. But that is not true at all. It has definitely been a journey! So in this episode, I share my story. My journey with food and with my body and with my weight has been extremely long. But also I genuinely am so happy that this has been my journey because now I can really share these things that I’ve learned with you, my clients and listeners, and really just help you get unstuck in a much faster way than I did.

Childhood beginnings

I remember at around the age of 10 or 11 years old, I would go to the pantry at night when everyone was already sleeping and I literally would just eat whatever I could find. I would sneak and hide and then I just started getting heavier and heavier as a kid. I don’t know what came first, the sneaking food or becoming a chubby kid.

I definitely have always been a people pleaser. And I think that this is related to why I would go to food to feel comfort. If either of my parents were upset or if I felt like I had done something wrong, I would just want to eat. I was already stress eating or emotional eating, but I didn’t really know what to do.

As a teenager, I was so ashamed of my body and I felt so fat and disgusting that even in the summer in Phoenix, Arizona, I would want to wear my fluffy Nike jacket. I felt so disgusted with myself that in 127-degree weather I wanted to literally cover my body. Even at the age of 12 or 13, I was dieting. It started in my childhood through my through my teenage years and into my 20s.

The weight loss rollercoaster

The first time I successfully lost weight was at the age of 17 or 18, and it was through diet shakes like Nutri-shakes and Slim-Fast. I lost like 40 or 50 pounds mostly just drinking shakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was really committed.

And I also found exercise. I started running. I fell in love with exercise and I started feeling really good about myself as I started seeing actual results. However, you can only do shakes for so long. So then eventually what started happening again is that I would do my shakes but then I would end up bingeing because I was totally just resisting eating other foods. I started getting into more serious, actual bingeing behavior.

Even after I was full I would still keep eating. It was like punishment. I would eat until my stomach would hurt. It started becoming this very unhealthy, very disordered pattern. I was in a dark place, feeling very out-of-control like I didn’t know what to do. There’s no way that I could exercise away what I was eating. So all of these things were kind of adding up on top of each other. I would totally restrict myself, feel really deprived. I’d exercise. And then I would binge and feel really out of control and sort of punish myself. And then I would get frustrated because I wasn’t seeing results.

It was psychologically and emotionally and physically exhausting. It went on for years where I would lose 10 pounds, gain back 20, then lose 15 but gain back 30. I was on the weight loss rollercoaster for four years at least.

Graduate school

I went to graduate school and this was kind of another big change in my journey. I broke up with my boyfriend and I was feeling very interested in being flirty and dating and being single. So, of course, I wanted to lose weight. I was even getting my degree as an occupational therapist. I was learning about health, wellbeing, lifestyle redesign and I had more insight into psychology. I had more tools to be successful in a more healthy way.

I absolutely lost weight. I was super motivated. And plus my running buddy was a really hot neighbor that I had in my apartment so of course, I got in amazing shape. I was learning really how to eat healthily, but I had learned even more how to really successfully restrict myself.

Monday through Friday I ate really healthy, very minimally. But then on the weekends I hardly even ate because I would binge drink and just have a lot of fun. I wasn’t looking at what was going on underneath all of this drinking, which was just buffering whatever feeling I was feeling.

In graduate school, I got down to like 110 pounds, but it definitely was not in a healthy way.

Rock bottom

I was at my thinnest but very dysfunctional. But I got so many compliments so of course, my ego was like, “I need to say this thin” and all the fear of gaining weight started so I really was hardly eating. After graduate school, because I was so afraid of gaining weight if someone invited me out to lunch or an event, I would lie and say I couldn’t go just so that I wouldn’t have to be around food and so I wouldn’t have to eat food.

My family took a trip to Mexico. I lied to my mom and told her that I couldn’t go because I had to take my board exam. I stayed home and what I did during that time when my family was away is I had the most dysfunctional bingeing of my whole life. I literally called off of work for like three days because I was in so much pain from binging I binged so much that during that week that they were gone I gained about 15 pounds, to the point where my mom could visually tell in a week.

I didn’t understand what the heck I was doing. I felt completely out of control. I felt like I didn’t know what to do or where to go to get help. I ended up going to an Eating Disorder Anonymous group, which is kind of like Alcoholics Anonymous for eating disorders. I just cried through the whole meeting. I was so tired of feeling afraid. I felt like for the first time all of this pain, frustration, sadness, and fear was just coming out.

The first steps to healing

No one knew that I was going through any of this or that I was doing any of these things. Everything was perfect on the outside. No one knew. And so it was just like I was completely alone with all of this. I was keeping it all to myself and it was very intense. After I went to the Eating Disorder group, I went to one of my best friends and told her everything, and cried. I spent the night at her place and finally got all of this off my chest.

After that, I sought out some help. I went to go see a therapist and she really helped me to look at why I was having so much pain. It was time to finally heal and it felt so good. I started journaling. All of these intense feelings that I used to just go and eat, I would journal.

Because there had been so much hatred and so much fear, I made this one decision: I decided I will never, ever do anything out of fear or hatred ever again. I will do everything out of love for myself. And so it became a motto, ‘everything out of love, everything out of love’. I even teach this concept now of like fierce self-love. It’s a meaningful, important concept to me because it changed everything.

I decided to start choosing love for myself over fear, over pain. I was also choosing to always love my body no matter what weight it was. I really set out to completely heal my relationship with food and with my body.

New skills

I signed up for a culinary training program. I decided out of love for myself that I was going to let myself truly, fully enjoy this experience and really completely heal my relationship with food and that I was going to allow myself to really try everything and enjoy everything. And for sure I put on some weight but you know it was amazing. I truly learned gave myself permission and really learned how to love my body and feel love for my body even when I got a little fluffier.

I got certified as a holistic nutritionist and then I did the culinary training and that’s when I had this a-ha moment. I realized most women feel frustrated because they don’t actually know what to eat.

So I wondered, “How can I enjoy food but still eat things that are really amazing for myself and do it out of love and really take care of my body?” And when all these things came together it really was like the perfect storm. Now I’m totally in love with getting in the kitchen and creating not only something that’s delicious, that I enjoy but something that is nourishing myself and taking good care of myself.

The most recent thing is of course about two years ago I came across the Life Coach School and Brooke Castillo and I decided to go get certified as a life coach. I did all that work and I learned about the model. That’s when I finally stopped the buffering with food and I lost those last 10 pounds. And that is exactly how my program came about.

It is possible for you too

So don’t ever think that you’re like weird or feel like maybe I’m judging you because I’ve been there, done that. I just really want to be an example of hope that it’s really possible to resolve any sort of food or body image issue. It is possible to get to a point where both of those relationships are amazing and are really based on unconditional love for yourself, your body and everything else.

It’s just amazing when you really manage your thoughts and your feelings on purpose to create what you want. It is so possible. When you do it all out of love for yourself, it is possible for you to have this amazing relationship with your body, with yourself, with your food and get exactly the results that you want. There are no limits.