I have a great deal of empathy and compassion for any woman who struggles with loving her body or being kind to herself. I know how crippling and consuming it can be when you’re your own worst enemy. I know how much time, energy and education it takes to break the seemingly unending cycle with weight struggles. I understand that it takes a commitment to yourself and loved ones to get to a place where you can manage to treat yourself well as life propels you forward through each day as a student, career woman, wife, caretaker, sister, friend and everything in between.
When I moved to California I met a man who saw me the way I wanted to see myself. I also found myself in a place that made it tremendously easy to discover new ways to feel healthy and strong. That man and this place helped me realize that I could view myself and the world through a different lens. They helped me see that I deserved to be happy. Somewhere around that time, I finally decided to be kinder to myself inside and out.
Now don’t get me wrong, I made that decision, but that doesn’t mean that I’m always successful. I’m still totally an emotional eater – you’ll find me on any airplane ride away from my sisters or best friends with a big bag of peanut M&M’s and usually some Swedish fish too. I still have moments when I freak out over gaining a few pounds, even though I know by now that everything evens out eventually. Oh and I have to talk myself off a ledge when my pants get too tight. I don’t wake up hugging myself and smiling at my tummy rolls every day. But regardless of the peaks and valleys, one thing has remained a constant on this long and winding road to self love and acceptance. I ALWAYS continue to educate myself. I figure that if I can take one lesson away from every battle, if I can collect scalps of those bastard demons along the way, then I will be stronger and tougher and better to myself with each passing day. (As disgusting as the mention of scalps is, it is an appropriate reference given how ugly things can get when you go to war with yourself.)
20 years of different diets and exercise regimes , 2 nutritionists, a naturopath, an acupuncturist, a Chinese herbalist, 3 douche bag therapists, a mean pediatrician, a dermatologist, a kid who moo’d at me in math class, endless books, blogs, magazines, diet gurus, yoga teachers, a few months in an outpatient program, some more books and the unconditional love of one man and one city morphed me into an open, honest, compassionate, very real, very well informed “health foodie.” I’m like Gwyneth Paltrow with a sense of humor, saddle bags, a fat kid past and a little humility. I may not have her money, private chef, dedicated Pilates instructor and kids with “creative” names, but I do have a rock star husband. He just can’t sing like Chris Martin.
Although there’s no Gwyneth-style book in the works, I am going to start sharing more of the information, resources and lessons I’ve learned on my “try not to hate yourself for loving peanut M&M’s” journey. My girlfriends love hearing the tips and tricks that make eating and living healthy a little more manageable for your average Gwyn, and I love sharing. I just can’t fight it anymore; this kind of thing is simply my wheelhouse.