Why do I Binge Eat? What I’ve learned from reading This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide by Geneen Roth

I’m reading this amazing book by Geneen Roth called This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide. So far, 10/10 would recommend to anybody who has EVER struggled with their body image, wanting to lose weight, or their relationship to eating and food.

As a female in her late twenties who is big on self-development and has ALWAYS struggled with food & body image, This Messy Magnificent Life brings to surface some pretty touchy and prickly emotional wounds that I’ve likely tried to bury since the age of 10 or 11, which is the earliest I can remember being self-conscious about my body.

Since starting the book, one question that has consistently come up whenever I’m on the verge of a food binge, or wanting to eat despite already being uncomfortably full, is to ask myself, “What am I avoiding right now?”

What am I distracting myself from?
What are the feelings I’m unwilling to face?
What are the tasks, responsibilities and stresses I’m trying to bury away with this food?
Where in my life am I feeling powerless and small?
Where in my life am I sabotaging my chances for success?

And my gosh, the list of answers never falls short… when I’m willing to authentically look, that is. I’m actually flabbergasted at the sheer amount of stuff crap my mind attempts to bury away and distract me from with sensory pleasure activities. Throughout my life, it’s been many different things: shopping, exercise, alcohol/drugs, busying myself with social events. But the most constant thing has always been food.

I love food. I love how food tastes. I love how food makes me feel. I love the feeling I get when I have a big meal, or lots of food to look forward to. In low moments, food has often been a driver for me to get up in the morning, or get up and dressed even if I’m feeling super lazy.

But I’ve also hated the way I lose control around food. I’ve hated feeling full to the point where I think my stomach is about to tear open, and stuffing my face anyway. I’ve hated the feeling of a meal coming to an end, while others are still working on their plate. I’ve hated the feelings of emptiness and subsequent punishment that has often followed one of my binge sessions; whether that meant pushing myself excessively hard with physical activity, or restricting and under-eating.

Although I’m not nearly as bad now as I was in my early twenties, my body is TIRED. My metabolism isn’t as fast as it used to be, and with where I am in my life, I’m fed up with the narrative of being a failure/not good enough – which, I’ve discovered, is the root of many of my longstanding problems. After over a decade of this sh*t, it’s just getting really old.

To quote Ariana Grande… Thank U, Next!

Turns out there is a lot I’m still avoiding, or haven’t fully dealt with. And I don’t expect to be able to resolve seventeen years worth of deep-seated issues and detrimental self-beliefs overnight. Geneen Roth’s book has been an eye-opener for me, and if you’ve stuck with me this far into my blog post, I genuinely believe it would be well worth a read for you too.

For now, here are the questions I’m asking myself as I navigate my relationship to food and feelings of self-worth:

  • What am I avoiding?
  • What feelings am I burying?
  • What is it that I’m actually starving for that I’m replacing with food (or other mindless entertainment)? i.e. purpose, love, affection, feeling like I matter, etc.

And the beliefs I’m cultivating:

  • I am worthy of love despite my shortcomings
  • I am worthy of abundance despite my flaws
  • I am worthy of happiness despite the mistakes I’ve made
  • My accomplishments/failures do not dictate my success
  • My accomplishments/failures do not dictate my worthiness as a person

Order your copy of This Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide now
Click here to learn more about Geneen Roth’s work and upcoming talks.

🌻 #WhereHappinessBegins
@WhereHappinessBegins_

Featured Image by Dan Gold on Unsplash
This post is not sponsored.

So I’m my late twenties… now what?

Halfway through 2019, and here I am: blogging/e-journalling with a creeping migraine. Some days I feel great about where I’m headed, the progress I’ve made. Other days I feel like I’m so far behind everyone else, why even bother trying?

I’m 27, turning 28 in a few months. Eek. Did I think I’d be here when I was eighteen? Definitely not.

When I was teenager, I thought I’d have everything together by 28. Maybe engaged, or married. Career thriving. Travelling the world. Making and saving comfortably. I thought I’d be the fittest I’d ever be, and basically just have all my shit together.

Now that I’m sitting here, reflecting on the past 10 years, one thing I know to be true is no matter what age you are, it never really feels or looks the way you think it’s going to. I have a pretty unoriginal theory that our physical bodies age at a much faster rate than our minds and souls, leaving us feeling like time has flown by before we’ve had the chance to really live.

I mean, yes, I have a lot more experience and am a completely different person than who I was ten years ago. At the same time, it feels like high school graduation was just yesterday.

Needless to say, 2019/Year 27 has been a year of renewal and realignment. It’s been a year of questioning old beliefs, digging up and healing old wounds, rediscovering who I am NOW today (not who I wanted to be 5-6 years ago), and updating my list of goals and dreams accordingly.

