During my teens and 20s I struggled with emotional and dysfunctional eating, and by the time I was in my mid-20s, this developed in to bulimia. After working with a psychologist and doing a complete overhaul of my physical, mental and emotional health, I was able to heal from this. Below are my big 3 lessons from this journey.
1. Even the best intentions can lead to mistakes…and that’s okay!
My eating disorder started from a really good place. I was determined to get my health on track by losing some weight. I was really committed to my goal, and with that determination, I saw great results. Results that were so good, they were addictive. I was receiving lots of compliments, I had a new wardrobe of beautiful clothes and was finally enjoying physical activity for the first time in my life.
But somewhere along the lines, my values and priorities changed. I was willing to sacrifice all other areas of my life in order to achieve that goal. Every time I got close to achieving it, I decided to move the goal posts further away. Just another kg, just another gym class etc etc. The trouble with living my life in this way was that, I thought it was a really good thing. I couldn’t see where things were becoming out of balance or slowly unraveling.
It wasn’t until things completely fell over that I realised that my best intentions were not actually the best thing for me. We can start out on the right foot, but lose sight of the bigger picture. Remember that you can change course and realign when you need to.
2. Mistakes are an essential part of the journey.
When we adjust our course, it doesn’t have to be a complete 180 turn around. There is much value in the past, even if we were out of whack at the time.
When we face challenges in life, we can try to be optimistic and see the silver lining. And that’s great, but it doesn’t always work right? Sometimes when these challenges are really tough, it can feel almost fake or unrealistic to try to find a positive in it.
But what I found in my experience is that a profound gratitude for each and every life experience can lead to greater healing, and within that, greater strength.
What if you were truly to believe that every “negative” experience in life is actually essential, non-negotiable and unavoidable?
In 2014, I took a course on Living Intuitively by The Little Sage which changed my perspective on this type of thing quite significantly. From their perspective, you (your soul) sign up for life lessons before you incarnate, and you choose family you will be born into as they will support you to learn those lessons. Therefore, the lessons are our fate, but how we learn them is our free will.
By changing our perspective on our challenges, we can chose to see them as essentials for our learning and growth in this lifetime. From that perspective, I believe that the challenge of my eating disorder, and the consequences on my physical and emotional health, were actually essential for me to re-evaluate my values and vision for my life. I had to learn how to heal. It lead me where I am today, here, talking (typing) to you.
3. It’s so important, well I would go as far as to say CRUCIAL, to feel your emotions.
For me, the obsession with meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, counting calories and exercising (to extreme) became one great big distraction from how I actually felt about myself. A deep food obsession prevented me from feeling and expressing sadness, anxiety, stress, shame, anger and resentment of myself. When I got a tiny whiff of a negative emotion, I turned to cooking, exercising, or stuffing my face silly before quickly “rectifying” the damage as if it had never happened.
This topic is a big one, so I’ve broken it into an article series that will be featured here on my blog during May. Keep your eyes peeled for more!
If you liked this article, you may be interested in My Challenges with Self-Esteem.
If you are suffering with an eating disorder, please take the gigantic step to seek professional help. I worked closely with a psychologist to assist with my healing journey. For further information, visit The Butterfly Foundation.