It’s been over a week now since the 21 Day Intuitive Eating challenge ended.
I changed a LOT in 21 days.
Because I had a jumpstart into my intuitive eating journey, I was worried that I would be too “advanced” to really get anything out of the program, but I was totally wrong. Honestly, in the first month that I was doing things on my own, I had a lot of revelations, but it wasn’t until I read those first few emails and really got to know the other girls participating via the Facebook page, that I really started making progress.
It helped so much to see I wasn’t alone.
Since then, I finally feel in touch with my body I know what I’m craving. I know what hunger/satiety feels like. I know I can trust myself not to “lose control” when it comes to food. I know that if I overeat, it’s not the end of the world and that my body will provide the balance I need, but I also know that if I WANT to overeat, because maybe it’s one of the best damn meals of my life, that I don’t have to restrict/punish myself afterwards.
It’s just FOOD!
While I’ve been on my journey in intuitive eating journey, I’ve noticed something. Under all the food rules and restriction…under the anxiety and needless guilt…
It really has NOTHING to do with food!
Of course it took the act of peeling back the layers to see that. Not many of you know this, but I used to be married. I was divorced three years ago. It was a terrible time in my life that was stretched out over one LONG year and a half. I couldn’t handle all the emotions I was faced with. The stress was too much. I flirted with an eating disorder
(a post for another day). I lost a LOT of weight.
And I also lost myself.
I actually started blogging as a way to find myself. For years I had been the daughter, the sister, the girlfriend, the wife…always putting others needs before my own…but I had never been just Heather. Hell, if you had asked me back then what kind of hobbies I had, you would have been met with nothing but the sound of crickets chirping.
Of course, what started as a passion for food, cooking, and fitness actually developed into a means of hiding from the “real” world…hiding from my feelings…pretending my troubles didn’t exist. Whenever I felt emotions that were uncomfortable, I would push them away or deny I had them at all. I never realized during those late nights where I felt compelled to finish off an entire box of cereal, that with each handful, all I was doing was ignoring my life.
Not everything in life is rainbows and unicorns.
You can’t deny your feelings. You can’t deny yourself. It’s part of who you are. Part of being an adult is facing the bad shit that comes around. You can’t ignore your problems away. They don’t go away. They just get bigger and hold you back. For THREE years, I’ve allowed my unfelt feelings to keep me from finding joy in life.
So what happens now?
Now I move forward…by going backward. After our final phone conversation of the challenge, I decided to sign up for three months of coaching with Jamie which starts today. I’ve known I needed to seek a counselor for sometime now….to have someone ask me questions I can’t ask myself and to help me finally face my fears, FEEL my feelings, and move on.
Starting today, I find
the girl I used to be ME!
What are you passionate about? What brings you JOY?
Love this post, Heather! I’m glad you’re in a much happier place now! And hearing your struggles & successes has really helped me take a better approach to eating!
Oh I love this!!I can SO much relate on the ignoring feelings part – I did this for YEARS. I too, had some kind of trauma then destiny hit (I lost my father) and never really faced the emotions connected to it, but covered it with my Eating Disorder. I am so PROUD of you that you made this couragous step, it’s so brave!! I totally love you my sweet, brilliant friend!!
Nope, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, and it takes strength to pull yourself out of the muck. Way to take all these positive steps! I hope you don’t just find yourself, but I also hope that you enjoy the journey. It sounds like a fun (but challenging) one!
I really admire your honesty. I know it’s not easy to write out all these things! You’ve come a long way, and I’m sure you’re gonna get out of this a strong, beautiful woman. I think that EDs happen cos of lack of knowledge coupled with circumstances/situations, and emerging out of them takes time and lots of perseverance. I’m on the path with you, and I’m sure we’re gonna find ourselves – much better identities than who we are, and MUCH MUCH better identities than who we used to be!
Love you, this blog, and your pancakes! 😉
“and MUCH MUCH better identities than who we used to be!” <- YES WE ARE!! Thank you for your kind and supportive words, Shreya! And I couldn't agree with you more about the lack of knowledge and circumstance. I'm just happy that we are both in a place where we can finally be free of it all! We've SO got this!!
