And after back-to-back classes, at noon, on the dot, I’d pull out my fat free turkey sandwich, with the 40 calorie bread, mustard, lettuce and tomato, and inhale it – along with a can of diet Dr. Pepper – before heading off to the gym to burn off all 480 calories I’d consumed that day.
3 hrs later, having torched 500-700 calories, I’d return to school for my afternoon classes. And then I’d head home, starving, and feeling victorious, as I planned my binge.
Afterall, I was now “owed” a full day’s-worth of calories.
The binge would start with a couple servings of something healthy and then I’d turn to something sweet, which would usually end with a bowl or 3 of oatmeal with melted peanut butter or half a box of captain crunch.
And a few hours later, when I couldn’t stuff another bite in me, I’d finally stop for the night — bloated and full of guilt.
But even though I felt ashamed and gross for eating so much, because of my rigid exercise routine, disciplined scheduled and strict calorie-counting rituals, I still thought I had control.
Feeling in control was my goal in life. Not just with food, but with everything.
In fact, I was so controlling that I actually convinced my parents to be on my rigid sleep schedule. And so even though I was living in their house, I had them going light’s out at 10pm so I could get a good night’s sleep.
I was convinced that all I needed in order to feel good and be happy was to get my food and my body under control. And because I looked like I had my shit together and was getting straight A’s, no one called bullshit on me.
Quite the contrary. I’d get comments from my parents like, “I wish I had the discipline you do”…
But even though I got accolades for my rigidity and willpower, at the same time, I couldn’t kick my growing anxiety. And the obsession that something was wrong. It seemed like I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
It was as if the more I tried to gain control, the more out of control things felt.
It wasn’t until I learned that the key to being free wasn’t about gaining control. It was about learning to let go, that my relationship with food, my body and myself completely transformed.
Who knew that the secret for actually having a healthy relationship with food wasn’t about perfecting my meal plan, but rather in getting to the root of why I was trying to gain control in the first place and getting free from that!!!
And when I did, so many remarkable things started happening.
The need to control and be destructively disciplined fell away. And in its place I began experiencing a newfound ease and relaxation around food that I didn’t even know was possible.
It wasn’t that I was having a food free-for-all, but something had loosened in me and I became more intuitive and trusting around food.
But that wasn’t even the best part.
The best part was that by getting free from the rigidity and rules around food, I went from being weighed down with food thoughts to actually being present with people and feeling lighter overall.
And because my food was no longer caught up in shameful eating, I started feeling different about myself. It was like the part of me that was always hiding didn’t need to do that anymore.
And I became free. Not just from the food obsession and control. But free from holding back and from worrying what you thought of me.
So much shifted from this one ah-ha.
And that’s why I geek out when I meet other high achieving, successful women like my client Jessica, who looks like she has it all together but who is struggling with food addiction.
Because I feel like I’m looking in a mirror and I just want to say, OMG, I can help you get over all that obsession and illusion of control so you can actually get free and feel lighter.”
I also want to tell them, You don’t have to figure it out on your own. In fact, the part of you that wants to figure it out is the very part that’s blocking you!
I didn’t really get that last part for a long time. I thought that I was just being lazy, weak or stupid by not figuring it out.
But now that I get that, that the very part of us trying to fix us is actually the part that is sabotaging us, I kinda want to tell every single capable, strong, control-freak woman I know.
Because she is unwittingly leading herself into more and more pain and keeping herself stuck.
So if that’s you — a strong, successful woman who is used to solving problems and being other people’s source of inspiration. I want you to know that your biggest asset will be in your ability to surrender all that.
And if that freaks the fuck out of you, let me know, and I’ll be happy to share with you how I did it and how you can too. 😉
In dedication of all things raw, real and recovered,
p.s. For those of you who hail from the San Diego area, I’ll be giving a free talk on Aug 23rd 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm that’s all about how to end the food obsession so you can get free. If you want to grab the details for it, click the link below: