Peace At Last

Here’s a picture of my pretty Tracey. Isn’t she sooooo cute with the white spots on her cheeks? I was going to post a picture of my budgies eating, since this blog is about food, but I didn’t have very good photos. I’m often too busy to take a picture, as I’ll sit there and eat my part of an apple or cucumber or whatever, while they nibble their piece. We share meals that way, in our household!

So, food. I was going to tell you about my new freedom. It’s really rather remarkable that after decades of learning and growing, starting with an eating disorder that first manifested at age 17, I have arrived at peace. Those of you who read this blog regularly, will know about it, for the rest of you I’ll quickly summarise: I’ve not had compulsive eating behaviour since I was around 30, and I never did fad diets, but I did watch my food and there’s no denying I was always happier when I lost weight than when I gained it.

All in all, my weight was stable until three years ago, when I suddenly put on quite a lot over a relatively short time, and without compulsive eating. You’ve also read about my speculations as to why this has happened. I have once again introduced healthier food, mostly organic, as little as possible processed, but the weight hasn’t shifted.

Now, to set this straight: I’m not overweight in any medical definition. I used to be a lot slimmer, although I was never model-skinny; I always had curves. Now I’ve gone up about two clothes sizes and people who didn’t know me before 2010, think of me as fairly normal-sized. For me, the issue has been that I KNEW my body slimmer, and my clothes don’t fit anymore (sigh at those skinny jeans). So I kept on trying.

And now, quite simply, I’ve had enough. I’ve decided that life’s too short and that while I’m healthy, I may as well just enjoy my food. I also decided that I LIKE not feeling bad or thinking of the extra pound I might put on when I eat something rich. Almost symbolically, my bathroom scales broke a few months ago and I haven’t replaced them.

This is not about healthy eating, or getting into shape, or advice of any kind. It’s my personal journey and the point I’ve arrived at is pure enjoyment. I eat what I like. Thankfully I like a lot of things that are good for me; plain, whole food. Sometimes I eat something processed if I fancy it. For the very first time in my entire life, I don’t judge it or feel anything other than pleasure.

At the same time, I’ve stopped looking at my body with a critical eye. I’ve instead replaced the words I used to think with “lush”, “curvy”, and “voluptuous”, and you know what? I love my body. It’s pretty much the most awesome body ever. It works, it makes me feel good, it carries me through my life, day by day, without fail.

How long has it taken me to arrive at this? Just over 25 years. That might not sound very encouraging for those struggling with their relationship with food and their bodies, but think of it this way: Most people struggle their entire lives, and compared to that, 25 years doesn’t sound so bad. Also, I have felt pretty happy for most of that time. My compulsive eating behaviour disappeared about 15 years ago. I’ve been able to enjoy food. It’s the total freedom of eating what I like and not even wondering what I might weigh, that’s new these days.

So, that’s my journey, and it turns out it made for a rather long blog post. I hope with all my heart that it’s encouraging to those who still struggle, rather than off-putting. The journey is beautiful too, but the arrival, I have to say, is blissful. Yay!

News From The Tribe

Sue wrote this incredible post about surrendering last week. It’s so full of wisdom in a world where we’re often encouraged to do, do more, try harder, push forward… I truly recommend you read it.

Crystal blogs about green living. I particularly loved this article about criteria you might not have thought about which make a place to live greener. Check it out!

24 thoughts on “Peace At Last

  1. So many women have a difficult relationship with food and their body. I'm glad you've arrived at this conclusion πŸ™‚ It makes for a happier life

  2. It's been long coming! Something I've “known” for many years, yet to actually feel it in every last cell of my body took a long time πŸ™‚

  3. It seems to be the right year for this. I have read of more and more women saying – enough! I am good enough! Myself included. Good for you to realize this at a much earlier age than I did. Be careful of the panic attacks that come from time to time and enjoy the journey.
    Hugs and Sparkles

  4. The thing is, I've “known” this ever since I worked on my eating disorder so long ago, but it's finally arrived – no more panic attacks any more now, thank the gods.
    Much love, hugs, and sparkles back! I need to listen to your stories more often πŸ™‚

  5. I haven't had a scale in my home for years and I feel much better for it. I'm not constantly checking on those 1 or 2 pounds like a crazy person. I agree with you about enjoying life and food in a healthy way. I'm so grateful for my body and what it does for me.

  6. It makes so much sense, doesn't it? It boggles my mind how media and society expectations have screwed up this very basic enjoyment of life for me. But I've taken it back! Yay!
    Much love xx

  7. The media is putting so much pressure on women with photo-shopped, make-believe images. It's crazy really. It took me a while to learn and accept that a woman's body changes over time. It's nature. I used to be able to eat what I wanted in my twenties without putting on any weight; in my late thirties I had to start watching my diet and have done so ever since. It's good, because I eat healthier food and exercise more. I'm not as skinny as I used to be, but I think that's a good thing, too πŸ˜‰

    I'm glad you've found happiness with your body, Sibylle; life is too short indeed to fret about a few extra pounds…and let's not worry about those pesky wrinkles starting to appear either haha πŸ˜‰

    Christiane

  8. Hehe, so true! I thought about this a lot after writing the blog post, and especially after the comments came in, and I believe I've already had an above-average relationship with food and my body, compared to other women who feel shamed all the time. This last step is just the icing on the cake, really!
    Speaking of cake… mmmmm πŸ˜‰
    Much love! xx