Love this post Heather! I’m really happy for you that you’re deciding to take this step. I think that the majority of people who have had issues with food or over/undereating tendencies can agree that it’s not really about the food – it’s about using it to hide, cover up or ignore emotions.
And it’s great that you’re signing up with Jamie – I feel like there’s a lot of stigma around therapy and going to see a counsellor, but I fully believe that everyone can benefit. I saw a therapist for a little over a year, and it was one of the best things I could have done for myself. I hope it allows you to find what you’re looking for!
This is great, Heather! It feels good to look inside rather than outside at ourselves. You’ve made a great start…now Carry On!!
Oh you know I love this! I have been dealing with some emotional crap myself for the past couple of years. I have finally gotten to the point where I have found me. It’s weird to say, but I actually like this girl. Turns out she is positive and happy.
I love that you are sharing this journey and I’m so happy that you are finding yourself! You are amazing my friend!
I so needed this post on this very day!! Thanks so much for sharing!! Kudos to you for reaching out and asking for assistance. Sometimes it just takes time to be ready to accept it (learned that the hard way when a family member needed it badly!!!) Keep up the great posts!!!
I love this, Heather. I love that you are feeling happy and content with who you are and learning more about yourself. Sometimes talking to someone can make the world of difference. I had a really hard time freshman year of high school and talking to someone about the feelings i was keeping pent up inside was really helpful for me. I think it helped to keep me from turning to unhealthy habits.
I’m passionate about eating chicken out of baggies and dehydrating myself on purpose. LOL! Sorry… going CRAZY. 😉
Seriously, I love you and am so happy you’re learning so much.
You, girl, are just freaking amazing. I loved reading about your journey with intuitive eating, and I love that you’re taking things a step further by trying to find the root of the problem. You’re absolutely right that an unhealthy relationship with food is hardly ever about the food. There are deeper issues there, and uprooting those will usually alleviate the food problems as well. Definitely looking forward to hearing more about your journey 🙂
This is freaking AWESOME! Although I don’t agree that not everything is rainbows and unicorns. Im pretty sure it is 😉
Im so glad you are going to be talking through this and finding the root of it all. Its so easy to blame the food, but in the end, the food is just what we use as an excuse. We use it to fill ourselves, blind ourselves, and trick ourselves, instead of just taking it for what it is: substance and fuel for our bodies.
Rock it lady 🙂
Love it girl.
I’m so happy for how far you’ve come. You deserve to be happy and really find out who you are! You’re amazing!
I can’t believe how much change a month can bring, it’s really remarkable. I’m so happy we can lean on each other 🙂
You’re amazing. Such an honest post and one that I know SO many people can relate to. You’re absolutely right… it’s NOT about the food. I am so excited to work with you, Heather. Talk to you later girl! xoxoxo.
omg girl. we are so on the same wavelength it’s not even funny. since I started IE i’ve noticed depression and anxiety are ramped up because I am FEELING my feelings now. and it kind of sucks, but it’ll get better. i was on a crazy roller coaster all week because i ran into somebody that made all these shitty old feelings come back to life and i never worked through them because i’m pretty sure it happened around the time that my friends and i shared an entire bucket of chocolate ice cream (everybody had a spoon). definitely some masking with my binge eating, or i probably delved deeper into an eating disorder / disordered eating and decided if i was skinnier, then people would like me.
I am a firm believer in the saying “everything happens for a reason.” Try your best to ALWAYS find the good in everything. I don’t care how cliche it sounds. You are SO much more than what you once saw yourself to be. You have so many passions, ambitions, and genuine love for all that you do! I know I’ve said it before, but you don’t know how much you inspire people. Keep up the great work and keep pushing forward. We love the Heather that you are!
I’m passionate about living a healthy lifestyle with my family, my friends, and my fellow bloggers! We truly bring out the best in each other.
I LOVE it! I love that you just want to be Heather. You are great at that! We are so on the same wavelength, and congrats on making the phone call! Love that for you. 🙂
Great post! Congrats on your accomplishment!
