"Do you remember when..." my Mom asked me a couple of weeks ago, referring to a running event I participated in nearly 10 years ago. I could only very vaguely remember the day she was asking about.
I don't really remember very much from the those years when I was in the trenches with my disordered eating.
My life consisted only of marathon training and restricting food or whole categories of foods for one reason or another. When I try to think back on all those years, the people I knew, the activities that I was a part of, it's all a bit fuzzy because I wasn't truly there for that part of my life. I wasn't present.
It's not uncommon to hear that someone deep in their relationship with an eating disorder experiences similar laps in memory. One of my colleagues, Christy Harrison often refers to an eating disorder as a "life thief," which is spot on for a descriptor. Many of my clients talk about attending a dinner party or back yard BBQ. Rather than relishing in the connections they made during the event, they can only remember the guilt they felt afterward for the food that they ate.
How exhausting...for anyone to go through life this way! Enter intuitive eating and Health At Every Size. These evidence based (aka backed by scientific research) principles outline a paradigm shift in how we related to food and our bodies. Principles such as self compassion, rejecting diet mentality, and being curious about what our bodies are really hungry for, are the roots from which this shift in our relationship to food and our bodies can happen.
Yes, this shift can happen!
For example, a couple summers ago, a friend called me at the last minute to see if I wanted to attend an outdoor concert that evening. I had just come home from work, had no dinner plan, and there I was running out the door again. Whatever, there was going to be food at the concert. I met up with my friend just as the show was about to start. We were both a bit hungry, so we grabbed some food from one of the food trucks inside the concert. As the sun dipped low in the sky, the musicians started with an amazing acapella-like number, with only simple instruments in accompaniment. A full moon started to rise in the background behind the stage. Unbelievable!
In that moment I looked around at the crowd coming to their feet, cheering the band on. I didn't care what I'd just eaten or what I looked like groov'n to the tunes. It was the first time in a very long while that I realized I was fully present for this event. I was participating in a memorable life