How long have you been obsessed with your body? If you're like me, pretty much since birth. I grew up listening to my mom criticize her own, "imperfect" figure and so restrictive diets and self-loathing have long been a part of who I was.
I went on my first diet in elementary school and have done every fad diet and every exercise program that you can think of since then. I had several years in my 20s where I suffered from a full-blown eating disorder.
But let's flash forward to my early 40s. I've been through two divorces and finally married the man of my dreams. I've given birth to three incredible little boys. I have done so much personal development work that I could give Oprah a run for her money.
But I had yet to find peace with my body.
So do you know what I finally had to do in order to stop this life long battle with my body? I had to let go of another toxic habit that I'd had for almost twenty years.
I had to quit my corporate job.
Just after my 42nd birthday, I reached a critical turning point with my health (and my drinking) and I went to see a functional doctor to whom I finally admitted how bad things were. She helped me admit to myself that something had to change. We hatched a plan where I would go on a yoga retreat to Mexico in six weeks time and, when I came back, I would stop drinking.
That's pretty much what happened. Except that by the time I got back from Mexico, I had admitted to myself that I also had to quit my six-figure job because I knew in my heart that it was not what I was meant to be doing with my life.
For the first time in decades, I asked myself, "What is it that I am truly meant to be doing with my life?" The immediate answers were yoga and writing so I enrolled in yoga teacher training and started a blog.
I knew there was one more piece still missing. So I hired a life coach to help me sort it out and within a few weeks of working with her I knew that I'd found the missing piece. I was meant to be a life coach, too.
So there I was enrolled in life coaching school, loving yoga teacher training and still working in my full-time corporate job when one day, I was looking at my body in the mirror and it dawned on me that I didn't hate it. In fact, I actually kind of liked it.
I began to run my mind back over the last few weeks and I realized that I couldn't actually remember the last time that I had looked in the mirror and hated what I saw. It was more like that moment when you realize that the headache that had been killing you was gone.
Yes, I had lost a few pounds because I had been eating better (much better) and, of course, the whole "no more drinking" thing really impacted my caloric intake as well.
But the numbers on the scale hadn't moved that much and this shift wasn't just about the weight coming off because I had previously weighed 30 pounds less than I did at that moment and still hated my own reflection.
After mulling this miracle around in my head for a few days, I could come up with only this conclusion: it was because I had finally given myself permission to do what I really wanted to do!
When I started focusing on me and learning to love myself enough to do what I knew in my heart that I was meant to be doing, everything else that was unimportant (aka B.S.) had fallen away.
Because what we see when we look in the mirror is never just about the weight. It's about what we think we're worth.
A few months later, I finally got up the nerve to quit my corporate job and, over the next few weeks, another 10 pounds came off. This time the only change I'd made was leaving my job to start my own business as a life coach.
Because of all this I've come to believe that, if you really want to love your body, then you've got to first love your life. That means loving yourself enough to pursue that dream you've been keeping on the shelf. Stop being obsessed with your body. Start being obsessed with your life.
If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.