I just wanted to take a second to say how much I appreciate your honesty and sincerity as a blogger. IE seems to have become a hot topic in the blog world as of late, which would be grand if it weren’t for the fact that so many girls are so clearly not actually listening to themselves. It’s so… refreshing, and (forgive me if this sounds ridiculous) inspiring to see a blogger who actually admits that it’s hard, and that she’s slipped, and that she doesn’t just crave egg whites and raw vegetables and protein powder. You read as someone who truly cares about the image she portrays to readers, as someone who actually warrants the “H” in the “HLB” category of blogging.
So thank you.
This comment…right here…has brought me to tears every time I read it. Thank you so much Rosalie! You have NO idea what your words mean to me! Once I opened up in the beginning, it was like all the holds were released. I just don’t see the point in sugar-coating these things. I truly want to help others realize that their lives don’t have to ruled by the amount of calories they eat or the number of hours they log in at the gym each week. I’ve had so many moments of “enlightenment” where I just stand in shock and awe of myself…how my mindset has changed…how my entire LIFE has changed…but it wasn’t easy getting to this point (and I still have so far to go). I want others to see this in themselves because it’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt…so empowering. But people have to know that anything worth having (or feeling with this intensity) is going to require work. No one can be expected to just drop everything they know about everything and start living “intuitively”. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes do overs. But it’s SO worth it!
I so much admire your strength,Heather.
I wish I was as courageous as you are,I guess I’d have much less problems letting go of my Eating Disorder.
You can and will make it,keep going – backwards and forward at the same time. 🙂
Oh honey, I only wish it were courage that got me this far. More like desperation. This is my leap of faith if you will…I’ve been at the bottom for so long I figure what have I got to lose at this point? Plus, life is too damn short to live stuck in the past…in our minds…or in things that just don’t matter! We only get one shot at this and you can chose ANY day to start practicing your aim! 😀
I can relate so much! I have fallen into the calorie-counting trap a number of times. It got so bad that I still sometimes have trouble eating intuitively. I used to only eat when it was “time” and only foods that fit my macros as well.
Listening to hunger cues is not easy, but I’m really glad you raised this subject.
Honing in on your hunger cues (especially after being so far removed from them for so long) can definitely be tough. It takes time and a LOT of patience with yourself, but I promise it gets easier! 🙂
Wow. I had no idea…
I’m so proud of your journey thus far and I can’t wait to see what another 3 months of coaching will bring for you. You deserve all the happiness and freedom in the world and I love that you’re finally discovering it. <3
Congrats! I always think a counselor/coach is helpful no matter what stage you’re at, but maybe that’s just me 😛
LOVE this post Heather!!! You are a strong, brave and honest woman, and I’m so happy to be getting to “know” you electronically. Hugs.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can relate to you in many ways, and I think that’s why I find your blog and IE posts so inspiring. My husband passed away last March and about two months after that is when I started on my fitness/ health journey. What started out as just wanting to get into shape and eat right has slowly began to turn into an obsession with me constantly tracking everything I eat, feeling guilty when I eat something “bad” or if I miss a day at the gym. I have had a few people reach out to me with concern that rather than dealing with my husband’s death, I’m ignoring those feelings and using health and fitness to cover them up. I understand their concern in some ways; I never did seek counseling after his death and just thought I would deal with it in my own time and in my own way. I don’t really know where I’m going from here – continuing on with my obsessive ways, trying to deal with things on my own or getting counseling – but I love the fact that you’re sharing your story and I can relate to someone a little bit. Best wishes to you on your journey!
Oh honey, first of all, I am so so sorry for your loss. I know it doesn’t compare in a true sense, but I can relate to the pain you’ve felt/are feeling. When my marriage ended, I felt like I witnessed a death…a part of me died. The grief was so intense and it came at me all at once. I tried to focus on bits and pieces but could never manage to sort it out and always ran away feeling completely overwhelmed…and here I am three years later with the exact same problem. Time can help you forget some things, but time spent ignoring yourself and your true emotional needs does not help in the healing process. If anything, it only makes the wounds bigger and more complex. I know it’s hard to hear someone tell you to seek help because honestly, you have to make that decision on your own…you can only allow yourself to open up and deal with these emotions when you KNOW that you are ready. But do me a favor and ask yourself: If your husband could see you now, what would he say? What would he want for you?
