Well, you know what they say, age is JUST a number! Isn’t it though? So what’s the difference between these two images, well besides the amazing hair & make-up artistry and killer photography? My mind-set! Yep! It only took me about 33 years of existence to figure it out, and the last 6 to get to practicing it!

What do I mean by mindset? I mean the way I process things, choose to react to them, and the actions that follow. When I was 21 years old in undergraduate school, and stressed out of mind, I honestly didn’t know how to cope. I realize now that I lacked this skill prior to that time period, but this is when it was blatantly obvious. And my Binge Eating Disorder was at one of it’s all time peaks. I was in a program that required a semester of applying including clinic hours, application, and a 3-panel interview just to be accepted. And then once I was in the program, 2 years of course work on top of traveling with various sports team, one of which was from Cornell University. And anyone who knows sports, knows that Division I athletics are no joke. Even at an Ivy League school! So, having a Type A  personality and the need to have a 4.0 GPA, plus my responsibilities with athletic training, lack of sleep, poor self-esteem, and loneliness, food was my only coping mechanism. There was very little thought before diving into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, a jar of peanut butter, and family sized bag of Baked Lay’s, other than ‘this is the last time!’ ‘I’m starting my diet tomorrow, I promise!’ And when I said it, I really did mean it. But the next day would come, and I would find myself in the same scenario, but just didn’t know how to stop it!

Fast forward to 2010, the year I competed in my 1st Bikini Competition and ironically the same year I was officially diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder, and finally sought help. Despite being in the best shape of my life aesthetically, my mind-set was such that food was still my only resolve. One part of my treatment was talk therapy. It was there that I finally realized that I didn’t have a problem with food, but with my thinking. It was stopping myself from being on autopilot and stuffing myself silly with sweet treats, and learning to sit with my feelings. Feelings of loneliness. Feelings of not being lovable. Feeling of not being not pretty enough or skinny enough that a man would ever want me. Not really a very comfy cozy type of place to be, right? I mean, who wants to voluntarily be in emotional pain, and be sad & cry, anyway? Or admit how poorly they feel about themselves and their self worth? Why? When my good pals Ben & Jerry were there to make me feel better, temporarily that is. Until I ate so much that my physical pain of fullness overwhelmed my emotional pain.

I always think about this quote, “be KiNd for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” I mean from the outside I had it all, right?  I lost all the weight, had the best physique I’d ever had, a great career, a home, etc, etc, etc. NO. NO. And NO! Those THINGS are all really nice to have, and I am EXTREMELY grateful. However, changing my mind-set, and learning to stop, rationally think about (Rationale being the key word there!), and take positive self-nurturing actions, is the ONLY thing that has helped me from regaining the 40+ pounds I have lost over the years. You CANNOT go on a diet and think that just by changing your food choices that you are going to lose weight, and keep it off! If that was the case we wouldn’t have to say…’try Atkins, and then oh, Jenny Craig, but wait, Weight Watchers is gonna do this time, and for good!’ WRONG! You MUST change your thinking. I by NO means am claiming to have this mastered. But I have gotten better over the years! I’m kinda like fine wine I guess. I get better with age! LOL!

BELIEVE ME when I say I know this is not an easy task. But if you have been dieting for years or are constantly struggling with your weight, I really hope this impresses upon you to look at your “food issues” through a different lens. Perhaps looking at things from a different perspective, stopping and asking yourself what’s really going on here, you will find yourself having results that you’ve longed for for years!

Love and Light,