I know I have shared in the past with The Daily Love readers about my life-long struggle with a mild eating disorder and distorted body image. As I learn more and more about myself and my “not-so-fun” addictive habits and thoughts, what I have come to realize is that I don’t have an eating disorder – I have a mind disorder.
My mind is what creates the obsessive thoughts about food and my body. And in the past, everything my mind told me, I tended to believe. My thighs are too big, my arms are too fat, my butt is too big. No one will love me if I don’t have the perfect body. If I eat anything with fat in it, it will make me fat. If I eat ANY food, I will get fat. And the banter goes on and on. You can imagine how tiring that could be.
When I was in my 20’s, I had an exponential amount of energy, so I would just obsessively exercise thinking that would solve my “fat” problem. The banter in my mind would still be there, but I would numb it out with exercise or drinking alcohol and partying. Now as I move into my mid 40’s, I find that I want to be gentler on myself, that numbing out is not an option and hasn’t been for a long time.
The other day I was on a hike and there was a couple up in front of me hiking together. The girl was rambling away the whole hike up the mountain, while I silently was behind them huffing and puffing, thinking; “Wow, that girl is in shape. I can barely catch my breath.” I immediately went into judging myself. As I approached the top of the hike, they were there taking a rest. The guy was huffing and puffing just like me and she was still jabbering away! We ended up chatting and hiking down the trail together, and in our conversation I came to learn that she was 26 and loved beer and coffee. I chuckled to myself inside, because I remembered those days vividly when I would treat my body not-so-good and still have a ton of energy to workout and do life.
As I have been on a spiritual journey, I am listening to my mind less and less and tuning into the voice of my heart. In my heart, there is no such thing as a disorder, or a fat body or any of these other horrendous things my mind likes to make up to trick me. Nothing my mind tells me is real. It only says the things that it knows from when I was a young kid and absorbed any negative comment that I heard from other people as true. As a teen and young adult, my brother would tease me and say I had a big butt. Mind you, I was a thin rail my whole adult life and was never fat, but just by him saying this, I believed I had the biggest butt in the world and that led me to a bout with bulimia (which wasn’t for me), going on the fat free binge, obsessive exercising and wearing long shirts that covered my butt no matter what. For years, I believed these four words, “you have a big butt.” My mind attached onto them like a leech and never did I even consider that it wasn’t true. I’m sure you can relate to that in some other area of your life.
Now what I do to get past these obsessive and untrue thoughts is to observe my mind, talk to it and tell it to be quiet. I know when those old beliefs are running versus when I am truly in my heart. That mind disorder will always be there, but as I connect more to myself, and the Uni-verse, it gets quieter and quieter. The way I do this is to engage in activities that bring me joy, because when I am feeling joy, I am present and when I am present, there is NO WAY I can be listening to the un-serving commentary that goes on in my disordered mind.
I would be lying if I said I was no longer attached to the way I looked and that I didn’t still have these thoughts of a big butt or fat whatever. It’s a process and I know that the more I love myself, honor my body, do the things I enjoy and spend time with people I love, the disorder and my mind have less power over me.
So I ask you…Where can you bring peace to a constant mind chatter that may leave you feeling broken, sad, fat, whatever? What has someone told you about yourself that you took on as a truth, even though it was farthest from it?
What can you do to experience joy and freedom for yourself?
Find what you love and do it now, because this is one of the only things that will help you be free if you find that your mind likes to run the show!
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Melissa is personal chef , wellness coach and nutrition educator. Check out her website here.