If you ever need to talk, please PLEASE don’t hesitate to send me an email, ok? My deepest thoughts are with you right now. *hugs*
such a great post. i greatly appreciate your honesty. admitting/realizing the truth behind actions is a step in the right direction. [if only i can jump that hurdle, ha] to me, you have always come across happy, healthy and fun in your posts. I’m only sure you will find even more positivity within yourself.
You CAN jump that hurdle, Sonia…you just have to take it as a leap of faith. The unknown is scary and it can be all too easy to stay in a place that is comfortable, but just know that nothing will ever change if you chose to change nothing. 🙂
Thank you for sharing your story—it really resonated with me. I was never legally married but lived with a partner for several years. When he and I broke up, finding myself was daunting, and in some ways, it’s still a process, even though it’s been a few years. I was lucky to have an awesome therapist to talk to all through it. What started as a scary process has turned into a joyful one over time, though, as I discover new parts of myself and get excited about things I never knew I was even interested in!
Anyway, I don’t comment that often, but I’ve been following your blog a long time and love your honesty and humor and just wanted to say that I appreciate your putting it out there.
Aww, thank you so much Jess! And it’s so good to hear how the journey treated you. I have much to look forward to…just have to get over the rough spots first! 🙂
TELL ME those are oatmeal squares covered in Nutella drizzle….
That is really exciting about the coaching you signed up for! I think it’s incredible when people take charge of their lives like you are! Go girl!
Thank you Carol! And you got part of that right…oatmeal squares covered in healthy chocolate sauce (cocoa + stevia + water)…I’ve never really been much on Nutella! :-/
You’re so strong Heather, and I appreciate your perspective on your journey you’ve had so far.
I really appreciate your honesty throughout it all as well!
You’re so right that our relationship in terms of food, usually doesn’t actually lie within the food. It’s other things and we use the food to cope and help lessen the stress we’re facing.
I’m so proud you’re digging deeper to really find the root!
I want to give you the biggest hug and high 5 of all time! You are incredible, lovely lady!
Your IE journey is changing not only your life, but others too as you’re helping them to realise what they think is so right, may just be so wrong.
I’m passionate about my business – I’m so proud of myself for defying all odds and working as a successful freelance writer and social media professional at just 20 years old. I had a lot of doubters (and still do) but I prove them wrong every day ;P
It’s crazy how so often our food/eating issues actually have nothing to do at all with food. We self medicate with food without even realizing it. I’m so glad that intuitive eating is working out so well for you and that you are finding yourself in this process. 🙂
I love the honesty and transparency in this post! I honestly didn’t realize you were divorced, but I can absolutely appreciate how going through that changes your life and things can easily get out of kilter. And I am so proud of you for reaching out for help now, especially since this journey of intuitive eating has been so amazing for you! I owe you a hug when we see each other in a few week. I’m a hugger. 🙂
“It really has NOTHING to do with food!” <- SO true. It's the same for anybody struggling with food issues, I think – at least it's true for me. Food struggles are always just what's on the surface when there's so much more underneath. I'm so happy for you continuing to work with Jamie embarking on a journey to find yourself.
You're such an amazing person and your honesty, strenght and positivity are inspiring!
Regarding what brings me joy I used to wait for the big things to happen. These days, though, I get joy from smallest things: Sunshine, a walk with a friend, seeing somebody laugh (or laughing myself). There's so much joy all around.
“There’s so much joy all around.” <- So completely true!! I love seeing how much your perspective has changed over the last few months, MP! I am SO proud of you and the changes you have made and the challenges you've taken on...YOU are an inspiration to me to keep going! xoxo
It is great you learned this earlier in life! At 55, I still have lots of learning yet… I really hope this helps you feel wonderful about YOU! 🙂
Thx for sharing too cause you are helping many by doing that!
Great job, Heather–you sound like a really strong woman who’s got her priorities right.
My passion is cooking for my family, so I’m glad I started my blog last year because I’m having a lot of fun with it.
Best of luck.
I HAD NO IDEA!!!!! But yes, heather, you are finding the TRUE YOU! Digging deeper, allowing INTUITIVE self LOVE. I love love it! and YOU!
