I grew up in a home where food was both feared and revered. My parents, like so many others, were concerned about losing weight and being healthy. And of course I struggled with body image throughout my teens. When I went off to college, I thought I wanted to be a doctor which means I ended up taking a lot of biology classes. I gained the infamous freshman 15, learned even more about nutrition and weight management from roommates or professors, until it all compounded into one big confusing reality that food really was just an instrument for good or evil. Eventually I started to see food less as a tool for weight loss and more as a tool for health/wellness. But even this newfound knowledge further ingrained within me the belief that food was a moral issue.
I remember as a teen, and throughout college, thinking I’d never make a good anorexic or bulimic because I loved food too much — a twisted self-judgment that made me think I was somehow a failure.
Now, looking back, I can see that I actually struggled with orthorexic tendencies and binging behaviors. In my mind it was better to sometimes go without food than eat something unhealthy. And that form of restriction would eventually backfire until I was so hungry that it didn’t matter if I ate something healthy or not, because my body was desperate to eat anything and everything until I was sick to my stomach and full of shame, worried that I was now destined to die of cancer or worse: that I was somehow less worthy, or righteous, as if I had committed a grievous sin. So I’d try harder, eat healthier, until the cycle repeated itself over and over.
It really wasn’t until just a few years ago that I had a complete overhaul in the way I related to food. I was helping others with weight loss programs, including more alternative approaches like Ayurveda and chakra balancing, but something was still missing… One summer I ended up helping with the food at a weekend workshop for women. It was at this event that I had a HUGE epiphany about food. I had planned the meals and even created some activities to take it to the next level (like smelling your food), but I started hearing people make comments about how healthy and high vibe the food was. On one hand, I was excited because that was my intention! But then I started to feel unsettled, because I knew the food wasn’t perfect. I was from out of town, so out of necessity we ended up using things like chicken bouillon instead of bone broth, processed sauces that came from a bottle, etc.
As I was mentally prepping for our last meal together — an oatmeal bar with various toppings — I had an outrageous idea to serve them cold cereal. We’re talking Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Lucky Charms, not Kashi granola. I seriously started to panic at the idea, but amidst my racing thoughts came a quiet voice that pierced my soul and changed everything.
It told me that there’s no such thing as good food or bad food, there’s just food. And the way we relate to food is indicative of how we relate to ourselves and others. These women were being nourished by the love I had for the food and for them. That’s what they were resonating with.
I was then prompted to use the cold cereal as a trigger point, to teach this concept (which I had just learned) to everyone else. I call this my “come to Jesus” moment where my entire food paradigm shifted. I realized that in all my years of trying to control my food, that I was essentially playing the role of the Savior.
Even if eating perfect was possible (it’s not), I allowed my food fears to control my life in an attempt to save myself/others. We came here to gain a body and to use it as we experience this life. My soul purpose is NOT to lose weight or to be healthy.
I had forgotten what I consider three of the greatest eternal truths:
1. I am a child of God. No matter what I eat, or don’t eat, that will never change.
2. I’m here to learn, grow and become more like my Heavenly Parents. My soul purpose is not to lose weight or be healthy.
3. Through Christ’s Atonement, I can return home to live with Them. No amount of clean eating will qualify me for Heaven or satisfy those spiritual cravings.
Since that pivotal lesson, I’ve learned even more about how our thoughts/feelings literally affect the way we digest/assimilate food and how we can learn to trust our inner wisdom when it comes to food choices or eating habits. Nowadays I implement eating psychology concepts with a weight neutral approach, as well as Intuitive Eating (IE) and Health At Every Size (HAES) principles. My mission is to help you remember who you are, why you’re here, and where you’re going. Learn how to live in alignment with what YOU value, awaken your higher self and unlock your true potential in your now body. You’re not alone and recovery is possible!
Namaste, fellow eater.