Who “deserves” ice cream?

 

I wrote this post in honor of all the young girls who sadly step into the dieting trap with no end in sight. It is my deepest hope that our generation of women will learn how to end the body battle and empower today’s children to create healthy relationships with food and their bodies.

 

I will start by telling you a true story…

 

I was 15 years old in beautiful, sunny Florida on vacation. I remember being out on the town with close family friends. Everyone was eating ice cream except for me. I desperately wanted to eat the ice cream, but I thought I was “too fat” to allow myself to indulge. At this point, I was already a whiz at the dieting game. I had been playing it since I was in middle school.

 

My friend’s mother who was in her 40s and quite overweight held her ice cream and looked at me with envy. She said to me with a sigh, “Oh Michelle, if only I had your willpower.” I silently wondered to myself how long she had been losing her war with food.

 

With sad eyes she looked away and devoured her ice cream. I felt guilty that my “willpower” was making her feel worse about herself. I also felt embarrassed that she was praising me for having control around food when in reality I believed food was controlling me. I also knew it was only a matter of time that I would be overcome by the seductive power of my “forbidden foods” and binge like a crazy person. My “willpower” was very fleeting.

 

I wasn’t sure who was feeling more miserable. My friends’ mother for eating ice cream when she “shouldn’t”, or me for depriving myself of the ice cream because I didn’t think I deserved it. Why did this food have so much power over both of us? Would we always feel this way?

 

It took me decades to find a way to trust myself around food. Sadly, my friend’s mom still feels trapped. She is in her late 60′s, has been on countless crazy diets, feels like a failure in her body, and unfortunately suffers from health issues caused by her excess weight.

 

Although our stories and struggles have been very different, we both started out with the same goal. We wanted to be able to stick to our diets and lose weight.

 

While she continues to look for the “right diet”, I gave up the dieting game years ago. This turning point in my life allowed me to work with my body rather than constantly fighting my body. It is a game anyone can learn if they are open to letting go of the old rules that no longer work and discovering the magic of listening to and making peace with our wise bodies.

 

Nowadays, if I truly desire ice cream or any other previously forbidden food, I eat it with joy rather than with guilt and shame. Sometimes it still shocks me that I no longer feel compelled to restrict myself around food and easily maintain my ideal weight.

 

It pains me to see women stuck in the war with food and their body. I know it can become a lifetime battle. With the risk of sounding too dismal, part of the my pain is knowing that many women, including my mom’s friend, will continue to diet and hate their bodies for the rest of their lives.

 

Don’t let that be you. You have a choice. If you feel like you have tried everything and failed, please reach out for support. It is almost impossible to make these changes without a friend, therapist, or coach who is able to see a higher vision for you.

 

Please do not give up on you or the children who are looking up to you for guidance. No matter how scary it might be, you can let go of old habits and create a healthier version of you. I believe in you.

 

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