  9. Lovely post Sibylle, I feel like I want to give you a big virtual hug and high five! I had the experience growing-up of being very skinny and people used to call me 'bean pole' and 'lanky' (I also hit 5'11 at 15) and I longed to be just a bit curvier and more 'womanly' but no matter how much I ate I never got any bigger. I am very comfortable with my body now but it took time. We come in all shapes and sizes – and all are beautiful – how wonderful if the media could remember that more often. xx

  10. Sibylle, this is great and it's one of the things I'm really enthusiastic about with Gorgeously Full Fat, but I did notice that you mentioned you're not actually overweight at all, you just wanted to be slimmer for many years. I *am* significantly overweight and I really do struggle with the media telling me I'm disgusting, society rejecting people of my weight and size as 'greedy, weak-willed and lazy' and knowing that's NOT true. I have a problem with food and I do comfort eat. If I stopped worrying about my weight and size, it would be great psychologically but I would still face the same judgmental opinions of other people and although I KNOW fat people aren't this hideous stereotype we're painted as, and I try to fight it with my blog and Facebook work, I still feel like it's an uphill battle. It's fabulous being comfortable in your body – but much harder if your body type is deemed unacceptable…thanks for posting about your journey πŸ™‚

  11. Yeah, wouldn't it? I actually consider myself lucky these days that I developed this eating disorder, because it forced me to *learn*, and from around my thirties on, I've been able to enjoy food and my body to a much greater extent than most women.
    I used to be a “beanstalk” myself when I was 15!
    Much love xx

  12. I hear you SO much on this! You know, in the eyes of the media (and the average teenager), I'm “fat” too, and it's been such a struggle to detach myself from this. After my therapy, I've become very open-minded, and it was never a problem accepting others in all shapes and sizes – but when it came to myself, I was mercilessly judgmental for a long time.
    Your website and blog are so very important – we need voices against this madness, a lot more of them!
    Much love xx

  13. I so get that – I have no issue with other overweight people and champion their right to be whatever size they choose. I think there are so many gorgeous fat women (and I like chubby men myself too) so why can't I extend the same acceptance to myself?

  14. Sibylle, I needed to read your story today, for I am on a new journey around food myself and your grounded self-acceptance is lying lightly on my shoulders, wrapping me in self-love. Thank you.

    And my eyes misted when I saw you recommended my blogpost on Surrender from last week. Thank you, sister!

    My heart to yours, blessings,
    Sue

  15. Thank you so much for your lovely words! I'm so very glad that my journey resonates with you. I wish with all my heart that women everywhere could escape those manacles of body hate.

    Now that you mention it, I think the way I arrived my current state of peace had a lot to do with surrendering. Co-incidence? I think not!

    Much love xx

  16. I know, it makes no sense, does it? That's how deeply ingrained our self-criticism is. It takes a lot of love to counter that!

  17. I love this! I'm tinkering with a concept called “weightless” which means not assigning your body a number. I haven't weighed myself in quite awhile and it feels good to live that way. Yay for you!

  18. I love the idea! “Weightless” is exactly the word that describes my relationship with food these days. For once I'm not asking myself “will I put on weight if I eat this?” but simply “do I really fancy eating this?” Sooooo liberating! xx

  19. Thank you for sharing. I am a recovered anorexic. Yes I can finally say this and not feel like I am lying – haven't weighed myself for a long time and not counting calories anymore and no guilt whatsoever when I eat, I let it nurture me, give me energy, I love food now. I feel so free. It started when I lived by myself in the US when I was 15. A lot of stuff happened there and when I returned home my parents had gotten a divorce. All went downhill from there. I think what triggered it was my family saying: “gosh you have become fat” (yes I gained weight in the US but didn't really care back then) instead of “welcome home”. That triggered something and I also really didn't want to be here anymore (I had this feeling all my life, but it got worse). So 16 until like 2 years ago I struggled with this. Suddenly something clicked and I decided that I do belong here and I WANT to be here so badly. So now I take good care of myself. Self love and care is a big challenge for me. I still don't take enough me-time. But I am aware of this and I am trying. Babysteps. Foodwise I am a bit of a health freak I admit, but after putting my body through so much I just want the very best for it right now. I also feel much better leaving out certain foods like cowsmilk and wheat (no more bloating yay!!). So thank you so very much for sharing. You know this is the first time I have written this online. I feel ready to put this out there and in the future I want to help anorexics recover. Choose life!

  20. Thank you so, so much for sharing your story, ChaCha! I can just about fathom that it was quite a major step after all this time. I love your openness, and it's wonderful that you “chose to live” and freed yourself. I think we all do this in our own time, nobody can tell us how or when, just give us love and set a good example. It'll only happen when we are ready to let go of the compulsive behviour of our own accord.

    You've been so very brave. What an inspiration! I think it is important that we share our stories, so others who are still in the middle of the nightmare can see that it's indeed possible to leave it behind.

    Much love! xx

  21. Thank you so much for allowing the space for all of us to share. I think this is so important. I have been fighting life by myself for so long. I am ready to surrender and allow my true self to emerge. And let other people in. I am tired of doing it by myself and am ready to share and ask for help.
    Thank you!!

  22. Yes, opening up and asking for help are so important. Somehow we women often have this insane idea that we have to do it all by ourselves (and help everyone else along the way!) and that asking anyone for help would be a nuisance. It's about time we broke free of this! πŸ™‚

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