TW: Diet talk
Can you diet on your body love journey? The truth is I don’t really know. I think everyone has to answer that question for themselves. Your body, your rules. But if you are wondering about this, here is my story of going on a special diet, every thing that I did and everything that happened.
I have been suffering with digestive issues for quite a while but at the end of 2016 they got much worse. And I won’t go too deep into the specifics, but it seemed like the best course of action was for me to go on a special diet recommended by my medical team.
This was SUPER triggering for me. I knew it would provoke my disordered eating, my body dysmorphia, and depression. I knew it was going to be hard, like so fucking hard.
I’ve been on a body love journey for years and for years I have worked to dismantle diet and weight-loss culture from my psyche. Since the winter of 2014 I have been practicing intuitive eating to help to rebuild and heal my relationship with food.
Because of all of this I knew I would have to tread carefully into this health choice.
So instead of calling this special diet a diet, I came up with some alternative less triggering terms. I called it a healing journey through food or food selection healing and even a healing journey opportunity so that it didn’t even mentioning food.
I used the intuitive eating approach as much as possible within the confines of the diet. I have this great magnet on my fridge courtesy of the awesome people at Be Nourished.
And I would use it to assess my hunger, and what kind of food I desired from the selection of food available to me. So even though I was restricted I could still listen to my intuition and listen to my body.
I also said affirmations to myself while I did the food prep: This is an opportunity for healing. This is an opportunity to put myself first. I make this food with love. This is what loving myself looks like.
I even went for an aromatherapy session to create a special essential oil blend that would be my power scent to help me get through the rough times that were coming.
All of the work I did to prepare and supports I gave myself really helped…
The only thing was, this diet was actually making me sicker.
Like really sick.
Even though it was making me sicker, on some level I felt this sense of accomplishment for having conquered my fear of food restriction to point that I didn’t want to let the diet go, and I also didn’t want to let it go because I really believed it would be the thing to help heal me.
But the choice was being made for me. This diet that I was trying to use to heal me was just making me sicker. So under the supervision of medical professionals I stopped.
And this was when a new journey began. I began to think about my digestive issues from a different perspective, from a more energetic perspective.
I don’t doubt that my digestive issues have come from years of trauma and abuse being stored in my belly. Through many very hard years when I was young I would feel sick to my stomach all of the time. It would feel like I just couldn’t digest food. If I put food into my belly it felt like it would just sit in my stomach undigested. And any time something horrible happened, I felt it in my stomach.
Through the guidance of my amazing friend and body positive Naturopathic Doctor, Kyla Wright, I now I know more about digestion. And I know that what my body was telling me was true. We cannot digest our food properly while in our stress response or the “fright, flight, freeze” response. If we need to be in immediate survival mode (stress response), our body just doesn’t have time or energy for longer term survival processes like digestion.
This was very helpful and adaptive for humans at one time. But now, today, in our world we can tend to feel threats all around us throughout our day in the form of emails, social media, traffic, and constant messages that we aren’t good enough and that we need to fix ourselves. And all of these “threats” put us in a stress state for most of our day, which can seriously affect our digestion.
This has been a HUGE aha for me.
I just had never really thought about it before. So I began to implement a softer approach to my digestive issues. I started getting better rest. I did more restorative yoga as my personal yoga practice. I wrote myself a yoga nidra for digestive health. I used mudras (hand positions) to help my digestive processes. I talked to my belly telling it loving thoughts before I put food in it. I filled my belly up with healing light to continue the process of mending from my traumatic past.
And today, I am happy to say I am back on my intuitive eating journey and also on a new intuitive healing journey. And my digestive issues have been steadily improving.
This is what I would like to offer to you. If you are struggling with digestive issues or would like to work on your relationship with food and digestion, my Yoga Therapy for Digestion Workshop is for you! In this workshop we will explore how yoga therapy can help improve our digestion through poses, mudra (hand gestures), and yoga nidra (guided relaxation).
The early bird price for this workshop is ending this Thursday January 12 so register today for only $31.50 with GST by sending an e-transfer to email@example.com with a note about which workshop you are registering for and your email address so I can send you a welcome email.
If you aren’t able to make the workshop, I also made you this Yoga Nidra for Digestive Health that you can download and use any time to help you on your own healing journey.
I hope to see you this Sunday!