My Body, My Truth

Self-love. It can mean all sorts of things to all sorts of people but there’s one thing that loves you more than anything in the world.

Your body.

Talk about some fierce love right there. Your body pumps blood for you, breathes for you, keeps you alive at all costs—all done without you even knowing. Your body has your back no matter what.

The body knows everything. She does. Absolutely.

Have you ever just gotten a feeling in your gut that tells you something is wrong, or just not right? Or maybe she gives you hints of unfailing happiness, joy, and earth-shattering love?

Every time I look back to times when I had to make decisions, my body was giving me the answers all along. If we would stop giving so much power to the mind and the ego, and instead just sit still and tap into our body’s wisdom, imagine a healing power so great that we could prevent or reverse illness, disease, hate, self-loathing, and perfectionism—things that, as women, we learn at a very young age. When it comes to the power we give to food, diets, and weight, all that plays a part with us forgetting our bodies’ wisdom.

I’ve learned to listen closely to my lovely friend, my body, but it’s been a long journey. In the past, I’ve judged her, forced away any pain she tried to show me, and even shunned self-love. I used to beat her up with negativity, judgment, and hate, especially when it came to food.

This unhealthy relationship started when I was eight years old; someone I loved dearly told me that I was getting fat and I that I’d better watch it. I was wearing my yellow cowgirl dance outfit (I had a recital that day) when it happened. I was all made up with rosy blush and blue eye shadow and red lipstick. My hair all done. I still remember the photo that was taken right before I was crushed.

So watch it I did. I stopped eating.

I started writing down each item of food on a small notepad. I only allowed five things a day, such as one piece of toast, one stick of bubblegum, etc. Of course, I was growing and I was constantly starving, therefore a trip to McDonalds would happen at the end of the day. I would feel defeated, then resentful of my body, telling her to listen and not eat so much. This went on for years.

When I got older, I tried every diet in the book: low carb, low fat, Atkins, South Beach (which I was on for four years and never got out of Stage 1—no bananas!) I felt so disconnected to my body. Instead of using food as a tool for love, it was an enemy.

Things got dramatically worse after I had my babies, and after all those years with food issues, I had anorexia, which I denied and lied about. I didn’t feel anything. Nothing. I didn’t want to. Eating made me feel stuff, and I just didn’t want to feel the pain of not being perfect. Sadness that my marriage wasn’t working out. I felt alone and lonely, and eating made me feel.

Until one day my 3 year old daughter said, “Mama, why aren’t you eating?” She was watching me. She sees. She knows.

I knew I had to get help. I didn’t want anyone to feel the pain I knew, especially my own child. I found an amazing counselor, and during my group sessions (I was the only anorexic in the group of bulimics), I realized we all had one thing in common: perfectionism. Our minds didn’t connect with our bodies. Our minds didn’t listen to our bodies. Our minds wanted to take charge, leading us toward the dark.

Over time, I learned ways to hush my mind and formed a bond with my body. I began to trust my body and let her take charge. My body led me toward the light. It was an awakening. I wasn’t fully living my life, and little by little, I started to breathe, to wake up.

The funny thing is that food was my tool. It went from a tool of hate to a tool of self-love. As I began to eat, slowly, cautiously, filling up my cells with life, I felt the self-love I craved.

I don’t bring this up a lot since I’m a health coach and want to be seen as the know-it-all about health (there’s that perfectionism striking again!), but I’ve learned that it is just a part of me I need to accept that. It’s in my cells, and my body remembers. I respect this and am able to let go and speak of my experience. It has taken a long time, but each time I bring up the truth, my body gives me a gentle squeeze and trust is deepened.

I’m sharing my truth because I know how each of us is committed to our own self-love, how our bodies know everything about us and our desire to shine brightly.

Self love is about complete and utter acceptance of who you are in this moment. It’s not an overachieving desire to shed a few pounds to wear that right number, or to meditate a little longer or run farther.

Let your body take care of you; keep you healthy and dreaming of big, wonderful things. Listen very closely for guidance, because your body knows what works for you.

If I could pick only one thing in the world to trust, the body would win. Completely. Treat your precious body with lots of self-love. Listen, connect, and trust. Always know that, as you move through pain and fear, you allow for self-love more amazing than you could never imagine.

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About the Author | Lisa Consiglio Ryan

Lisa Consiglio Ryan is a certified integrative nutrition health coach and CEO of Whole Health Designs, which provides detox programs, plant-based and gluten-free meal plans, and private coaching. In Lisa's book, Go Clean, Sexy You, she provides seasonal detox plans and clean recipes for those wanting to jump-start healthy living. Lisa loves green juice, yoga, and hanging out with her family.

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