The story of my journey and relationship to food begins from the day I was conceived.
Before me my mother had to give up her daughter and son to new families because she was young and unsupported. Her economic situation was dire, she had to live frugally therefore, she existed mostly on toast. She also told me that she smoked up to 100 cigarettes a day. I remember, as a child, her having several cigarettes burning in various ash trays in different rooms. Her health was consequently poor and she lost all her teeth and had dentures in her early twenties. She told me that it was my fault that this happened whilst growing up. I was breast fed on a four hourly schedule and left down the bottom of the garden under a tree in between feeds. Mum had frequent ill health and migraines, lasting for days, and couldn’t cope with my crying.
For most of my formative years, I suffered with all consuming guilt, although I was not emotionally literate enough to know that this was the emotion I was feeling. All I knew was confusion and feeling bad most of the time. Food always made me feel better. My parents had severe mental health problems requiring electro-convulsive therapy and prescribed medication. I started to use chocolate and sugar sandwiches to self soothe. In retrospect I learned that I had a long list of self-deprecating beliefs about myself such as; I am worthless, bad, selfish, stupid, ugly, a phony, unlovable etc etc.
Until senior school, my body shape remained slim and petite and I enjoyed gymnastics. My father, mother, brother and I moved to a new location, into a new home above and behind a newsagents, toy and sweet shop. My parents were consumed with new responsibilities for the business so my brother and I would amuse ourselves and take care of our own physical and emotional needs including stealing sweets from the shop. Both parents had continued to have mental health challenges and would use alcohol, cigarettes and prescribed medication to alleviate pressure from long hours of work. My mother was seeing other men which devastated my father. I failed at helping him to feel better. My weight was increasing which intensified my body dysmorphia. I wrote down up to 200 things I considered was wrong with me.
Since I had assumed responsibility for trying to make my family happy and well, it was a natural next step to enroll onto State Registered Nurse Training programme.
FREEDOM from craziness and a whole new venture. A chance to stop being a Good Girl, when off duty, I started eating hospital food for free. A pudding with every meal with my favourite, chocolate sponge with chocolate custard and ice cream. Sometimes I added rice pudding and syrup too. We loved ‘Take Aways’ . Food addiction was part of me, along with smoking, although I would never had thought of myself in that way.
Having boyfriends helped me try to gain some self control. Although nearly all dates featured around eating out and having a sense of being loved and nurtured. I married at age 23 and realised that my husband needed to eat more than me. I couldn’t bear to think of him having more than me so I ate to match him. We also ate out 4-5 times a week. I loved having food served up for me. When pregnant with my daughter, I certainly ate for 2 and it was not healthy. I was at my heaviest after her birth and the weight did not shift. However, on discovering my husband’s third affair I divorced him and lost 3 1/2 stone very quickly, even though I was voraciously hungry. Acute anxiety and fear consumed me.
Being a single parent felt very lonely so yet again, the sugary, fatty, salty food-like products were highly important to me. Especially since my work as a Health Visitor was stressful. Weight crept back on then I lost weight with Weight Watchers. It was sadly lacking in addressing the emotional aspects of my compulsion. I then entered a new compulsion for finding the right diet. The F Plan, Rosemary Connelly, The Cambridge diet, The Zone Diet, Slimming World, Low Fat High Carb for quite some time. + Many more diets and book shelves were groaning!
Then, 2010 I felt awful and I wanted to die. Sore joints, sore muscles, arthritis everywhere, weakness which felt like MS symptoms. I felt too weak to walk down stairs. I had overwhelming tiredness even though I was sleeping a lot, migraines, eczema, brain fog, irritability, depression, over weight with horrible cellulite, dark circles under eyes, rapid aging, spinal degeneration, repositioning of calcium in breasts which were very sore. Dry frizzy hair, thinning brittle nails and teeth transparent at the tips. I was a mess and couldn’t see any point to my life.
I went to see a microscopist, on a friend’s recommendation, to have my blood analyzed. WOW. I could see this amazing world at a microscopic level and could see why I was so sick, tired and in great pain. I was given a plan on how to start a journey into clean plant based eating. Within a few days I felt a rush of energy, a reduction in symptoms and more positive mood. I decided then that I could not go back. Gradually, I learned more and implemented supportive strategies to maintain my continuing good health and reduction of the previous debilitating symptoms.
I have read many books and attended courses to enhance this development into living vibrantly. The next most significant change was when I embarked on Drew Canole’s FitLife.tv 90 Transformational coaching programme. I experienced even more health benefits including improved sleep and energy, improved mood, a great reduction in hunger and cravings and hormonal control. The 10 year menopausal sweats rapidly declined. Food choices, enhanced fitness and positive mindset really can make a huge difference to how we feel physically, mentally, emotional, socially and spiritually. Also, my saggy eyelids have lifted, I am aging backwards.
This journey to wellness, although fabulous in so many ways, sometimes distanced me from others. I had no one near by who understood what I was going for. My Health Visitor colleagues thought I was very odd when seeing me drinking my green juice, so for a while I drank it out of sight. Even now, I sometimes am quizzed on my dietary choices but I am less sensitive to negative comments. Now I have more people around me who are in alignment and understand the huge benefits from clean eating.
My Body weight remains stable at around 9 stone and I enjoy ballet, ballroom/ Latin dancing, yoga, swimming, walking, occasional zumba and I love being in my kitchen preparing beautiful, healthful food. I am still addicted to the associations with high fat, sugar, fat foods but to a much lower intensity. I see a sea of doughnuts and pastries as disgusting. Even toasted tea cake, Twix, Kit Kat and twirl no longer tempt me. My taste buds are transforming and my body has a much higher degree of intuition, knowing just by seeing, what is life giving and what is disease provoking. I have found a healthier way with myself and food and have a very supportive tribe around me.
Now my life is full, varied, fun and I am truly grateful for my awareness, my body’s wisdom and the love and support I now give myself and all that I receive in abundance from others.