We are all exactly where we are supposed to be and we are given everything we need.
I know this sounds like crazy, woo-woo talk, but think about it. Even when we feel like we aren’t doing a good job of parenting or aren’t fulfilled in our work or feel disconnected in our marriage or know we aren’t nourishing our bodies, we are supposed to be there. We are there for a reason.
We may think it’s a bad thing or that this is what we deserve or that it will ALWAYS BE THIS WAY! But it’s not. It is showing up to get our attention and wake us up. Instead of blaming ourselves or anyone else, we can start asking what we need that we aren’t getting. Some good questions:
- What do I want to eat that will make me feel good? (I would say soup, especially this time of year)
- How can I feel more connected to my person?
- What will help me deal with my stress?
- What does my kid need right now?
And that’s why we’re supposed to be in these hard places, it’s called contrast. It is meant to shift our attention and to learn something and if we can peel ourselves away from the self inflicted verbal abuse for a moment we can make space for the lesson or the surrender or the forgiveness or the help that shows up.
This happens to me all of the time. There is struggle or suffering and I feel stuck, so I might throw a fit but eventually I start asking questions and paying attention to what is showing up in my world like books, people, a blog post, anything that seems “random” is always another crumb leading me to the answer or the place I’m meant to be.
This happened a few years after I started coaching when I found myself frustrated with the quest to be healthy (aka to be perfect), both in myself and with my clients. Personally, I was noticing how I felt dogmatic about following eating rules and guilty when I indulged and how reminiscent that was of my binging and purging days that were well behind me.
I saw clients doing the same, trying so hard and beating themselves up about not “following” along or doing a good enough job and even though we were addressing the WHOLE person and I was coaching on career, finances, relationships, spirituality and more, there was still a ton of shame and guilt about food and the size or shape of their body AND those feelings trickled into the other parts of their lives.
Lingering in the back of my mind, with every “healthy” thing I ate or did there was still a glimmer of hope that not eating sugar or taking a new supplement or trying a new bootcamp workout would be THE thing to help me lose 15 pounds or get a flat stomach. Underneath all of that I was searching for what our society praises in women, being pretty and skinny and perfect, and I believed I couldn’t be a respectable health coach unless I was super fit, thinner or had a good marketing story to tell about “how I lost the weight.” I was in the mud, my clients were in the mud and I didn’t know how to get any of us out...
So about the time I was feeling like giving up, 3 books randomly came into my life (none of them were newly released or a hot topic at all) and gave me a whole new perspective. Turns out the way out of the mud is already there for all of us, it’s in the roots, we are learning to listen to the wisdom we all have about our bodies (and really all aspects of our lives).
One of the books was Intuitive Eating. I devoured the book, it made sense to me, it wasn’t about punishment or cravings or even following any rules. In fact, there was little talk about nutrition until the end, yet the book was written by 2 clinical dietitians who found themselves having the same problem I was having with clients feeling guilty and blaming themselves when they couldn’t follow a diet plan leaving them right back where they started.
This book along with Linda Bacon’s Health at Every Size and Geneen Roth’s Women, Food and God felt like the freedom I was looking for and what my clients were looking for too. Deep down none of us were interested in closely monitoring our eating for the next 50 years, we wanted to be healthy and be free to ENJOY our lives. This was our permission slip to live.
Through that struggle and confusion I got what I needed, I got pointed in a direction that has led to meeting a ton of other incredible women doing this work, seeing clients who are learning how to be the experts (and boss) of themselves instead of depending on food rules and fear to guide them and I am finally free from worry, guilt and anxiety about in my own relationship with food and myself.
A few years ago I began the Intuitive Eating certification with the authors of the book. Before I could finish the training we had a house fire and my priorities shifted. While many of the principles of Intuitive Eating made their way into the online program, Beautiful You Project, it was hardly comprehensive and it’s my hope that next year it will be an Intuitive Eating experience.
A few weeks ago I started the certification process again to become an Intuitive Eating Counselor and I am beyond excited about sharing this work more as I go through the training. That said, most people have LOTS of questions about what the Intuitive Eating process is like, 'how is eating whatever you want healthy?' and how something as counterculture as not basing our health on weight loss or body shape/size (but what about my BMI?) can possibly be a good thing.
I wondered these things myself when I began, but as I got to know my intuitive eater I feel confident and guilt-free around food, with my body and in how I approach my life. I hear the same confidence and personal power coming from my clients. I want to share this with you!
For the month of November I invite you to follow along as I will be writing a series of posts dedicated to what the heck Intuitive Eating is and how it could be the most refreshing thing you’ve heard in decades.
I can’t wait to share these articles with you and let you know all the ways you can practice this freedom with me in 2017.
We all know at least one woman who doesn’t feel good in her body or who is in the mud and struggle with diet and health waiting to get what she needs. Please share this with these women in your life, we are in this together, we are stronger together.