Transforming Your Challenge Into Victory
Doesn’t she look incredible?
Here’s the beautiful Tosca Reno with her Grand Master’s trophy after yesterday’s win.
I am in awe of this woman’s strength and how she has taken her grief and turned it into something not only positive for herself but has shared what it has taken for her to do this and has inspired so many along the way.
How can we use Tosca’s example in our own lives? Is there something that you are struggling with ie. a relationship, a death, self-love, weight loss, loneliness? How can you take that and turn it into something positive and inspire others along the way?
One of the things that I have and continue to struggle with in my life is judgement from others.
I know that many of you who are starting on your path to clean eating and training have probably encountered resistance and judgement from some people in your lives. When you have gone through an eating disorder and have healed and transformed your life, it is often difficult for people to understand probably because they are so used to thinking that in order to have the body you want you must starve yourself. We know that that is far from the truth. I have never eaten more than I do right now in my entire life, yet I am leaner than I have ever been. It has taken years of breaking through old believes to get to this point because, I like so many was hardwired the other way into believing that less food = better body.
I know how untrue that is now after living it and watching my body change.
Recently, I had a difficult moment with a girlfriend of mine who has been in my life for some 15 years. After enjoying a wonderful birthday dinner for our mutual friend, she, (after her 4th martini) began in what she thought was a loving, supportive ‘intervention’ about how ‘obsessive’ or ‘OCD’ it is that I follow a meal plan, weigh my food and train regularly. The underlying context behind her words was that ‘I must still be sick with my eating disorder’ because I am thin and carefully watch what I eat.
Note: For dinner that night, I enjoyed 4oz prawns, steamed veggies (cooked with no oil or butter, just herbs and spices) and a salad. I treated myself to a couple glasses of champagne and had enjoyed five HUGE meals prior to that dinner. In fact, I had had two coconut butter slathered pancakes right before I got to the restaurant because I had trained late that day.
She was one of the many individuals that had witnessed me nearly die with my eating disorder and have watched as I have moved through recovery to this place of balance and stability in my own life, yet from her perspective, I had not evolved at all and was still restricting (although she hasn’t spent a full day with me ever in the last 4 years) and has not grasped the concept that to put on the amount of lean muscle I have, one must be dedicated to eating, eating clean and eating A LOT.
I am not certain about why, what I eat affects others so much. Perhaps it highlights what they are not doing in their own lives and that makes them uncomfortable (in this case, my friend had a couple spoons of pasta and several martinis for dinner) Perhaps it’s just that they need something to judge because they are finding unhappiness in their own lives.
Whatever it may be, this ignorant perspective does not save room for any kind of understanding, compassion or tolerance of what recovery from an eating disorder of any kind, actually means.
When one is used to perpetually starving and binging for so long, the lines of hunger and satiety are blurred and these boundaries must be re-learned through a structured way of eating. Moreover, I have taken my structure and have found incredible freedom in it by making all of my meals delicious (I mean, I eat pancakes twice a day and I never feel lack or deprivation.) I have no desire to overexercise, starve or deny myself but it has taken years to get to this point and I fully and compassionately sympathize with those who are still walking this difficult path because on that road there is so much more darkness than light.
If my words can add a glimmer of hope to any of you its that one day, the darkness will shift and just as the days become longer in the summertime, so to will your path gradually become lighter. Just keep following your plan and challenge yourself with a new goal each week until your fears are faced one by one.
The fact is, I love the way I eat now. I feel energetic, balanced and whole. I also love the way I train (4 days per week under the provisions of my coach) and I adore my program. I am balanced, I am happy and I am fulfilled.
For those who do intimately know and love me, they know that for the last four years I have worked to build a loving relationship with myself and have taken the time to explore what works for me with my food, training and relationship with my body, and have thrived with the guidance of my coach who has helped me achieve everything that I never thought was possible. A few years ago if you told me that I would be in this place, I probably wouldn’t believe you but I am proud of myself for transforming what could have taken me down into something positive and, I hope, inspiring for others.
Is there more work that can be done? Of course? Would I say I am fully healed? No. I feel that recovery is an ongoing process that involves taking the next step as it naturally becomes available to you. The important thing that I have learned is to not label yourself but to come to the understanding that each person’s view on what healthy is to them is unique and is to be respected. If there is cause for concern then, yes, approach the person and show your concern. If it is judgement fuelled by ignorance then go deep into your heart and find compassion for the person pointing the fingers for if they are pointing one finger at you, they are pointing three back at themselves, literally (you can try the hand gesture).
For me, eating on a meal plan, training, yoga…these are my tools, my structure, my foundation. I adore my way of life and wouldn’t trade it in for anything. My eating disorder has taught me so many powerful lessons of self-love, self-belief, a true understanding of what it means to take your health seriously and the importance of sharing that yes it is possible to heal and that it is my duty to inspire others as I walk my own journey of recovery.
Resistance, judgement and ignorance will always be there, especially when you make a change in your life. The important thing is not to let it throw you but be steadfast in your intention and be true to yourself, just as Tosca has despite the grief of losing her husband and best friend.
So thank you Tosca, thank you for taking what could have potentially brought you down and transforming it into greatness for all of us who are dedicated to our own causes.