You may wonder why I am forever stressing the importance of loving your body. It’s because I know what happens when you hate it. I know the depths of despair and unhappiness that hating your body brings. How do I know? It snuck up on me when I least expected it. It wasn’t a learned behaviour. My mum never taught me to loathe my body by being on a steady stream of diets. In fact, she was always cooking; lots of fresh food and plenty of exotic choices. How on earth did I end up bulimic?
It was an emotional reaction to a situation. I’m a smart woman and I should have been smarter than bulimia. I wasn’t.
In the mid-90s I was working as a vet in the UK. The pay rate was high plus most jobs came with a house and a car. I’d alternate between working and travelling as my whim and bank balance decided. On the exterior it sounded ideal. I really wanted it to be ideal. It wasn’t.
Like many things, the external view was not the whole truth of what was really going on. In spite of my supposed glamorous life, most of the time I was lonely. I felt like a fish out of water to be honest. To cover the loneliness, I ate. To cover the loneliness, I didn’t bother exercising. To cover the loneliness, I became more withdrawn.
I hated my body. Like totally despised it.
I hated how I looked and how I felt.
That’s when I decided to give bulimia a go.
And up until last year I had kept that a secret from everyone; my mum, my husband, my best friend. Up until last year there was only one who knew the truth. She was my travel buddy and she was the one who watched knowingly as I returned to the table from “the toilet” with red rimmed eyes and a mouth shiny with saliva. She was the one who tried to gently suggest that it wasn’t a good path. But I couldn’t trust her to understand how unhappy I was. During those lonely toxic months, not once did I feel like being bulimic was the answer to my loneliness. So why did I do it? Did I feel less alone if I was gorging on food or hanging over the toilet bowl? No way; I felt ashamed and embarrassed and out of control.
And I hated my body even more.
So what did I do? I came home. I harboured residual fear that I had FAILED because I didn’t have a totally glamorous European holiday adventure. Instead what I had done was turn a really shitty situation into a really good example of BEATING myself up. And to beat myself up a little bit more I tried the cabbage soup diet. Just so that I could FAIL at that too and feel even more miserable with myself.
Then I started exercising again. I started eating food I loved that nourished me. I hung out with people who lifted me up. I moved my body from a place of love instead of punishment. And I grew more determined that no-one should hurt or hate their body like I did.
My story continues (if this was a feature film, the pages would be turning super fast on a calendar now!) and I got married, became a teacher and had kids – two girls and a boy.
It was when my oldest daughter was 9 that I had a terrified moment when I thought the past might be repeating itself. Miss 9 asked me whether she should do more exercise if she ate a miniature chocolate bar. She asked if she should worry about being fat? Or if she should just run up and back to the end of our 200m driveway a couple of times to “wear off” the chocolate bar.
Can you believe that?
A gorgeous tree-climbing, gymnastics-loving, book-reading totally normal nine-year-old girl worrying about being fat? All of a sudden I was a 22-year-old young woman alone in a dark flat in the UK. It was like my past was coming back to haunt me. Will she battle with bulimia like I did? The thought of her with her face over a toilet bowl vomiting and being so ashamed and alone filled me with absolute terror. This was not going to happen to my daughter. In fact, this is going to stop now. No more dieting and poor body image. I made a pledge then to do whatever I can to stamp out the war on food and body image.
Real Food Real You is an incredible part of my life. As I said before, I’ve been a vet, I’ve been a teacher and I’m a wife and a mum and a friend and a woman. The ‘woman’ part is what I’m most focused on right now, today. My purpose in life has been defined by my past and my future (my children) and it’s fairly simple: I want women to be at peace with their body and at peace with food.
Food can be an incredibly destructive force. I have lived that and come out the other side.
You may not have experienced an eating disorder, but if you have read this far, you most likely have struggled with some aspects of what I have already spoken about – loneliness, self-loathing, emotional eating, despair, turning away from exercise. You may want your daughter to grow up with a different belief around food than the way you learned.
From the moment I first held a consultation with a client around “food and happy” I knew I could do this – I knew that I was going to change the lives of women. And I have! It’s hard for me to tell you how proud I am of my business and what I have done (it’s the Australian Tall Poppy thing right?!) but I have changed lives. How amazing is that! But check out how this incredible woman’s life changed after doing the Rubicon Project.
From doing supermarket tours, to workshops, to speaking events, Real Food Real You has evolved into this amazing presence that is REALLY TRULY evoking social transformation. How’s that, I hear you ask. Because I’m teaching women how to talk to themselves in a way that will engender positive change from their peers, their children, their partners, their colleagues and more.
Real Food Real You continues to grow and evolve and the Rubicon Project is one of my favourite creations.
What does the Rubicon Project do? It helps you:
Just imagine for a moment that you were in a group with 10 other like-minded women whose stories are similar to your own. In the first Rubicon Project I ran, there were two women whose mothers had both signed them up for diets when they were teenagers. It affected their whole lives, how they viewed themselves and how they dealt with food. Their mums did what they did with love and what they thought was best for their daughters at that time. Neither of these women will EVER diet again. It’s just such a travesty that they had to spend the first half of their lives being on diets.
So for now, let me just give you my disclaimer – the Rubicon Project is not for you if you are not going to be REAL and honest about your relationship with food and yourself.
What will the end result be? PEACE and HAPPY.
If you want to sign up for the Rubicon Project, it’s not easy. In fact, it’s way easier to sign up to another diet program that you will eventually fail at because that’s how diets are designed – to fail and you are expecting that, right?
The Rubicon Project is going to cost you a few things:
If you are sick of hating who you see in the mirror, if you are tired of constantly seeking the magic pill that will remove those unwanted kilos, if you are fearful that your daughter is going to hate her body like you hate yours – then the Rubicon Project is going to be easy for you to sign up to.
Change is not always easy, but it is always possible.
Your peace is important to me. It really is.