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How a Client Became a “Normal” Eater

  • Eating

 Every once in a while, I give over my blog space to a client who has something important to say that I just have to pass on to you—some bits of wisdom on recovery or even a letter written to a parent but never sent. Here’s an account I received from a client I worked with for several years. I hope it helps you in your recovery.

I want to share how the work I did with Karen has set me free. I’m happy, healthy, active and enjoying my life every day, yup, even on the crummy days. You’ll be wanting the basics on what brought me to seek out coaching: decades of chaotic eating from too little and then too much, multiple types of abuse and neglect growing up, a mother with narcissistic personality disorder, an emotionally absent father and an abusive brother, not to mention over 200 pounds of excess weight. I was also a total nice girl—too nice to everyone else and never nice enough to me.

Now I live a life of joy and am pursuing my dreams. Sure, some moments still suck, but I now have the skills to cope. I’m at peace with the past, and live much more in the present. My family is still in my life and I remain in a secure, loving marriage that is filled with laughter, fun and adventure. I eat normally and am completely at peace with food and my body. If anyone attempts to fat shame me, then all that achieves is showing their ignorance about weight and prejudice of other people.

I’ve gone down a few dress sizes and lost weight—25 pounds—without trying because losing weight isn’t a goal of mine. It’s the outcome of listening to my body and emotions. I use the skills of normal eating to help ground my attitude to eating. I’m not over-exercising and I’m not saying “Oh, I can’t eat that.” I eat everything I want and need—chocolate, chips, salmon, carrots and even hot dogs at the ball game. Here’s how I achieved the life I’ve always wanted.

At the end of one my sessions with Karen, she said “Take care of your precious self” as she signed off. That kindness was something I wanted for myself and I made the decision to take care of my precious self. First I realised I was precious, then I valued my own self. This took me years to achieve and when it happened, it was as if a burden was out of my heart. I gave the love I always gave to others directly to me, and I mothered myself as I wished I always had been mothered. I ask for what I need and want, including affection, food, safety and even treats like the most divine body lotion, and then I give it to myself and even better, allow my friends to show me kindness and receive it with grace.

It starts with this one thought. If you can get to the place where you see yourself as precious, worthy of love and kindness, then how can you act in any other way to yourself? It’s not kind for me to get lonely and seek comfort at the bottom of a bag of crisps. It makes me feel good in the moment, but not afterwards. I ask myself what I’m feeling, am I hungry, if so, how hungry, what do I want to eat—sweet or savoury—
and then how much do I want to eat? I eat what I need; sometimes I really want chocolate and I have 1 or 2 pieces, sometimes it’s more, but that’s ok because it’s what I need at that moment.

The bottom line is this: I take care of me, because taking care of my precious self feels better than anything. Food is really just food; sure it tastes great (usually). It can’t solve your problems or meet your emotional needs but taking care of you does. It’s the start of you finding out who you are, what you like, expressing your creativity, feeling good about your achievements, and being proud of who you are. It short, taking care of you is the start of living the life you want.

Think for a moment what you would write in this blog space when you recover from your eating problems. Think about how wonderful it will feel to share your pride, advice, and joy. It wouldn’t hurt to write your thoughts all out to reread regularly to remind yourself of the peace and positive feelings you’re moving toward with food and your body.