How can we grow into a living a healthy lifestyle besides just focusing on our nutrition?
I’m a Holistic Dietitian and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, so it’s often I assumed that I eat healthy (fair assumption – always good to practice what you preach).
However, in the midst of receiving comments, like:
“You must always eat healthy”
“Please don’t judge what I’m eating”
“I could never be as healthy as you”
No less than a year ago, my deep, dark secret was that I felt like I was living a lie; posing as someone who was healthy, who in actuality wasn’t at all.
While most people assume living a healthy life is only about eating healthy, I could not disagree more.
I will share with you a little bit about my history just to help illustrate what I mean by this.
We All Have Struggles With Food
In my undergrad as a dietetics major, while I was learning how to “eat healthy,” I was literally destroying my body with fried food, processed carbs, refined sugar, and alcohol. I wasn’t just eating poorly, but I had an extremely poor relationship with my body and self.
The judgemental, analytical, overbearing mind automatically wants to retort back, “Well, everyone was doing that, Ali. So what?”
But I wasn’t just eating poorly. I had an extremely poor relationship with my body and self. I severely lacked confidence in my ability to exceed at literally everything.
And as I struggled through all the difficult science classes like organic chemistry, microbiology, and biochemistry, the running theme of stories I told myself was always,
“You’re not smart enough.”
“You’re not good enough.”
“What are you even doing here?”
This is also around the time that I began to develop an eating disorder. Feeling and seeing the pounds begin to “pack on,” striving to be more skinny and pretty than the other girls on campus, and wanting so desperately to feel better after I uncontrollably and unconsciously shoved food down my mouth. My drug of choice was food and I would repeatedly use it to numb myself from feelings of inadequacy, pain, or hurt.
And so, I turned to bulimia.
I wasn’t bulimic for long nor did I consider myself bulimic which is frightening. This is actually the first time I have publicly admitted I was bulimic and have only ever told two people in my life, one of them being my husband.
While I am no longer bulimic, I’m sure you are wondering, why wait so long to tell someone?
I was ashamed. I was afraid to face the reality of the situation. I was afraid people would judge me or think I was doing it for attention. Or more importantly, that I was a hypocrite; standing for something I believed in but a complete fraud behind closed doors.
This is at least what the old me would have been like. The old “me” that continuously listened to the played out voices in my head, envied the next “skinniest,” “most popular,” or “most successful” girl.
Outside Factors That Wreak Havoc On Our Health
Therein lies the problem with our society, social media, and a world that’s ravaged in us all pretending to be something we’re not – it prevents us from expressing who we truly are. It prevents us from expressing what makes us sad, what makes us happy, or what’s really bothering us underneath all the anger, frustration, and self-loathing.
Regardless of what we perceive as a struggle or not, this feeling of unworthiness or inadequacy prevents us from actually being able to feel the emotions that are underneath all these unconscious actions.
So here I was, going to school supposedly to help people “be healthier,” yet I could not have possibly been more disconnected from this mission-driven focus.
Fast forward several years later, after starting my own business, getting diagnosed with Lyme’s Disease, living in a moldy apartment that led to the Lyme’s Diagnosis, and years of stress, anxiety, and depression, I was emotionally unhealthy.
Escaping The Negative Feedback Loop
I was still hiding from my feelings. I was still playing the same negative feedback loop over and over like a cog in a wheel completely unaware that my thoughts were feeding my emotions and my emotions were creating my actions.
And then slowly, after hiring two coaches, becoming a coach myself, reading many self-help books, and listening to inspiring podcasts (Wellness Force Radio being the first), I began to take notice of this incessant pattern.
I began to see this pattern in my own life and the lives of my clients.
I began to recognize this constant search for something outside ourselves.
So here I am, completely and unequivocally letting go of the shame, the guilt, and the stress to live up to something that I am not.
Yes, I eat healthy, but I don’t always eat healthy.
Yes, I love my body, but there are days when I wish I were taller or thinner.
Yes, I find myself to be a relatively positive, upbeat person, but there are many days when I have felt sad, depressed, lonely, and unlovable.
Yes, I am fortunate to have what I have, but there are days I am still worrying about money.
Attracting Positive Energy
Regardless what it is, we all deal with our own obstacles, but it’s the way we choose to look at each of our situations that makes the difference. We can look at our lives with malice, shame, and frustration, which only leads to attracting more negativity in our lives.
Or we can look at our lives as if we are human. We can choose to acknowledge that we have good days and bad days and all we can do is treat ourselves with compassion, kindness, and love.
You may be asking yourself, so does this mean I have to hire a coach? Become a dietitian? Read more self-help books? Listen to podcasts?
Absolutely not, although the latter two wouldn’t hurt 😉
Beginning Your Own Wellness Journey
My best piece of advice to you is to take a good hard look at your life as if it’s a movie and you are the audience.
Is this the life that you want?
Are there are any emotions or feelings you have been wanting to express and if so what are they? Who can you express them to? Perhaps it's yourself that needs to hear those words. If so, my recommendation is to pick up a journal and write.
Do you feel you truly expressing who you are…from the depths of your soul? What part of you are you expressing or potentially not expressing?
How can you practice living a more authentic life? How can you practice being (keyword: being) more of YOU?
Maybe for you, it’s not bulimia, but you may find yourself constantly seeking external validation. Whether it’s through food, friends, family, employers, or exercise, what we don’t realize is that the something we are searching for is already within us.
This is my mission in life – helping people reconnect with themselves; helping people acknowledge the strength and beauty of their bodies; helping people use food, not as a means to restrict, numb, or binge but to nourish, enliven, and remember what it feels like to consume foods and words you love.
And if you ever need help expressing more of YOU, I hope you know that I am always here if you need me.
In Abundant Health,
Ali Boone, RD, LD, NTP
About Ali Boone
Ali Boone is a Registered Dietitian, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Life Coach and Owner of Nourished Abundance.
Ali uses Nutritional Therapy and coaching to get to the root cause of the ailments you are experiencing rather than just treating the symptoms. She has worked with her clients to reverse diabetes, overcome weight loss plateaus, improve diagnosed gastrointestinal conditions, reduce blood cholesterol levels, remove digestive stressors, reduce anxiety and increase energy levels.
While most people feel they have to undergo major dietary and life restrictions in order to lose weight, be fulfilled, and feel confident again, Ali couldn’t disagree more. She believes that living a healthy lifestyle is about finding balance, managing the stressors, and creating a life full of abundance.
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