It’s been a year of learning how to set boundaries (still learning), and stepping into my flow whilst relinquishing control at the same time… I know, it hurts my brain too.

Where I think these next 10 years are headed is focusing on becoming the most raw, authentic version of myself possible. The most raw, authentic, creative, go-getting, stock-investing, TFSA/RRSP-maxing, take-no-bullshit, happy, conscious version of myself.

Yayyyyyy. I’m not gonna lie, I’m kinda scared. But then I remember life is extremely, extremely short. All of this life is just going to pass me in the blink of an eye, and none of this small stuff (overthinking, over-worrying, being scared) will really matter.

Then I just breathe, take it all in, and enjoy this beautiful fragile human life for what it is: a tiny blip in the grand history of time. So important and consequential, yet so meaningless and inconsequential. Everything we do matters, and nothing we do matters. Ultimately, therefore, life is what you make it.

What I wish for in my life is to have made a difference in the world for the better, to have loved and been loved, to tell great stories, to create, to laugh, to cry, to give generously; to stand up for what I believe in; to not waste a single second of my precious time and attention; to appreciate every moment, even the bad; to pass on, free of burden and regret.

What do you wish to accomplish in your lifetime?

🌻 #WhereHappinessBegins
IG: @WhereHappinessBegins_

Featured Image by Wolf Zimmermann on Unsplash

Choose longterm happiness over short-term gratification

@WhereHappinessBegins_ Fondation Beyeler Artwork - Cumulo by Tacita Dean

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There is no light without the dark. I don’t believe in the idea of false positivity. Or that the point of life is to always be happy, laughing, and dancing. Every emotion on the human spectrum has its place, cause, and purpose – even the ones we deem as “negative”.
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I don’t believe in burying negative/unwanted emotions with positivity quotes and meaningless feel-good advice that miss the point entirely.
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I believe in self-awareness and going deep to locate the ROOT of our unwanted emotions. If you’re going to distract yourself because you aren’t ready to deal with an emotion yet, at least be aware that’s what you’re doing.
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Choose longterm growth and happiness over temporary emotional bandaids, and lean into the entire spectrum of your thoughts and feelings. Because what you resist persists!
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An ignored thought/feeling will only keep getting louder and louder and louder until it is addressed. It WILL demand to be seen and heard, and likely in ways you do not want.
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Don’t be an ostrich by sticking your head in the sand 😝 Learn to pull back the curtain on the shadowy parts of your mind so that the light and warmth can come through.

🌻 #WhereHappinessBegins
@WhereHappinessBegins_
Artwork: Cúmulo by Tacita Dean
Location: Fondation Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland

Having Total Control vs Having a Life

@WhereHappinessBegins_ @RubyEtc_ When You're Controlling

🙄🙋🏻‍♀️ I’m a control freak y’all.
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Yep. I like to control things. Which is GREAT for detail-oriented work. It makes me very scrupulous and meticulous. Not so great for everyday life though.
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I’m a controlling free spirit. Contradictory, right?

Basically, I’m “spontaneous” until something seriously screws with my plans/vision. I’m adventurous until something unpredictable blindsides me —> What??? 😂🤔
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Up until my early-mid twenties, I wanted to control and contain the unpredictable; my emotions/reactions, my thoughts, relationships, events, other people’s emotions/reactions/actions.
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I would do this through subtle manipulation via domination, people pleasing, mirroring, lying, being passive aggressive, playing games, and “pushing” the right buttons so that things would turn out the way I want.
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Why? Because if I get to say what’s what and who’s what, my ego is safe – I’m safe. If I get to call the shots, control, and predict what’s going to happen, I minimize the risk of getting hurt or left behind. It means not having to deal with as many “difficult”, “annoying”, unwanted, and painful situations.
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My saving grace was my empathy and emotional flexibility. I never INTENTIONALLY wanted to behave that way, nor was it an everyday occurrence. But it was the result of operating from a place of ego, scarcity, and fear.
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In those oft fight or flight moments, I didn’t know how else to be. In a world of “winners” and “losers”, I didn’t think there was any other way to protect myself, or get what I want. And I chose to turn a blind eye to how it was impacting my life and the people in it.
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If you want total control, that’s fine. But understand that total control is an illusion. It doesn’t exist.
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In trying to never fail, never get hurt, and always get “what I want”, I also got an inflated ego, frustration, cynicism, resentment, judgement, and broken relationships.
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So I choose having a life. I choose imperfection. I choose laughter. I choose friendship. I choose kindness. I choose happiness, and I choose sanity.

