Why my body doesn’t trust me and why I am ok with it.

My relationship with my body hasImage never been an easy one.

Quite frankly, I have spent most of my life hating it , feeling ashamed and disgusted by it, constantly criticizing it and seeing it as the enemy that was ruining my life.

For the past three years, I have been focused on learning to love and accept my body just as it is right now, and a large part of that process has been about rebuilding trust in my body.

Learning to trust that it will tell me what it needs to eat when it is hungry and that when I work with it, it will let me know when I have had enough.

Learning to listen when my body says it needs rest or exercise and what foods makes it feel better and which foods it wants to let go.

Learning to release my binge eating disorder and have a normal, healthy and guilt free relationship with food.

As part of this process, what I hoped was that now that I was treating my body better and loving it and feeding it when it was hungry and moving it ways that it makes it feel good, that my body would begin to let go of some weight.

But it hasn’t.

In fact, I may even have gained some.

I don’t weigh myself any more as there is nothing immediate I can do in this moment about my weight except continue to aim for my best possible health by eating what my body wants when it wants it, eating mainly fruits, vegetable and home cooked simple meals and enjoying my walks.

I do believe that given enough time, my body will achieve the weight that it feels good at, as long as I continue to listen to and respect it.

However, what I have recently realized is that even though I have decided to so magnanimously trust my body after all these years, that my body actually has no reason to trust me.

And why would it?

I have starved it with rigid diets starting from when I was 9 years old and my worried parents took me to the Doctors to see if there was something wrong with me because of the weight I was gaining.

For the next 40 plus years, I was either on a diet, off a diet or thinking about a diet, feeling fabulous if I lost weight and crushed when I didn’t, letting the number on the scales determine my self-worth and self-esteem.

I have ignored my body when it was hungry because I had already eaten my allotted calories for the day and I wasn’t allowed to have any more food.

I have pushed my body through all sorts of exercise classes and hated it when it couldn’t keep up or resented it when it got injured.

I have stuffed my body with food through binge after binge, as each strict diet resulted in an equal and opposite desire to eat everything I had been depriving myself of.

I felt virtuous and strong and worthy when I ate “good” food and guilty and weak and disgusted when I ate “bad” food.

I have used food to numb my emotions and totally ignored how my body felt about all the food I gave it to digest and process and deal with and then hated it even more when it added more fat to my frame in self-defense.

So even though I have decided to trust and honor my body, after decades of disordered eating, screwed up metabolism and years of weight loss and weigh gain, why should I even be surprised that to my body, this is probably just a lull in a series of eating and dieting wars?

After all, bodies are so easy to silence.

Bodies are so easy to ignore and objectify.

Bodies are so easy to blame for all that is not right in your world and your life and changing your weight gives you the illusion that it will fix everything that is wrong with your life.

It doesn’t. In fact, weight loss can give you new pressures and anxieties to deal with that you have never imagined you would have.

I have given my body absolutely no reason in the world to trust me.

I have betrayed my body time and time again and left it to deal with the consequences of my lack of self-love and self-worth and self-care.

So today, I am willing to accept and respect that my body has absolutely no reason to trust me and I am ok with that.

For my own happiness, for my ongoing health, for the continuing joy and relief of having a guilt free, normal relationship with food and eating, I accept that my body may never trust me. It may want or need to hold onto this weight despite all the fabulous fruits and veggies we enjoy, despite that my body no longer wants dairy or gluten and so I no longer desire it, despite walking and stretching and spending so many glorious hours not obsessed with food and weight and calories and size and all that goes with it.

My body has been under siege by me since I was a girl.

As much as I wish I could have made peace with it earlier, that I could have never gone on that first, soul destroying diet that set the pattern of my life for the next 4 decades, it’s done.

I hope one day my body will trust me but even if it never does, I promise both my body and myself to love it and me, just the way I am right now.

To continue to focus on my health and know without doubt that health and happiness is possible at any size and to make the rest of my life, the best of my life.

I trust my body and I am going to continue to listen to all the wisdom and knowledge it has without blame and without shame.

I’m going to continue to do my best to give my body my appreciation, gratitude and respect for all that it does for me.

More importantly, I’m going to ask my body to forgive me for everything I have done to it and for all the hatred and disgust I have given it over the years and see what happens.

