Dietitian's Healing Journey with Intuitive Eating: Mind-Body Transformation
Welcome to Mind-Body Transformations!
This is a new series I'm starting once or twice a month on Fridays. Look forward to hearing inspirational stories about how taking a holistic point of view can lead to healing your mind AND body.
I'm super excited about our first story because it's a fellow RD! Even dietitians struggle with their relationship with food. It's incredible to work with people struggling and connect, knowing you've been there too.
My name is Bri and I am a Registered Dietitian and Wellness Coordinator.
I have a huge passion for nutrition, fitness, and overall wellness. My passion for wellness has grown a tremendous amount over the years and continues to grow.
However, I had years of struggling too.
I am sharing my journey with you in hopes that if you ever find yourself struggling in your own way, you know that you are not alone and that you CAN and WILL get through it. I have not always been open to sharing this story, but overcoming my struggles has led me to be resilient, confident, and ready to share...
When I went off to college, I fell in love with eating healthy and exercising. I was always active as a kid, but literally found myself loving the gym in college. It became a huge stress reliever and helped me study for tests (yes, I was that girl reading on an elliptical).
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I developed an eating disorder. I would eat super healthy for weeks and then be around a plateful of cookies and literally eat most, if not all, of them. I would feel bad and then go for a 2 mile run. It was an ugly cycle! But, I didn’t have the awareness. I just brushed it off. I thought it was normal. Other girls my age (two specifically) did similar things and even others regularly body bashed themselves. I was on the dance team in college so eating disorders were not a rarity.
I didn’t binge and run all the time. In fact, it seemed to happen once every two weeks or so. It’d sometimes even be a month in between binges. I read somewhere that a "classified" eating disorder happened several days a week so I didn’t think I had one.
I graduated college, went to work for an oil company for two years, and then went back to school to become a dietitian.
However, I felt pressure to get this “eating issue” under control (I still wasn’t ready to call it an eating disorder).
If I were to help people eat better, I needed to get this under control or I wouldn’t be taken seriously as a dietitian. But what happened when I went back to school was the opposite. I became a dieter with lower self esteem than I knew what to do with. I was strictly doing P90X, counting my calories, and thinking that life would be better if I were 10 lbs lighter. Boy was I wrong!
I was trying so hard to be perfect, but yet I would binge every so often. Every so often started becoming more often and I got scared. The fear would cause me to binge again. The binge would cause me to hate myself for a moment until my real self would have a breakthrough and talk positively again. I knew I was in a cycle that was unhealthy for me mentally and physically.
I hit my rock-bottom and officially declared being done with the negative self talk and the nutrition perfectionism.
I read Intuitive Eating and met with a Registered Dietitian and Intuitive Eating Counselor. She was a Godsend! She helped me find my true self again. You see, I knew it was in me all along, but somewhere along the way I lost sight of it.
Becoming more mindful allowed me to see that my eating habits were a symptom of something deeper going on inside me.
I yearned to be that person that could live with cookies and cake inside the house, but not feel threatened by them or guilt-ridden to have them even remotely close to me. I yearned to be that person that didn’t think about food nonstop while at Thanksgiving dinner and instead focus on friends and family. I yearned to be an intuitive eater and eat the way I used to as a child. To listen to my body and not follow strict dieting rules. And finally, I had realized that this was way more important to me than a number on the scale or the amount of fruits and vegetables I had to get in per day to meet the dietary guidelines.
I changed my way of thinking and jumped on the intuitive eating journey.
The most important step for me was rejecting the diet mentality. Sure I still have down days, but mostly I am at a place where I feel confident, strong, resilient, beautiful, mindful, and positive. (yes!!!! -Lauren)
I don’t let the scale dictate my mood (in fact, I rarely jump on the scale AND my clothes fit better than they ever have). I buy anything that I want at the grocery store and have no feelings of guilt. When I bring that food home, I don’t worry about it constantly or fear that I am going to overeat it.
I trust my body.
I follow my hunger and fullness cues. I deal with my emotions without using food and I practice positive self talk daily. I don’t follow strict exercise guidelines, but instead stay active with activities I truly love and enjoy like dance, pure barre, yoga, etc. I enjoy the moment and consider myself happy. I understand that when I feel tempted to overeat, my body is signaling a stressor in my life and it is my duty to check in with myself and see what is going on. If I still overeat after checking in, I am okay and move on. I use it as an experience and grow from it.
I can successfully say that I no longer binge, but I do have to release my tendency to turn to nutrition perfectionism in order to prevent binges or overeating. I use this knowledge to help others in any way that I can.
So good! I've re-read these last few inspirational paragraphs a TON. Go send some love Bri's way here:
Blog: Simple Delights