🌻 #WhereHappinessBegins
@WhereHappinessBegins_
Illustration via @rubyetc_

Make a choice to stand for something.

@WhereHappinessBegins_ Know Your Worth Illustration by @AshleyMurrayCo🌻🤔💭
“If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for everything.” – Alexander Hamilton
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This is a popular quote I heard a lot growing up. While I got it theoretically, I don’t think I ever understood what it meant.
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I’ve always been able to see multiple sides of an equation. This has been both useful and detrimental in my life.
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My Pros:
• I’m a great mediator in disagreements; between two opposing views
• Mostly open-minded to different opinions, experiences, and ideas
• I would do well on any side of a debate at school 😝
• When I DO decide on something i.e. an opinion or belief, I get REALLY excited; feel peaceful, grounded, and unstoppable from the sense of assuredness
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My Cons:
• Easily swayed/lacking solid ground to stand on because I can see merits to all sides/opinions
• Feeling a weakness in my identity and a sense of being lost/not knowing myself
• Prone to overthinking and rumination because there are SO many sides and factors to consider
• Prone to indecisiveness as a result
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As I continue to grow, experience, and develop, what I’m discovering is the balance between open-mindedness and making a CHOICE, i.e. choosing where I stand on an issue. They are not and do not have to be mutually exclusive.
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Making a choice doesn’t mean I’m necessarily saying the opposition is “wrong” or invalid.
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Making a choice doesn’t mean closing myself off to other possibilities or being rigid. NOR does being open-minded mean I’m forced to take on ALL other possibilities and opinions.
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A choice is simply a statement that while both A and B may be true and valid in different contexts, when held up against my own goals and values, I am more committed to B than I am to A. Or vice versa.
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A choice is nothing more than a stronger commitment and alignment with one option, over another. And for some people, it is much MUCH stronger.
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Regardless, in order to move the conversation along, I think we could all do with a little more willingness to acknowledge opinions and experiences that are different to our own.

🌻 #WhereHappinessBegins
@WhereHappinessBegins_
Illustration via @ashleymurray.co

Healthy Boundaries: Saying YES or NO to Making Plans This Weekend

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As an introvert, this could very well be my motto. Don’t get me wrong, I love going out and doing things. My social calendar was especially jam-packed from age thirteen to my early twenties. These days, not so much.

When I turned 22 or 23, I went from being a busy bee social butterfly – from always needing to be in the social “loop” – to pretty much being a hermit homebody. Maybe it was all those years of non-stop social stimulation catching up to me. Maybe my true introvert self had finally had enough.

Whatever the reason, I have a tendency to operate in extremes.

So when I initially stumbled across this graphic (via @thehavenly) earlier this week, I thought, “YES! Exactly! Say no to plans this weekend! Self-care! Woohoo!”

NATURALLY as a result, I now have four separate plans this weekend, and at least three confirmed plans for next week. Say what?!

My inner introvert is quaking.

While I will likely need to decompress with a good amount of downtime afterward, one thing that really surprised me this week was the realization that I’ve actually missed having regular and authentic human connection. Yes. What a shock.

The key to regular and authentic human connection means saying yes to the things that genuinely bring me fulfillment and joy. That begins with knowing what I value, my boundaries, the kind of person I want to be, and the kind of life I want to live.

A few years ago, a trending message in the self-help world was saying “yes”! Saying yes to new opportunities, invitations, experiences, etc. These days, a lot of the conversation I see and hear is focused on saying “no”. In a society that seems to go back and forth on the subject, YOUR ability to discern when to say “yes” or “no” will be your key to happiness.

Depending on the day and context, it may serve your happiness and wellbeing to say yes to some things; other days, it may be prudent to your wellbeing and self-care to say no. This includes learning how to assert boundaries with “yes, and/but” or “no, and/but”.

When you accept an invitation, remember you get to say when, where and for how long. Only you know what it is you truly need, others may have different needs and can’t read your mind, so don’t be afraid to express those needs.

For example, on Monday, I will be going to a rock show with a new friend. The show goes from 7pm to midnight at a popular venue downtown. With my growing hours of unpaid sleep debt, and an already jam-packed weekend, my inner introvert doth protest. But here’s the thing:

  1. I want to get to know my new friend better
  2. I love music and haven’t been out to a show in a long time
  3. I have the opportunity to go to this show for free
  4. I want to let my hair loose and have some fun!

I weighed the pros and cons, and the rewards I would receive (social connection, inspiration, enjoying great music) were well worth the cost (a few extra hours of sleep and downtime). AND I know the cost is not something to be taken lightly. How I’m taking responsibility for this is by:

  • Getting clear on what I need to feel healthy, happy and well next week
  • Asserting my “Yes, and/but” boundaries
  • Scheduling in time for very intentional downtime and regeneration between plans over the weekend, prior to going out on Monday, AND on Tuesday

My “Yes, and/but” to my friend was this… Yes! I will come, AND/BUT I will probably leave around 9 or 930 because I need to catch up on sleep. Does that work for you?

