Elements For A Healthier Life Magazine Issue 04 | August 2016 - Page 18

putting her on diets. She did not trust herself. She felt that if she was left on her own, she would devour the world. When she started understanding that the feeling of emptiness she was trying to feed had nothing to do with food and everything to do with what was missing from her life, she learned how to take steps to address that. One of the things she longed for was to learn to trust herself and view herself

as a woman of integrity. We did that by setting up very tiny promises that were easy for her to keep and by celebrating them in the group. Shelley started focusing on what she could do instead on what she could not yet do. She would set herself weekly goals like buying and cooking broccoli, doing breathing exercises for one minute and writing one thing she likes about herself in her healing journal. As the weeks went by she started seeing herself as someone

who is able to make a promise to herself and keep it. Her weekly goals slowly increased and she was able to accomplish more.

~ Take back control of her life.

When Shelley was a child her mother would constantly criticize her size, her eating and would put her on extreme diets. She continued that pattern with her family and trained them to control her

food access. Her husband did the food shopping. Her children looked at what she was eating. They would lock up “forbidden foods”. They would limit her access to the fridge by locking it up. Shelley was treated like a naughty child that needed to be constantly supervised. That would trigger patterns of rebellion and she would binge on sweets and snacks in secret. It took Shelley a long time to change the dynamic of her family. Their behavior was based on concern for her health but it was actually making the problem worse. Her children were terrified of losing their mother to obesity related illness. Shelley was terrified of being out of control around food. They were caught in a cycle that was hard to break. Shelley needed to start taking control of smaller things in her life. With the recipes we shared in the group she started planning some healthy family meals. Her family starting shopping for food together. She brought her daughter to our women’s group to see the work she had been doing. Her family started shifting the focus from 'mom has to be on a diet' to 'the whole family is eating healthier'. They agreed to stop locking up food and to not bring home “junk food” that was a trigger for Shelley. When Shelley had slip ups and binges she was able to talk about them in the group openly, forgive herself for not being perfect, and continue to

take charge of her own health.

~ Be healthy now.

Shelley, like many women, lived in a world of “one day, when I’m thin, I will ___” fill in the blank. It’s a fantasy that when you lose the weight and are thin enough, that your life can begin, you can do all the things you dreamed of and finally be happy. Shelley had to give up the fantasy of being thin. Instead she needed to embrace the possibility of being healthy. Being healthy is a process, it’s about the choices we make, it’s about building health one brick at a time. Shelley had to look at what being healthy meant TO HER and not what was presented to her as the cultural ideal of health. She started realizing that for her, being healthy, meant things like: walking around the block, sleeping better, or eating an extra vegetable with every meal. She was very excited to learn that the skin replaces itself every 35 days, the liver every six weeks, the stomach lining every four days, etc. The

When she started understanding that the feeling of emptiness she was trying to feed had nothing to do with food and everything to do with what was missing from her life, she learned how to take steps to address that.