Cutting the final cords to heal.
Where do I begin? A lot has happened since I last shared an update. First, I’m engaged! My boyfriend (now fiancee) and I got engaged on a cruise to Bermuda for my birthday. We both love the ocean and we first met on a cruise, so it was perfect that he proposed while we were swimming one day in Bermuda. We haven’t set a wedding date just yet, but we may get married on a cruise too so that we can exchange vows on the beach in the Caribbean.
I had my 3-month follow up MRI after the UFE surgery and the fibroid has almost completely dissolved. The doc said my recovery was amazingly fast. So now we are cleared to try for a baby. ;-)
I’m almost 8 months into recovery now and I feel like I am doing pretty good. I had to stop working out though because I felt that it was hindering me more than helping. My feet and joints were so sore and I was feeling more exhausted by it than energized. I also think there was a part of me that was still a little bit attached to exercise being a part of my identity and hoping that it would help minimize the “negative” effects like weight gain and muscle loss.
Here’s the thing. I don’t want to forever believe that I need to exercise regularly in order to maintain my body size/weight. I don’t want to even connect exercise with body size/weight. I only want to exercise when I know for sure that I’m doing it to enhance my health, NOT achieve/maintain a specific look/weight. I know how backward that may sound, because we are so often taught that we SHOULD exercise for these things, but for me, this way of looking at exercise isn’t healthy.
I don’t want to be attached to “maintaining” my weight/body size. I honestly don't want to even know or care about my weight but every time I go to the doctor I somehow see it. I have to figure out how to get them to take me seriously when I tell them I don't want to see my weight.
In order for me to trust my body completely, I have to let go of trying to control it. I mentioned in my last update that I wasn’t sure when I started falling back into this mindset of needing to control my body through restriction and over-exercising. Little by little I’m getting answers.
I really believe that being a health coach with an online business (where I needed to market myself on social media, in the pool with so many others) was a big part of it. Even though I taught women how to love themselves unconditionally and allow their body to guide them, I let the messaging I got as an online entrepreneur about what I needed to be/do to “sell” myself seep in and fool me into believing I had to be what “they” said I should be. I gave my power to coaches and gurus and, because I wanted to be successful and “have an impact” I let their guidance steer me away from what I know to be true.
I haven’t been posting on social media lately but I still use Instagram to follow people that have a positive impact on me and/or are educating me on things I care about (like pregnancy and all the things to know about newborns). I went through and unfollowed all of the accounts that triggered me or caused me to not feel great when I look at or read their posts.
THAT SAID... every once in a while I will look at an account that triggers me… just to see, lol. KNOWING that it doesn't make me feel good, but what the heck, I’m human and sometimes my humanness overtakes what I know is good for me. And even though it makes me feel icky when I look at their posts, it is also clarifying.
I never want to be someone that posts smiling (posed, manipulated) photos of myself with captions boasting to know the keys to happiness, success, or self-love. I know that people who post these things are most often well meaning and genuinely do want to help, but I think these types of messages have become more of the problem than the solution to the stuff they claim to help with.
We all think we should be something we are not. And I’m beginning to think that the social media accounts that are preaching the loudest and have the most perfect looking photos and captions, are actually the ones that deep down, are struggling just as much as anybody else.
I wish that instead of posting these pictures of perceived perfection, we could all just stop pretending to be all shiny and like we have the perfect life/body/business (because we think that’s what we need to be in order to get people to listen to us) and talk about what is really going on behind the scenes that we’re afraid to share. There’s this whole coaching industry built on the platform of Brene Brown’s message of releasing shame and removing masks, but from what I have seen behind the scenes, a lot of influencers and coaches remove a mask, only to be wearing another one behind it.
All of this said to make the point that I got swooped up in all of that, spent thousands of dollars on coaching to better myself and my business, and honestly I think it just got me more mixed up and misguided than it helped. I wanted to be a successful women’s health coach so that I could help women learn to listen to their own inner voice above all else, but instead, I lost my connection to my own in the process. You would never had know it (and I didn’t even know it until my body finally decided it had had enough), but it’s the truth. I’m sad that I let that happen. But I’m also grateful that I realized it. I can do better. I can practice what I preach. But I think I need to cut some of the final cords holding me to this idea that I need to perform/share in order to do my duty as a woman who wants to help.
