Hi Beautiful Friends!
Last Sunday I wrote a post about how Traveling teaches us to be present. I took a spontaneous short trip to London alone, visited markets, talked to strangers, made friends, ate waffles, and became amazed how beautiful bread can be…. 😉 You can read all about it and the spiritual lessons I learned including all of the foodie bread, waffles, GIANT COOKIES photos in this post.
In today’s post I wanted to talk about how traveling can help overcome our food and body struggles. I went through a dark period about 2 years food and body wise where I embarked on a journey to recover from anorexia and depression. One of the motivations behind writing this blog was to share all the lessons I learned throughout my journey. The words that I wanted to hear when I was going through such a dark period was to know that there would be a light or lesson in going through this difficult period. The glimmer of light and lessons I learned along the way was the thing that helped me keep on going and knowing that someone else could benefit from the journey I went through.
Our food fears
By the time I was slightly weight restored though still underweight (not mentally restored as there was still many disordered thinking patterns i had to let go) I had gone on a planned trip to Greece and Italy with a few of my friends. This was around 7 months into the recovery journey. The thoughts that were going through my eating disordered mind were troublesome. I think I got anxiety / panic attacks during the days leading up to the trip because I knew that:
-I would have to eat food cooked by someone else. My controlling nature didn’t like the fact that I didn’t know the amount of oil / sugar/ fats that would be put into the food when they cooked it.
-I would have to eat food that were considered ‘unsafe’ or have been labelled ‘unhealthy’ by me. This included any fried foods, ice cream, breads, cheese, pastries….
-I wouldn’t be able to eat fruit as much as I could. And that really bothered me.
-I wouldn’t be able to know when or where my next meal was coming from. ROUTINE, structured, portioned out meal and meal times were important for me.
-I wouldn’t be able to count calories that were going in or out.
Perhaps the only thing that comforted me was that I would be walking a lot. I really thought about cancelling the trip altogether.
Now it’s been a little over 2 years ever since embarking on my recovery journey.
On my recent trip to London, my eating disordered thoughts started bubbling up again. The difference this time, was that I had the tools to overcome these thoughts. So I had to find a way to deal and manage my thoughts I had to confront the thought that was whispering, ‘YOU WILL BE FAT’, when I was eating a waffle drizzled with chocolate, eating the most heavenly sandwich, drinking a chailatte…., and talk back at it. ‘No, that’s not true, because it’s okay to eat and nourish yourself when we’re hungry.’
The journey we take and lessons learned
Beyond all of these fearful thoughts, there was a greater part of me that wanted to heal. What i’ve learned throughout my journey is that Life will present us with situations for us to continually learn and grow from. Once we have passed a learning experience, Life will naturally unfold to reveal the next lesson when we are ready to learn it. It’s why that I’ve come to believe that life is working so much for us; never against us. It is interested in our personal growth that it will present us situations and speak to us in ways where we can perceive it most personally and effectively.Life will present us with situations for us to continually learn and grow from. Click To Tweet
The Greece / Italy trip the first time around helped me heal my thoughts around food: to face my fears about eating ‘unhealthy foods’ (and it was really okay!), learned to enjoy food again, overcame my controlling nature of wanting to know and portion out every aspect of food, and learned to trust others cooking and enjoy it again. I learned to listen to my body, respected it when it felt tired, honored its hunger, learned to share and enjoy food with friends again, and learned to eat what I desired and broke out of my habit of counting calories. Coming back from this trip, helped me learn to enjoy eating again and not worry about it too much.
The recent London trip taught me something else. It made me heavily reflect on how much of my life is based on a routine. My mind loves it when it can predict or foresee the outcome of situations or how a day is going to go. It loves feeling safe. Reflecting back to when I was in the depths of my anorexia, the thing that made me hold on to it for far too long was the safety of the routine and ritual of eating / not eating, counting, portioning out food, veggies… Because I was too afraid of what could / may happen if i stepped out of my routine…
What can happen though? Nothing bad will happen when we step out of our comfort zone. It’s actually when we step out of our comfort zone and step into the unknown is when we can really learn and grow.
The London trip really cemented the lesson I’ve been learning for months, and that food is only one part of our lives. Our routine shouldn’t revolve around food. Our life shouldn’t be centered around food, it should be centered around… well life. 🙂Food is meant to be enjoyed, appreciated, and to fuel our bodies to help us SHOW UP FULLY in our lives. Click To Tweet
There will be days when we are super busy and do not have time to prepare our meals and eat many portions of veggies and fruit. That’s okay. It’s okay to order take out too 🙂 It’s okay to experience new foods, share a pizza with friends for no reason at all, have a cookie or two at midnight, because we just want too. It’s really okay.
I hope this post helps you realize that the journey we go through in life is unique to each of us. No matter the struggles though, Life always works out to help us, teach us the lessons that we need to learn and heal.
Now, it’s over to you. What food / body struggles have you gone through and how has Life taught you the lessons that you needed to learn? 🙂 Leave a comment below and I would love to connect with you!