I am not even sure what triggered it, but when I was 14, I developed an eating disorder. I suffered from bulimia. And for twelve years, the disorder weaved in and out my life. In high school, I was a cheerleader, and when my eating disorder first grabbed hold, my weight went down drastically. After the gossip spread, a really sweet guy, started to refer to me and a friend of mine, as “bulimic bitches”..sometimes he threw handfuls of grass on us,and called us bulimic cows (One can only hope he matured). 🙂
I could blame a number of things as the trigger of my eating disorder. My family was pretty dysfunctional (like most), and my mind was always racing, full of thoughts and questions. “Why do we die? Where do we go? Why do we exisit?Why do we have war?” Why, why, why…and so on. It was exhausting. I am also an empath, and I think that perhaps I used food to try to help me ground.
There were times, when I was angry with myself, and I would stop eating. I would get thin. Very thin. Very quickly. There were other times, where it seemed food was the only way to relax, to get out of my “mind”. My body would quickly balloon. My thoughts. My judgements. My confusion. My feelings of being inadequate and ugly. I could quickly scarf down a box of Tiger Milk bars. A bag of chips. Half a cake. I would try to feed my soul, my worries, my fears, with food. Then of course, stomach full and hurting, feelings of disgust would rise up, fear of getting fat, and it was off to the bathroom. Or 3 hours of exercise. Or swearing to myself that i would not eat for an entire week (I never lasted)!! During those 12 years, sometimes I would go long periods without any bouts of bingeing or starving myself. But sometimes, particularly when I was stressed, the disorder took hold and ravaged my body and soul. My weight easily yo-yo´d up and down a good thirty pounds.
From the time I was 15-18, I also started experimenting quite heavily with drugs. I was unbalanced, reckless, and I had no idea about self-care, or how to process stress.
I feel no shame in sharing this. It is a part of my story. I have no desire to come across as a perfect person, I am far from it. Many people suffer from eating disorders, and they feel deep shame. But we shouldn´t. Life is hard. Confusing. Sometimes very painful. We all look for ways to cope. Recently a friend opened up and shared that she was suffering from bulimia. I guess in a way, I feel compelled to write, so she can understand my story. How I healed.
I healed through YOGA.
Learning to breathe through my nose, those nice deep mindful breaths, helped me cultivate an inner-peace I had never felt. Learning to quiet the mind in meditation, helped me tap into my higher wisdom. When we tame the mind, truth, wisdom, and compassion emerge.Even if we just feel it for 30 seconds, it changes everything.
Practicing Asana, taught me about my body. I learned to observe where I was holding tension, I could feel how the breath helped relax the muscles, and the mind. I learned to move my body in harmony with my breath. I started tapping into more subtle energies. Awareness. I started to observe how different I felt after eating certain foods. I felt heavy and gross after eating greasy french fries, or a candy bar. But after a large carrot, kale, and ginger juice, or a large avocado smoothie, I felt light, healthy, peaceful, beautiful. Naturally I prefer feeling healthy, and as my awareness increased, my food choices changed.
I started to notice even more subtle cues from my body. How my body felt when I was thirsty, When I was stressed, When I was tired. Simply put, I started to get to know me. And I realized my body was counting on me to make healthy loving choices.
Our energy changes drastically based on our food choices. This is talked about often in Yoga. Food can be divided into three categories.
Tamasic Foods: Red Meat, Alcohol, Refined sugar, soda, fast food, and overly processed foods. Foods that are tamsic, lead to overeating, promote negative emotions, build up of toxins, dull heavy energy, and blocks the flow of PRANA.
Rajasic Foods:coffee, salt, chicken, fried foods, overly spicy. (some say chocolate too, but i disagree STRONGLY) 🙂 Foods that are rajasic create an overstimulated mind, make us feel restless, and keep us very attached to our ego desires.
Sattvic Foods:Fruits, vegetables, honey, herbal tea, grains, nuts, beans, seeds, ghee. Sattvic foods promote the flow of pure and positive energy, and lead to peace, intelligence and wisdom.
Next time you eat something really observe how you feel, and then, think about these three categories, and what you ate.
Yoga, leads to increased awareness. Body, mind, and Spirit. And the straight up truth is that when I eat a Sattvic based diet, I feel good.
I honor my yoga body. I am not anywhere near being “skinny”. And I don’t care. But I do feel strong. And I know I am taking active steps, and breaths, everyday to live as healthy as I can. I don’t count calories. I don’t limit food. I eat when I want, I eat what I want.. But the difference is, that through yoga, I learned about self-care. I started to love myself, flaws and all. I found healing by going within. I eat food that nourishes me. Fruits, vegetables, lentils, seeds, nuts.. Sattvic foods. I eat Ice cream nearly everyday, but I make it RAW with avocados, coconut, cacau, and honey. And it is good. Nourishing, filling. My whole family loves it.
I know with absolute certainty, that my yoga practice put my life and my body on a completely different path. I know with absolute certainty, that yoga heals.
Yoga. Open the door. Take a deep breath. You will be amazed.