I’ve struggled with food and body image my entire life, and it sucks. Diet pills, starving myself (though that never lasted long), and binging are all familiar to me.
I was constantly comparing myself to other (thinner) women. I had hips, thighs, and a generous tush at 13 years old, and desperately wanted the slender boyish frames all the models were rocking. I wanted to be able to wear anything, not think twice about my body, and feel awesome every day.
But it never quite worked that way.
As a natural redhead I’m a little bit of a rebel, and if my brother was having Stouffer’s mac and cheese as an after-school snack, I thought it was a great idea for me too. Even if I didn’t actually feel like it, I would compulsively have some.
I would check out what everyone else was eating and think I should be able to have the exact same thing.
If that naturally thin girl (who was also annoyingly good at math) was scarfing down two grilled cheeses for lunch every day, I thought I could do it too. But I was overweight and unhappy.
My dad was a chronic overeater and we were partners in crime. He would take me out for giant soft pretzels regularly and always polish off my dinner leftovers.
He passed away when I was 17.
As I went through my own health transformation, I realized I was overeating as a way to connect with my dad and rebel against my own body. He was handsome, energetic, and dynamic, and I figured if he could eat his way through life, loving every bite, I could do it too.
The truth? His passion for food won over his health.
My mom, on the other hand, has weighed 108 pounds her whole life and is one of the only women I know who can take a bite of a cookie and leave the rest on the plate. Between my brother, mom and dad, you can see how different we all were (and how confusing that was for me as a young one).
I didn’t realize that no two bodies are the same, and every person needs different foods to feel their best and thrive.
At age 13, I hopped on the diet roller coaster and tried to copy all the girls at school who were “successful anorexics.” I never “succeeded” because I loved food too much. So I would over exercise, try not to eat much during the day, then eat way too much at night.
By my early 20s, I had neatly categorized every food as “good” or “bad.” I was only nice to myself when I was eating “perfectly,” and felt like a total failure when I “fell off the wagon.” When I ate less processed crap I’d lose a few pounds, then I’d eventually binge after a night of drinking, wake up, slog to the office, and do the same thing the next night.
So how did I get off this roller coaster, reach my ideal weight, and gain natural energy so I could keep up with my desire to travel and have fun? I broke up with guilt and shame, and started truly loving my body instead of judging it.
It started when I enrolled at the world’s largest nutrition school, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and graduated as a Certified Health Coach. I re-learned the art of eating, and specifically, the exact foods that were right for my unique body. I never looked back. Today, I’m grateful to be living my own definition of a brilliant life, and it started when I accepted all the parts of the woman I am, and how I need to eat and live to feel my best.
My old dad patterns dissolved when I realized that telling a juicy story and making my friends roll with laughter is my connection to my father, not eating two giant muffins. When I cook for my husband and he groans and tells me it’s the best thing he’s ever eaten, that’s my connection to my beloved dad. When I think about him, it’s clear that laughter and love is what we were really sharing. It was just translated through food a little too often.
I’m still a rebel, but I no longer rebel against myself by feeding my body crap. And I no longer try to copy what other people are eating, expecting it to work for me. Not even my brother or mom, my closest friends, or my wellness colleagues.
Do I still have days where I overeat? Yup. But that’s not what this is about. This is about realizing that life is messy and you’re not gonna eat perfectly all the time. But you do have the choice to create a strong baseline and make good choices most of the time so you can feel sane and have fun all the time. Even if you do choose that double ice cream cone after a long ass day.
People are always shocked to see me eating cake at a special event. What they might not realize is that you do NOT have to deprive yourself to have the body and life you want. My diet is mostly made up of delicious and exciting vegetables, fish, and foodgasm-inducing specialties like naturally fermented beets. Through self-experimentation, I know these foods will make me feel great in my body, energized, and mentally focused every single day.
I’m doing work that I love down to my bones, and I no longer obsess about food. I feel content.
The best part? Now I get to guide other people struggling with their own weight challenges and mental patterns to become their healthiest selves. This work is transformative, and I’m humbled to share it with so many people. I’ve been in practice as a Certified Health Coach and member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP) for nearly six years, and have helped thousands of women become their healthiest selves through personalized food and lifestyle tools that actually work.
With me, you’ll learn how to: