"You’re not ready." The words I heard as I was hitting rock bottom to diet culture.
My figure competition coach said this to me just shy of two weeks before my competition. I was 26 years old, which feels like a lifetime ago. I began training for the show several months prior. And really, in the dressing room for years prior.
The training included a regimen of lifting weights and doing cardio every day to the point that something I once loved became a chore.
What does it mean to hit rock bottom?
I think this is different for everyone.
For me, hitting rock bottom meant I achieved what I wanted (full control and discipline over my diet and exercise routine) but I was still not satisfied.
During my dieting, I went without my period for months.
I was constipated for days.
I was grumpy and depressed all the time (yet oddly enough photos shared a different story)...
And worst of all, I ate the same damn, measured and pre-portioned food every, single day.
This was when my disordered eating really hit rock bottom.
How did I hit Rock Bottom?
I spent seven years working towards my education as a Registered Dietitian. Four years of undergrad, two years in graduate school and one year in an unpaid internship.
You’d think of all people that I’d be knowledgeable enough to not fall into this trap, but in fact, I was a prime candidate. All this knowledge made me obsess over food.
Hobbies? What hobbies? Interests, none… just food and my body.
I was trapped. Always promising to myself I’d do better tomorrow. That, one day I’d look like the girl on the cover of Muscle & Fitness HERS. I was completely miserable.
That’s when I found Intuitive Eating
I’m grateful for being told I wasn’t ready to get on stage. Because to be truthful, no part of my heart or soul felt good about placing my mostly naked, spray tanned body up on stage for random people to critique.
Starting a new job as a corporate dietitian at the Kellogg Company really pulled me away from the day to day of nutrition. With other focuses in the forefront, my healing began.
A few years later we were blessed with our first baby, Iris. It was then that I began to realize how amazingly, beautiful God designed each of our bodies.
Accepting my body (not always raving over it), was another big step in breaking up with diet culture. You see, intuitive eating is about about a better relationship with food & your body. It's like the kind friend you can chat with for hours.
(A far contrast to the mean bitches, AKA food rules).
Rejecting the Diet Mentality
After six years to the month I left my corporate job for a part time job that provided greater work/life balance.
I began working as the counseling nutritionist at a functional medicine clinic. Functional nutrition is a science I find completely and utterly fascinating, one I believe has real legs for healing such a sick nation.
But in my experience, I worked with a lot of clients who were stuck in a disordered eating pattern. Sadly, I think functional nutrition allows these issues to be masked as a more acceptable desire for health, rather than thinness.
As the counseling dietitian, I felt responsible to try on each of the therapeutic diets that I prescribed. You know, so I understood them better and could be a better counselor.
I found myself breaking the rules shortly after starting each diet. Because, I knew what restriction had done to me. I was ready to finally break up with diet culture, but had so much work to do.
Ironically, this was progress.
Losing my Job
After a year at this job, the doctor decided to close his clinic and I found myself unemployed. Talk about a tailspin!
So, as the natural type A, perfectionist, high strung kind of person I am; without skipping a beat, I began a 12-month training in functional nutrition. While simultaneously, starting my own nutrition counseling practice, focusing on functional nutrition.
Had I forgotten what my heart said seven years prior, that counseling wasn’t for me?
I pressed on. For the better part of a year I continued to ask myself “What do I want to do with my life”? I never felt settled in my current role. I had both the financial luxury, and support of my husband to even ask myself this question.
Finally, a few weeks ago, about a year after starting my business and miles of walking with my therapist, the woman I call “mom”.
My mom asked me “what would you do if you didn’t have to do anything?”
And without hesitation I told her, I’d garden, have a home fit for Joanna Gaines and teach families to cook and live healthfully without really knowing it.
Finding Success After Hitting Rock Bottom
I share my story with you because it’s not new, it is not untold. Millions of women struggle with disordered eating, body dissatisfaction and lack of trust in themselves around food.
If they enjoy their food, they feel guilty. If they follow a diet, they’re miserable.
Life isn’t meant to be this complicated. So, I will bring to you a gentler way.
Share with me, can you relate? How can I help you?