Freedom is hands down the most common hunger I hear from the women I work with. They want to be free.
Free to eat.
Free to live.
Free to love.
Free to be their true selves.
It’s what I YEARNED for all those years that I struggled with my eating and body image.
But while we may live in a free world or a free country, when it comes to food and our bodies, many women are far from free.
We live in a culture that sends us a ridiculous volume of messages that tear at the very heart of our freedom to nourish ourselves.
Stand in any supermarket checkout line and what do you see? Countless magazines depicting beautiful recipes and things to cook for your family, RIGHT next to the latest diet or detox announcement or celebrity body-bashing headline.
So basically we’re supposed to prepare all this fabulous nourishment for others, but we’re not allowed to partake in it ourselves.
It’s totally fucked up. And it pisses me off. (Seriously, if I see one more fucking “body after baby” headline I’m going to scream).
Why, as women, should we be AFRAID to eat?
Why should we need some kind of external approval or validation to choose what we wish to consume?
Why should we feel guilty about every bite that crosses our lips?
Why should we basically have to apologize for being in a female body that naturally shifts and changes in its form?
I talk to so many women who feel like they are in prison when it comes to food and their bodies. No matter how hard they try, they feel powerless and unable to change things.
And I totally get it. I lived that way for over 20 years.
I used to think what would set me free was to “get control of my eating.” In other words find the perfect diet, stick to it, get my body to the perfect place, and then and only then would I be free to enjoy my life.
Essentially I believed that CONTROL was the royal road to FREEDOM. (Are you seeing the irony here?)
And it’s no wonder. It’s what we’ve been trained to think. It’s what the diet industry keeps force feeding us and what we’ve been hearing since we were little girls when we developed that first concern about our bodies…
Control yourself. Control your appetite. Control your desires.
Yeah, good luck with that. Try controlling a hurricane. These are forces of nature. They are life force energy.
So first of all, if you can relate and you feel powerless with food despite having “tried it all” – it’s not your fault. It’s simply a matter of indoctrination by a fucked up system.
We now know FOR A FACT that diets don’t work. That appetite control and food control are not sustainable strategies to heal our food and body challenges. That anxiety and stress over what to eat actually drives you to eat more and signals your body to store weight.
I’m going to share a truth with you, and I really want you to hear this.
What really keeps you imprisoned is not your weight, or your lack of willpower, or your food addiction, or the diet experts, or any of that nonsense.
It’s something much deeper, much darker.
It’s the shame that you haven’t been able to win this unwinnable game.
It’s the shame that has you hide your perceived weakness with food away and eat in secret.
It’s the shame that has you cover and conceal your body to avoid the glances of what you imagine to be a slew of judging eyes.
It’s the shame of what people might think if they knew just how much you obsessed over food every day.
It’s the shame that has you avoid the body image seminar or emotional eating workshop that might really help you. (Seriously, I have deep honor for the women who attend my workshops because it takes courage to show up!)
It’s the shame over having an appetite and desires and a need for pleasure at all.
Here’s the ultimate truth. Your freedom with food is within your reach right now. And it begins with saying no to the shame.
Think of it as Living & Eating Fearlessly Step 0. The precursor to all the other steps.
If you have been unable to get “control” of your eating or your body there is nothing wrong with you. The shame is just a conditioned response. It’s not real.
When I first started speaking up about my eating disorder, I was terrified. I was certain that people were going to recoil from me in disgust, talk behind my back, judge me, or worse yet, pity me.
But do you know what I found? Nine times out of 10 the response I got was, “me too.” Or my sister/friend/mother etc. experienced that too. I was stunned.
Wherever you are with food and your body, you are not alone, and there’s nothing wrong with you. But as long as you harbor shame around it you will never be free.
If you really want to claim your freedom with food you can start today by declaring your independence from the shame.
There was a very powerful moment in my life when I came face to face with my shame, and a voice said to me, “What you’ve done is not who you are.”
Michelle, that was the moment that everything changed for me. It was the moment that my eating disorder lost its grip on me and I stepped through to the other side.
You may not have an eating disorder per se, but if you’re in my tribe you’re likely here because something is not working with you and food.
And this can be the moment that everything changes for you too.
All you need to do is go to the mirror right now, look yourself in the eyes, and repeat after me:
- Beautiful, there is nothing wrong with you.
- I love you for doing your best to nourish yourself.
- I forgive you for making mistakes on that path.
- I celebrate you for taking a stand for your freedom.
- From this day forward, I say no to shame and set myself free.
Won’t you declare your independence today?
I’d really love to know what you think. What role has shame played in your relationship with food? How has it held you back from living the life you dream of? What would be possible for you if you let it go?
If this touched something in you, please leave a comment below and let me know!