Admittedly, the response I got surprised even me. Not only was my friend okay with the boundary I was setting, he was so relaxed and nice about it! Needless to say, I think our friendship is going to develop just fine.

Are you grounded in what your mind and body needs? What are you saying yes or no to this weekend?

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Why you should tell the truth and assert your boundaries, no matter what.

As I’m writing these blogs, it’s becoming clear to me just how paralyzed I have been in so many areas of life. Not only do I get stuck in ‘analysis paralysis’, but I’ve been paralyzed in communication from such a young age.

Ever since I can remember, it’s been difficult for me to assert my needs and boundaries. The interesting thing is I’ve never had a problem with being confrontational, or sharing my opinions and beliefs. So what gives? What is the key differentiator that separates the occasions when I’m outspoken vs. unable to verbalize my needs?

Avoiding things that risk my self-esteem, or ego.

As I speculate, one thing that comes to mind is Risk. It’s easy to share my thoughts and feelings on subjects I feel particularly passionate or knowledgeable about, i.e. I feel confident I’m not going to appear foolish. It’s also easy for me to share in social situations in which I feel safe, unthreatened, or socially dominant.

However, when it comes to scenarios where there may be a risk to my esteem and ego, or risks a relationship I care about (professional or personal), suddenly I’m mousey, and revert to a childlike version of myself. As a result of not asserting my beliefs and needs, I develop resentment, frustration, and diminished sense of worth.

Other repercussions include the breakdown of many relationships/friendships, staying in certain relationships for far too long, dissatisfaction in my work/career, feeling like I “never” get what I want, feeling like I’m GIVING too much, and just a general feeling of unease.

By not asserting my boundaries, which I see as the healthy walls we must put up to keep happiness IN, I end up building a different kind of boundary – the kind that keeps happiness OUT.

For ease of distinction, let’s label the latter as “Borders”; the primary definition of which according to Oxford Dictionary is, “A line separating two countries, administrative divisions, or other areas.” Keyword: separating.

Borders, boundaries, walls, the elephant in the room, whatever you choose to call it, the results are the same: they build a barrier between you and other people. Between you and love. Between you and what really matters. They get in the way of you getting what you truly want. Build a border high enough, and eventually you’ll block out any sunlight from getting in; light that is essential to your growth.

It becomes easy to be cynical and resentful of others.

 

That doesn’t mean walking around being a total A-hole with disregard for other people’s feelings. But it does mean cutting the bullshit that WILL eventually break the relationship down, anyway.

To tell you from personal experience, it feels so much better to finally air out your truth. Truly. The liberation and lightness you feel after unloading a truth will have you dancing down the street—EVEN if it costs you the relationship.

Is it easy? Nope. Is it risky? Yep. Nerve-wracking, exciting, scary, makes you feel alive? Yep, yep, yep, and yep. Does it put your relationships at risk? Yes! It absolutely may.

Here’s the thing: a relationship sustained on half-truths and resentment is no relationship at all. You are not doing anyone any favours by holding back. That doesn’t mean walking around being a total A-hole with disregard for other people’s feelings. But it does mean cutting the bullshit that WILL eventually break the relationship down, anyway. And if it’s not the relationship that breaks down, it will be your happiness, quality of life, and well-being that does.

Bullshit takes no prisoners, my friends. And for the most part, healthy relationships are able to withstand truthful and authentic communications.

What truthful and authentic communication includes:

  • Care/empathy
  • Open listening without internal dialogue
  • Vulnerability
  • Responsibility
  • Self-awareness
  • Genuine curiosity
  • Respect for myself and others

What truthful and authentic communication DOESN’T include:

  • Blame/accusation
  • A fixed point of view
  • Defensiveness
  • Assumption – including any unconfirmed “intuitions”
  • Expectation or setting the other person up to fail
  • Labelling the other person, or their actions
  • A fixed agenda

8 times out of 10, when I’m communicating from a place that is truthful and authentic, I am able to come to a new understanding with the other person or people, and resolve any issues/concerns at hand. Even when things don’t work out, expressing your truth—your needs, wants, boundaries, feelings and concerns—is completely rewarding on its own.

People aren’t mind-readers!

Expressing your truth also makes it SO much easier for the people in your life to actually contribute to your happiness! Instead of making them the reason for your unhappiness.

Can YOU read minds with 100% accuracy? If not, you should probably stop expecting others to read yours.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_