I need to give myself permission to NOT show up and talk about all of this real time. I know I said at the beginning of my recovery that I would, but what’s best for me right now is to let go of the need to show up and share. I have been cocooning this year quite a bit, but there’s still a part of me that puts pressure on myself to tell you what’s going on. And I feel a responsibility to my former clients to tell them what is going on because I want to take care of them, protect them, and make sure they understand that I am still here for them if they need me.
But I think that in order to let go of this whole “being what I think I need to be” thing, I have to let go of that responsibility. What’s ironic is that THEY are not putting this pressure on me, I AM! Somewhere I learned that I need to be responsible for everything. I went to see my hairstylist this week and she was telling me about how everybody else tries to learn compassion and how to be more generous and she is the opposite because she needs to learn to say "no" more and to be more selfish.
I can relate!! And as someone who cares A LOT, that makes me feel guilty to say, even though (again) this is exactly what I taught. It feels terrible to be responsible for everybody and everything around you, as if it’s your job to make sure everyone is happy. Last year, I had a bunch of different situations with clients and even an employee where they were upset with me and I took the weight of that on, even if I tried to help them take responsibility for themselves. It’s a heavy weight to carry everyone else’s emotions, isn’t it?
It's fitting that my body started gaining weight. And then I jumped into high-gear, trying to control the weight instead of dealing with the emotional undercurrent. I did that until my body put its foot down and said hey, it’s time to stop doing this. And I got sick, and had to hit the pause button on life in general because I literally didn’t have the energy to continue. And that’s when I realized that my need for control had taken over. And then that’s when I started recovery, and gaining weight, and cocooning, which is exactly what my body was trying to get me to do all along. Rest and isolate myself from taking responsibility for everything. I’m doing that, but I know that there’s still more work to be done.
Some days I feel a bit crazy, but other days I feel free because I’m finally NOT trapped by this feeling of mounting anxiety to be/look perfect.
So, to make a long story short, I’m going to stop these updates. I don’t know what the future holds, and if/when I will share again. A part of me even wants to take down my website/self-study programs until I eventually have the energy to go through them and remove anything that would contribute to this obsession with controlling our body and the way we look. I don’t even want to mention weight loss anymore because the truth is, as long as you are focused on weight loss, you’re gonna struggle with weight loss.
I used to think that obesity was something for us as a society to be concerned with. Now I think obesity is not the issue, it’s society’s fear of getting fat that is contributing to the increase in obesity more than anything. Again, now that I know what I know, I don’t understand how people can teach about health and self-love when they are subjecting themselves to restriction and grueling workouts every single day, boasting about how they even workout on vacation because that’s what it takes. See, I’m triggered, lol, because on some level I have done this too.
If you are reading this, I hope that me sharing all of this has been helpful to you so far. I hope that it has helped you to open your eyes to some of the misguidance and manipulation, even if the person saying it is well intentioned.
If there is one thing that I’ve said from day one of being vocal online it’s this: above all else, listen to your intuition. I think I’ve known for a while that I needed to take a step back and stop trying to be so perfect with my body and health, but I didn’t let myself, 1) because I didn’t want to “fail”… I’ve always been an overachiever and anything less than an A is just not acceptable, and 2) I was afraid of what I would need to do in order to finally heal. I was afraid of losing this perceived ideal I had become so attached to.
Well, I’m finally doing it. It’s very uncomfortable to gain weight when your whole identity has been built around your looks (and when you have body-dysmorphia and think you are much bigger than you are). I said this in a previous post, I don’t care how much anybody else that I care about weighs, but for some reason I believe that how much I weigh or how much cellulite I have matters to everybody else.
I’m finally letting go of all of the rules and the fears around being judged or some people (especially the people that I care about) not understanding my reasons/intentions. I am having faith in the recovery process, even though on the surface (to people that don’t understand the science behind it) it doesn’t make any sense. I am loving myself as I am and rediscovering who I am beyond this identity that I had placed on myself.
THIS is the lesson I am on this earth to learn. Knowing (like REALLY knowing) my enough-ness. This is a gift that no amount of perfection could ever teach me. I've never been one to fit the mold and I suppose this is just another way that I am expanding beyond the norm to discover my true self.
Closing Chapter: For Now
Recovery: Coming Out of the Fog
Eating Disorder Recovery: 2 Months
Eating Disorder Recovery: 1 Month
Eating Disorder Relapse and Diet Recovery
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