I hope one day, it will understand that the days of diets and binging are done and we can truly have peace with each other, but that is totally up to my body to decide. Right in this moment, I am really good with that. It seems only fair after what I have put my body through.

How about you, do you trust your body and do you believe that your body trusts you?

Want to know more about my Diet Free Body Programs that focus on dissolving body shame, teaching mindful eating techniques and creating a normal, healthy and guilt free relationship with food and eating?

You can find out more at www.lovetransformslc.com

Kerry Jeffery

 

 

 

 

 

 

What if we stopped wanting to be beautiful?

ImageAll of my life, I yearned to be beautiful.

Growing up as a fat little girl, born into a family where the women are gorgeous, my favorite fairy tale was “The Ugly Duckling”.

One day I hoped I would transform, preferably overnight and sooner, rather than later into someone who was slim and beautiful and I would be the swan.

If I was beautiful, I could have everything I wanted.

I would be worthy.

I would be loveable.

I would be desirable.

I would be popular.

I would fit in at home, at school and in a society that showed me everywhere what women were supposed to look like.

Thin. Gorgeous. Beautiful.

I spent half my life pursuing beauty with the promise that the next diet would be “the one”.

During my life, I have lost a significant amount of weight at least twice. Once it got me the title of “runner up Slimmer of the Year” complete with my story in a magazine and a set of professional photos that my Mother told me “made me look like I was a model”.

I didn’t feel comfortable with my new found beauty.

People treated me differently. I was congratulated, exclaimed over and got lots of attention. Some of it was positive but much of it showed me a side of people that I really did not want to see. Much easier and safer I decided, to be fat and invisible and just have a pretty face.

My decision was perhaps, not quite as conscious as that but the attention, flattery and often sleazy behavior were so surprising and uncomfortable for an introverted soul who had spent most of her life believing that losing weight and finding beauty would be the answer to her every prayer.

I discovered that losing weight only gives you a smaller body and that it didn’t magically grant confidence, self-love and happiness ever after.

As I work with my clients now, this yearning to be beautiful and everything we attach to  what beauty represents, is at the heart of so much of our self-hatred and self-criticism.

For my older clients especially, what I hear repeated so often and with such sad regret is; “when I look back at myself as a child, as a young woman, I was NEVER as fat or as ugly as I thought I was. I wasted so many years hating myself and thinking I wasn’t good enough. I only wish I had realized then, how beautiful I was.”

Now the debate that I see playing out, partly as a rebellion against “thin is beautiful” and the “war on obesity” is “curvy is beautiful” with the battle cry “real women have curves”. In the inevitable arguments that follow that women who are not “curvy” are still real women, the goal, the object, the desire is STILL to be considered beautiful.

To be seen as beautiful.

To feel beautiful.

To be accepted no matter what size, shape or weight as being inherently beautiful.

But what if we as women stopped wanting to be beautiful?

What if it was just not on the radar anymore?

What if we were only described for who we are?

What if we said, “my daughter is so brave and strong; my sister is so kind and funny; my mother is so wise and loving and resilient, my grandmother was fearless and confident and she let nothing get in her way.”

What if we stopped chasing unattainable, ephemeral beauty and just allowed ourselves to be as we are, accept ourselves as we are?

What if our focus was on the WHOLE of who we are, the deep, wonderful depths of our souls instead of the shape of our thighs, the lines on our face, the shine of our hair, the weight of our bodies?

How much pressure would be removed? How much anxiety and shame and guilt and despair would just vanish from our lives?

What if beauty were no longer the yardstick against which all women measured their self-worth and self-esteem?

How I wonder, would the world change, would we change if who we ARE was so much more highly valued than how we look?

My definition of beauty is so much more now. Beauty to me is kindness, generosity of spirit, a loving heart, courage, wisdom, patience.

I no longer yearn to be physically beautiful because I know that defining myself in such a limited way ensures that I will never be good enough and even if I put my whole life into its pursuit, physical beauty is a fleeting, temporary thing.

My goal is beauty of the soul. Integrity. Courage. Love. Wisdom. Compassion.

To grow and stretch and be a better human being instead of a human doing everything she can to reach an impossible, marketing driven standard of photo shopped perfection.

