I’ve been an emotional eater for a long time now. It started out as a way of comforting me when I was under prolonged emotional stress from an abusive marriage and it also became a defence mechanism trying to turn attention away. I hoped food would feed the gaping hole in my heart where I longed for a better life. Unfortunately even after leaving the marriage the abuse didn’t stop, add that to other life stress events and I have seriously struggled with my weight for about the last 15 years. I think back to all the times I thought I was fat (or was told so to diminish my self-worth) and wish now I was back to that weight and the feeling of health and vitality.
“When your past calls, don’t answer. It has nothing new to say.” – Jay Shetty
I’ve had many demons living in my mind, feeding my limiting self-beliefs after years of being told and therefore believing I’m not good enough. I experience depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of all the years of abuse. Add on top of that physical pain of a body not coping with a long-term back injury and more recently osteo-arthritic pain in my knees resulting in prolonged chronic pain and I’ve been a ticking time bomb needing drastic change.
I was so desperate for the pain to stop I even spoke to my doctor about bariatric surgery. This is something I have never wanted and consider extreme but continuous pain is a torturous motivator. Thankfully my doctor dissuaded me from this and instead encouraged me to continue working with my counsellor so I could understand my triggers and get to the bottom of my emotional eating once and for all. I listened and if I’m honest, felt quite relieved that she wouldn’t write the referral for me. I know it was the pain talking and not what my soul truly wanted or needed, I think I just needed someone else to guide me back to my light.
“The pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” – my doctor
During my next counselling session, I was introduced to cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). I’ve done similar things in the past but it was extremely powerful working through the biggest trigger with her support. I felt so good after going through this exercise and came out with the self-belief in my power to do this once and for all. I know what I need to do to lose weight, I’ve researched it for many years. My problem has been implementing it and maintaining it when my emotions are being triggered and injuries flare-ups.
I started a journal where I began by writing out my goal, how I would achieve it and why I want to achieve it. My goal is “To regain my health and wellbeing by respecting myself and my body”. I write in my journal every day, writing down what I’m feeling, experiencing and realisations that I’ve had. This is proving to be very powerful for me and a positive new habit I intend to continue.
I wanted a fresh start and something to work as a transition from poor eating habits back to clean eating. I’ve tossed over the thought of doing a cleanse for quite a while and finally decided to bite the bullet. I purchased a Level 1 three-day juice cleanse through Sol Cleanse. There was no hesitation and it worked out perfectly timed as they don’t normally deliver to my area however this week they were as part of a special Sunshine Coast Group Cleanse which included a Facebook support group.
To prepare for the cleanse in the three days leading up, I cut out sugar and processed foods and I also made up a roller blend with doTERRA Zendocrine essential oil to apply over my liver area which I massaged in every morning to support my liver through the detox process. I also made a blend of oils to nourish my skin which I apply over trouble areas after my shower. This includes Myrrh, Helichrysum, Fennel, Grapefruit, Geranium, Patchouli and Yarrow-Pom all for their properties of supporting the skin.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new”. – Socrates
I started Day 1 excited and highly motivated by what I was looking to achieve. The juices were so fresh and delicious I was enjoying them. Mid-morning I started to feel a bit light headed, at first I thought this might have been the juice with beetroot in it dropping my blood pressure too low as my blood pressure is already on the low end of the scale, but then a squeamish feeling set in when I was having my lunch-time juice. This juice had kale in it and anyone who knows me well knows I’m not a fan of kale and its taste of wet grass (yuck). I really struggled with drinking this juice and thought it brought about the squeamish feelings. I decided I would hold off on the afternoon juice and just let my body adjust. By mid-afternoon the effects subsided. I followed up with my group and these feelings were quite common for some so I knew there was nothing to worry about. At least I wasn’t getting the massive withdrawal headaches. There is something to be said about not drinking coffee lol. When I got home, I continued with the juices and enjoyed the beautiful nourishing Dahl for dinner.
“Nourishing myself is a joyful experience and I am worth the time spent on healing”.
I woke up on Day 2 feeling lighter physically and mentally. I slept quite well which rarely happens. I decided I would have the Dahl for lunch instead of dinner acknowledging that my body usually prefers to have a heavier meal during the day and less at night. This made a huge difference on how I felt during the day with no more detox symptoms and gave me the energy boost I needed to get through my work. I also found a hack to get me through that dreaded kale juice. I added a drop of doTERRA Ginger essential oil and voila I could drink the juice without feeling like I wanted to spit it out.
Day 3 was when the mental cleansing kicked in for me. I find it interesting how my subconscious mind works during my sleep. I had dreams overnight where I was clearly setting boundaries around my sense of worth and while the dream was in a business/working setting, on reflection it had a powerful impact on my personal self-worth also. In essence I was letting people know that wasn’t going to beg and plead for them to work with me, I knew what I was worth and what I had to offer people open to receiving it and ultimately the decision was with them whether or not they decided to work with me. My sense of self worth did not waiver whether they did or did not want to work with me. I stayed strong and wasn’t letting other people’s opinions of me influence my self-worth or what actions I would take. This was a massive shift for me in my thinking because I’ve always allowed others to influence and dictate my worth…. well NO MORE! I now love and honour myself too much to let this happen in my professional or personal life. My self-belief has been unshakable since. I even had something happen that would normally trigger the shit out of me sending me in a downward spiral looking for food and I ignored it. I clicked delete and didn’t give it any power over me. I cut that trigger off at the knees and felt so empowered that this no longer has any influence on me whatsoever. Thank you to the power of CBT. Who would have thought even doing one exercise would be so powerful. I finished off Day 3 of my juice cleanse feeling really positive about continuing my healing journey both physically and mentally.
“Today, I abandon my old habits and take up new, more positive ones”.
My first day post cleanse was great. I’ve eased my body back into solid foods starting the morning with a bone broth infused with Turmeric essential oil and progressed to salad greens with vegetables sautéed in healthy fats with an egg and kimchi for some probiotic goodness for lunch. Dinner was similar to lunch but with salmon instead of egg. The biggest thing I’ve noticed was I’m happy just having small meals again. I used a side plate for my meal and this is how I will continue, just as I had in the past. This has been a game changer for me because for so long as an emotional eater I was never truly satiated by food, any food. I spent so long being numb, not even really tasting the food I was putting in my mouth. It is a great feeling knowing that food no longer has power of you.
Food is purely for nutrition, it isn’t going to fill any emotional voids. Our emotional voids get filled when we do the inner work and love ourselves fully and completely. We can not expect others to love and respect us if we don’t do this for ourselves. The irony is when we truly love and respect ourselves, we really don’t care if anyone else does.
I’m so grateful I invested in myself and decided to kick off my healing journey with the juice cleanse. It has definitely been the gentle reset I needed for my mind and my body.