Are you trading one set of chains for another?
Updated: May 29
I grew up in a large family, in rural Missouri. I am one of 7 kids. In any family it can be a challenge to establish your own identity and that was my case for sure! I was the middle child and one of the stories I remember most, is that after I was born, my Dad came home to the rest of the family proclaiming, "She has red hair and green eyes!" This was of importance because my parents and all of my siblings had dark brown or black hair, brown eyes, and very dark olive skin and it was the same for the sister born after me. I was red headed and fair! As I grew the red turned to blonde and even though I'd like to deny it the blonde turned to brown and my once fair skin is now quite olive (largely due to sun overexposure,but nonetheless).
In my family the humor runs as long as the Missouri River. At any family gathering you can expect to see a large group of people gathered around a table laughing and telling funny stories. The table will inevitably be covered with my mom’s pies, (the best homemade pies you will ever eat), delicious casseroles, homemade bread, briskets, fried chicken, and roast and potatoes just to name a few. As far back as I can remember I've LOVED food. Specifically anything chocolate and sweet. I was so in love with food that I was lovingly given the nickname Chunk. From about age 7 until 14 that became my identity.
I thought about food from the time woke up until the time I went to bed. I would eat until I made myself sick. I knew this was not who I really was but for various reasons this "habit" had become somewhat of an addiction and my identity all in one. As my waistline grew, so did my insecurity. I began to despise myself. I also began to be teased which later turned into being bullied. One day I decided I'd had enough.
It was the Summer before my freshman year of High School. I decided I'd go on a diet for real this time and I did. I became obsessed with not eating and spent hours in my room doing sit-ups. I lost over 40 pounds in about 3 months. I was now SKINNY! Now instead of the jokes and teasing, I was praised by all for how skinny I was. I was popular. Boys now paid attention to me! it seemed like I had "arrived". While I did feel and look better, I didn't know that this was just a temporary fix.
I was skinny but I hadn't really changed on the inside. I was still that insecure unhappy girl. I still had my appetite, but now instead of obsessing about what I was going to eat I obsessed about not eating. I had traded one set of chains for another. I still was not in touch with my true inner self, and I still wasn't feeding myself what I was actually hungry for. Self love.
This revelation came to me a few years ago and it has taken me on a journey of self discovery and freedom that I've never known. I am still a work in progress. Every day I still fight my mind and body in one way or another, but those conflicts are fewer all the time.
I share my story with you because I want you to know that if you can relate in any way, please don't lose hope. You don't need a rigid diet plan that was created for the masses and exists on the outside of your innate knowing. Peace with food is possible. You don't have to punish yourself with food by the eating of it or the withholding of it. More to come on all of this in future blogs, but for now....
Get to know yourself, trust yourself and LOVE yourself. Choose real freedom.
'Nothing is more beautiful than freedom of the body'- Coco Chanel
Love to you all