Today on the blog, we have Sabine who calls herself an ex-cookie monster. She has experienced it all; from starving to overeating. The reason? Emotional eating.! Feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or just simply bored caused her to overeat or not eat at all! Body positivity plays a crucial role in this complex, yet beautiful, process and I am glad she is sharing her journey on My Swiss Story!
Always remember, “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!”
When did we stop being body positive?
As a baby, we could not care less about our bodies, weight, or looks. When we were hungry, we cried to get fed. When we looked in the mirror, we were mesmerized by our own reflection. When we dressed, we chose our favorite colors – whether they matched or not.
So how come we started judging ourselves and others by their looks? Some of us may have been influenced by family, or were bullied at school, or got insecure after seeing ¨perfect¨ models on social media. Others may have been so busy with daily life and careers that there was simply no time left for self-care. Or, if you are like me, a critical perfectionist, you may have been focusing on your body’s imperfections. Most of us have a story of how we lost our self-confidence and body positivity!
How body negativity led to anorexia, bingeing, and emotional eating
For many years, I saw my body as my enemy. It did not look the way I wished. As a 14-year old, I decided that my body had to learn the ¨hard way¨. I stopped eating to make it lose that belly fat that I really did not like. In the media, I had seen images of celebrities, who were ¨size 0¨ with well-defined abs. My life was a mess and I felt that I would get a ¨grip on it” if only I could control my weight.
I did lose weight, too much actually. I only realized how much I had been starving myself when my doctor labeled me as ¨anorexic¨. I had to gain weight to survive. I started eating but since I had denied my hunger cues, I had become completely disconnected from my body. As a result, I never felt satiated. I ate, and ate, and ate… until I was feeling sick. My overeating caused a lot of weight gain.
Then the social pressure took its toll again; I was told that I was too skinny when I was anorexic, while I was too chubby when I had put on weight. I ended up on a rollercoaster of starving myself and then overeating again; a cycle of emotional eating. My body was punished with (the lack of) food in times of stress, happiness, sadness, or simply boredom to cope with my emotions.
Is your lack of self-love actually covering up your real pain?
After 17 years of starving, bingeing, and emotional eating, I finally got to a place of body acceptance. This happened when I realized that my body was not the root cause of my sadness. It had actually been easier to focus on my looks and weight than the real traumatic events in my life. My disordered eating had kept me so distracted from the reality that I escaped the underlying pain. However, sooner or later it was going to hit me, and it did. I needed to find a way to accept and embrace my emotions, rather than ignoring them and using food as a coping mechanism. Starting to appreciate my body was the first step of a long healing journey!
3 Steps to start healing the relationship with your body
1. Become aware of your inner dialogue to shift focus
You will never speak to anyone more than you speak to yourself in your head, be kind to yourself.
How? Start empowering yourself. Keep a diary next to your bed and write down 3 positive affirmations when you wake up. What do you love about yourself, your body, and what are you proud of? Body positivity will not happen overnight but continue to practice this and you will notice how your beliefs are changing!
2. Neutrality is key
As long as you judge your body to be good/bad or pretty/ugly, you will be stuck in a destructive cycle. Everything is an experience, neither good nor bad, as it is helping us to grow and develop.
Stop judging. Start observing. Stand in front of the mirror and look at your body with curiosity. What do you see? Observe, without putting an opinion or label on it. Then look at your eyes, ears, nose… take a moment to be aware of how these parts allow you to see, hear, smell! Thanks to your body, you can experience this life… dance, jump, laugh!
3. Feeling self-love & compassion
By becoming aware of all of your body’s processes to keep you alive, you will move from self-acceptance to feeling grateful for the true miracle that your body is!
When you find yourself in this place of love towards your body, your inner voice will no longer criticize and the opinion of others will touch you less.
Stay compassionate with yourself. Keep talking to your body as if it was your child or pet. We tend to be much more gentle with them. This will re-establish a loving relationship with your body!
You are beautiful! I am beautiful! We are all beautiful!
Body positivity is a complex matter. It is not simply ¨look in the mirror and love what you see¨. Instead, it is about creating love from within for oneself and others. Through this process, we are all connected and positively affect one another. Together, we can do this! Start making peace with your body, shine your light, and take back your power! It is a beautiful and healing journey, I promise!
Since 2015, Sabine has been a holistic health coach and nutritional therapist, specialized in emotional eating and hormonal health. Her greatest passion is to accompany & empower her clients on their journey to heal emotional eating from within. You can check her website to know more about her work.
Are you enjoying our content? We would love to hear your opinions in the comments sections. Stay tuned for our March posts, cuz “self-love” is in the air. Stay tuned to read more about body positivity, turning 50, expat resources, and travel diaries.
To read posts from February, click here