What I want to share with you today is something I’ve learned throughout my journey: being thin is not the answer to your happiness.
When I was 14, I went on my first diet. That diet lasted about 6 years, and brought me huge amounts of suffering. I counted calories religiously, and wasn’t sure who I was outside of “being thin.” I had truly lost my sense of identity, and often looked for it in all of the wrong places: relationships, and attention. I always felt like I had a deep whole at the center of my heart, and could never quite figure out how to fill it.
Before I lost weight, I was happy. I didn’t get as much attention, I wasn’t as popular, but I was fine with myself — I laughed, I had fun, I smiled, I did normal girl things, I had friends, I loved my family, I was happy. I knew who I was. It wasn’t until I lost the weight (30 pounds in under 3 months), that I began to totally confuse who I was, and who I was meant to be. All of the sudden I became the girl with the “Best Physique” at my high school (literally, I won that Senior Award — you can imagine the pressure I felt to stay thin under that label). I became the girl that others criticized, and maybe even envied for losing weight so fast. People wanted to know how I did it, and how they could, too.
People wanted what I had. I’d never had that sort of attention before. This attention made me want it more and more… and even worse, made me wonder what the heck I’d do without it, without being thin. I truly believed if I ever gained weight, people wouldn’t like me anymore. I believed they wouldn’t trust me. I believed they wouldn’t look up to me. I was so wrapped up in this false identity, when in the beginning, I thought being thin was what would bring me joy.
My real joy and freedom didn’t come until 2010, when I released myself from dieting. I found my spirituality, and that deep whole at the center of my heart was filled for the first time. I found true, lasting joy. The best part about it? I was joyful regardless of my body. Yes, it took work to not care so deeply about my looks, but that work was well worth it. I went to a female counselor at my church who was able to help me with the simplest of steps. It was the inner doing that took the most work. I had to really learn how I was identified by someone higher.
Fast forward one year later, I was seeing a naturopath, who helped me to listen to my body and my own body’s needs. He helped me reset my tastebuds, and develop a love for whole, nourishing, real foods. He helped me let go of everything non-fat, low-fat, artificial, and highly processed. Sure, I still have some junk here and there, but it doesn’t have power over me like it used to. I’m fully free.
Fast forward two years later… in 2013, I started my own holistic health coaching practice that has grown faster than I could’ve ever imagined. I’m so thrilled to say that I now get to help women feel free from the million-pound-weight of dieting. FREE.
I say all this to share with you, that it’s really not all about being thin. I went into my first diet thinking I’d be happier once I was thin, but that was so far from the truth. Some people may have thought I looked prettier, but as far as my happiness, and my inner joy? Being thin didn’t do it for me. It dug me a hole that took six years to get out of. My true joy didn’t come until I fully accepted that I was made right a long, long time ago. My true joy came when I realized that I could live fully right now with one simple decision to do so.
I’m now happier and healthier than ever before. I’m at my body’s natural weight, which I’m able to easily maintain without a ton of effort. I enjoy eating healthy foods, because they truly hit the spot for me. They taste good, they’re full of color, and they leave my body energized and not drug down. I exercise because I love how it makes me feel, and I love making my body stronger.
Today, I am proud to say that I honor my body, and I am able to give it what it needs. I’m able to wake up in the morning feeling glad to be in my own skin. I have fun with food, I eat things that taste delicious, and I am totally okay with having treats here and there — I make sure to eat them in a way that feels mindful and honoring to my body.
I so encourage you today, whether you’re underweight, overweight, or at your natural weight desiring to be super thin, to realize that being thin is not what makes you happy. Your joy comes from a place so much deeper. A place that you can uncover, by slowing down each day, taking some time to yourself, and beginning a journey of gratitude and mindfulness. A joy that comes from learning to honor yourself better with all of your choices. There is so much more joy in that journey — plus, your natural weight is there to be found, also!
Don’t settle for dieting.
You can read more of my story here.