If I had only known what I was starting! As puberty and adolescence arrived, I found myself turning to food more and more often as an escape from my life, and began binge eating. I responded rationally to the binges – I went on more and more crazy diets. As the binges became worse, I sought other ways to purge the unwanted calories from my body. Eventually, I found exercise. I remember jumping up and down for an hour at a time in my bedroom at 11:00 at night to work off my evening excesses.
By the time I was 17 I was seriously desperate.. I signed up for a supervised diet program that included a 700 calorie a day diet plan and weekly weigh ins. I lost my weight for the first time and was jubilant, vowing never to return to my old ways.
Unfortunately, the causes of my poor eating behaviours had not been addressed, and soon I was gaining weight again. In the next several years, I tried many diets, from liquid protein fasts to grapefruit and egg plateau busters. The results were always the same: quick weight loss followed by uncontrolled eating and weight gain, each time to a higher level.
My one saving grace was my decision to get a job as a trainer in a gym. I hoped that by surrounding myself with fitness, I would be able to stay slim. Although the binging continued, I was at least getting regular exercise, and learned to love working out.
When I was 20, now working in management consulting, I was assigned to a 6 month project in Juneau, Alaska. With the long dark days, I found myself coping with danishes and chocolate chip cookies. I reached my highest weight ever and when I went back to the “lower 48”. I was so miserable that I knew I needed to find real help. Eventually, with the guidance of a nutritionist, I found Overeaters Anonymous (OA). In that program, I discovered for the first time that my emotional life and my eating were connected. I learned that by healing my emotional wounds, I could change my behavior. I followed this program religiously and lost the weight.
While OA was a blessing to me, once I had reached my goal weight, I was disappointed to discover that I was still depressed. I had always thought that losing the weight would bring me the happiness that I had longed for. When it didn’t, I didn’t know where else to turn. A friend referred me to a psychiatrist who put me on the then-brand-new generation of anti-depressants. I took Prozac for a year. I eventually weaned myself off Prozac by substituting aerobic exercise.
While I had made major strides forward in my life at this time, I found that my negative body image and binging behaviour persisted. I was still weighing and measuring everything I ate 3 years after starting OA in fear of my old ways returning in a moment of weakness. I also found myself completely dependent on regularly attending meetings.
I wanted more, but didn’t know how to get it, or if in fact if more was possible for me.
By my mid 30s I was in the midst of a personal crises at the levels of health, career and identity. I had just given birth to my first child and came down with my second case of acute mononucleosis. The mono turned into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and I had to take long periods of time off work. Eventually I realized that my body was telling me an important message through the fatigue. It was telling me I was in the wrong career for the wrong reasons.
Around this time, I became fascinated with the human mind, and the structure of motivation. I began learning everything I could. I studied Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and became a certified Master Practitioner. I also discovered the work of Dr. Robert McDonald ,a world expert on NLP and developer of the Destination Method, and I became a certified Destination Coach. I became a Certified Hypnotherapist and a Certified Life Coach.
I quickly realized that by synthesising the technologies I had studied, I could develop an extraordinarily powerful tool for overcoming overeating and negative body image. I began experimenting on myself and was stunned by my new found freedom and ease with food, as well as the increased self confidence that was seeping into all areas of my life.
I knew I was onto something good. As I worked with more and more clients, and their success stories piled up, I realized that my life’s work was bringing this healing and empowerment to as many people as I possibly could. Today I’m on a mission to eradicate the weight struggle from the planet, enabling you to develop and share your abundant soul’s gifts.
This is my story and I’d love to hear yours. What has your journey been like and how did you get here today?