It takes a lot of bravery to put that all out there and reach out for help. Life definitely isn’t all rainbows and unicorns and good for you for acknowledging that while still being able to enjoy it (and your unicorn entrail-ed fro-yo). So much love for you!
And I clearly can’t spell my own blog name. Nice.
Your honesty just shines through, and I can 100% guarantee this post has helped and opened so many woman’s eyes! You are beautiful, and the fact that you are in a happier place just warms my heart!
This is SO exciting! What an awesome realization, and reflection upon what’s been going on and what’s changing. Way to keep the positive momentum going–I bet the next three months will be amazing as you continue your journey. 🙂
Huuuuuge strides in living your bliss girl! You deserve this time to focus all your attention and efforts on you. I’m always here to chat. xoxo
Oh Heather, this made my heart ache for you – I love your transparency and willingness to be open with your struggles & journey. It helps give others the courage to evaluate their own lives & figure out whats not working/serving them.
I’m happy that you are going to just be Heather because Heather is awesome!
SO PROUD OF YOU GIRL! I have been seeing a therapist for a few months now and it’s fantastic. Definitely making some necessary, sometimes harsh, realizations but all part of moving forward
I seriously admire you for posting this – which just goes to show how far you have truly come in your journey, able to open up and be so comfortable with it! You’re so right that it’s hardly about the food, and I too lost myself in blogging about a year or so ago. I went through a seriously low point in my life, and definitely covered it up with my addiction to food. And I still can’t say that I’m completely over it, but hearing your story has already helped me realize so many things about myself. So once again, thank you for sharing.
I’m off to go find my passion 😉
Thank you Rachel! Jamie pointed out the same thing to me when we had our phone call last week! It hadn’t even occurred to me until then how easy it has become for me to open up on the blog now. I think I’m finally getting to a point where I can recognize some of my feelings…and at least acknowledge my frustrations with the ones I can’t quite grasp (that’s where I’m hoping Jamie will come in). I know this is going to take time to figure out, but I just glad that I was able to take the plunge and sign up for counseling before I chickened out of it. I’m just so tired of having so many other factors run my life! It’s time we BOTH took control and discover true JOY! We can do it!
I’m so happy to hear you are in a much better place now and good on you for opening up in this way and sharing something more about yourself. As I’ve said to you multiple, multiple times you have so inspired me on your IE journey to look at myself and my relationship with food.
I freaking love you! I love how you poured you heart out here. You are so right.. there is so much more things to eating other than the food. It is such an emotional thing. I’m so glad that you are finding yourself. You are an amazingly beautiful girl inside and out! And… I love that dress! HOT!
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Wow, thank you for sharing, Heather! I am so glad you are in a better place now. Although it might be tough sometimes, you are strong!!! <3
Um, how the hell did I miss this post?! Sorry snuggle bunny…I’m thrilled you are working to uncover your demons and finding such peace along the way. You deserve it.
I saw a psychologist for about a year, and it was tremendous. I learned an awful lot about myself, including how to be happy. It’s hard making that initial decision, probably even harder than the work you’re going to do in therapy, so huge pat on the back for you for realizing it and going for it. I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t benefit from doing something like this. You are an inspiration, my dear.
wow sis! i am truly so proud of you for opening up so much throughout this post! it’s so inspiring! a huge applause to you my love! i know furthering your education with IE through personal services with Jamie will only provide you with good <3 i am still so blessed to be on this journey with you xoxo
I just want to give you a big hug!! <3 So happy you're getting better and better every day!!
I am SO proud of you. I started seeing a counselor last fall, and it totally helped me figure out that I needed to take my life and push it into a new direction. There are SO many more things I want to work on, and I wish I had more free sessions from our school system in order to keep meeting with her. Once I move, I’m going to look for someone new to meet with, because it really does help to have someone challenge you, confirm what your feeling, and just listen without bias. [Plus, my mom gets exhausted by me sometimes. ;)]
Aww, thank you girlie! I definitely feel like I’m putting myself out there and I feel a little vulnerable, but I’m hoping by doing this and by having someone challenge me, I’ll finally be able to crack into some of those things I just feel “nothing” about and figure out what I really love and have a passion for…besides food! 😉