Who would you be if you stopped wanting to be beautiful?

The Day Diets Died and what Kerry did next.

When I made the decision to stop dieting two years ago, my biggest fear was that I would just keep getting fatter and fatter.

Left free, with my appetite unchecked by portion control, calorie counting, sugar free, no added fat or forced exercise, I felt like  I could eat the world and still want more.

My life had been defined by diets since I was 9 years old. My weight was my excuse and my obsession.

It was the reason behind everything that was wrong in my life. The men who didn’t love me, the jobs I didn’t get, the good times I wasn’t out having because I didn’t want people to see my body, judge me and reject me because of how much I weighed. 

No matter what went wrong it was because I was TOO FAT.

My body and my weight was the center around which my whole life revolved. Hours spent in front of the mirror, feeling disgust, failure and shame.

Hot tears of self hatred, wanting to be different, believing with all my heart and soul that “if only I was thinner, EVERYTHING would be different.

Diets were my Holy Grail, my promise of salvation, the gateway to the land of beauty, acceptance, confidence, love and success.

My body was the enemy. It was not acceptable, not lovable and certainly not sexy!

It bulged and wobbled and drooped and weighed me down.

It was out of control.

It was the bane of my existence and the reason people told me that it was such a shame as I had such a pretty face.

Twice in my life I have lost a significant amount of weight in the proximity of 55 or 60 lbs (25 – 27 kilos). The first time I lost the weight,  I still remember the high of seeing that magic number on the scale, the thrill of victory, the strangeness of having hip bones and collar bones and the bumps of a spine down my back.

I spent hours looking at my body from all angles in a mirror in amazement that it was me. It felt strange and weird and a bit scary as well as wonderful.

It took a couple of weeks before I realised that it didn’t change anything at all. In fact, it made a lot of things worse.

People complimented me ALL the time. Others didn’t recognise me at all and made a huge fuss when they discovered it was me. I got LOTS of attention.

Men who previously didn’t even acknowledge me started hitting on me. Married men started flirting with me.

All anyone wanted to talk to me about was how much weight I had lost, how I had done it and how wonderful I was now.

So in my mind I asked myself;

“if I was so wonderful now, what was I BEFORE?

After all, I was still me, still the same Kerry, just in a smaller body.

What did they think of me before?”

It took me two years to put the weight back on, plus a few more kilo’s for good measure.

The second time I lost weight, I actively got therapy and began to explore my issues and enjoy to a certain extent, the attention I got.

But my life was still about how much I weighed and what I could eat.

My life was still defined by diets.

Relationships ended, people close to me died, shit happened and gradually, the weight went back on.

And one day, two years ago, I woke up and decided to just stop.

Stop dieting.

Stop obsessing.

Stop weighing myself.

Just STOP.  All. Of. It.

I didn’t eat the world.

I was terrified, riddled with anxiety, but I was also FREE.

Free to really look at myself, free to discover all the beliefs I had about who I thought I was.
 
Free to see how much of what I ate had nothing to do with hunger and that I had no tools apart from food to numb and soothe and comfort myself.
 
Free to see what was behind the fear and begin to find new ways to support myself and start living my life.

On a diet, my world was so small and confined and oppressive, living for that unknown future where I would be acceptable.

 
Diet Free, my life is mine to live NOW.
 
Not when the weight is gone.
 
NOW.
 
This is where my body is, slowly changing as I learn to trust it, feeling better as I love it so much more and give it healthier food.
 
I discovered that without diets, I could actually listen to my body and if I left it alone, allowed myself to feel and experience my feelings, talk myself through my anxiety, that it would tell me when it wanted food, and when it didn’t.
 
It would let me know what it liked to have fed to it and tell me in no uncertain terms NOT TO GIVE ME THIS CRAP AGAIN!!!
 
The more I listen, the more I love it, the more weight it is willing to release.
 
At the pace it wants.
 
When it wants.
 
How it wants.
 
My body has a lot to forgive me for. Years of hatred. Years of abuse. Years of blame.
 
But so far, so good. I listen. I learn. I am willing to accept and be grateful and nurture this amazing vehicle that has taken all my shit and still carries me around.
 
I am learning to live Diet Free and I LOVE  it!