Heather’s Peace with Food Disclaimer / Point of View / Learner’s Manifesto :) Just so we're super-clear about what I am and am not.
I wish this were happening in person, in my kitchen or in your living room, or in a perfect café in Vancouver, or Boston, or Nashville or Paris. It’s meant to be a conversation like that.
As you know by now, for the coming year I’m offering out everything I know and am learning about taming disorderly eating and making peace with food. Without exaggeration, it’s been a lifetime study for me, although I became conscious of this struggle when I turned 13. Before then, I was blissfully eating ice cream from a gallon bucket and living in stretchy pants. Suddenly, I wanted to be slender, beautiful and acceptable.
So, what do I possibly have to offer to anyone else with similar aims?
My real expertise on the topic of well-being comes from having done pretty much everything wrong or awkwardly. I am a seasoned veteran of chronic, extreme dieting, physical laziness and calorie-burning obsession, devastating self-image, and a closet eating disorder (or two.)
I can tell you all the unhealthy ways to try and be physically attractive, except, perhaps, the use of prescription or street drugs or smoking to lose weight. I can, however, tell you a very ironic and (now) funny story about over-the-counter weight loss medications like Dexatrim. That will come in time.
As far as being an expert on the human body wonder, intricacies and functioning, I’m almost entirely self-taught through others who are/have been seen as experts. This would include classes, books, online research, professors, innumerable articles, and mentors of various kinds over about 40 years. It also includes the merciful, patient intervention of a medical doctor just after I graduated from high school...and the friend who told me I needed to get help.
I do have certification as a facilitator and coach from the Arbinger Institute, which specializes in conflict transformation and the recognition and resolution of a condition known as “self-deception.” Arbinger helps individuals, organizations and companies build a culture of inward integrity and outward mindset. I highly encourage people to explore their work. It helps with all my stuck places. (Incidentally, I don’t work for Arbinger, so no affiliate rewards, etc.)
What I am is a teacher (full-time, alternative education environment), a marriage partner (with a spouse who, for 30 years, has lived through my learning about wellness and been a bit of a laboratory guinea pig), a mother of nine (no typo) amazing kids (now all teens or young adults), and a persistent seeker who desires more than anything to make and live a really good life...in health. And, I am happy to say, I am very often at peace with food.
I’m also a writer with a major life purpose of helping others on their way. So, when I was thinking about the kinds of needs there may be around me and what I could possibly share from the reservoir of my life experiences, the idea of Peace with Food was born.
Here is what I am offering: a degree of understanding and empathy, commiseration, a pile of life lessons, some information about what has worked for me, and a sincere hope to be helpful to others who experience disorderly eating.
I can’t claim that anything I say is your truth, too. Please keep that in mind as we take this walk together.
Part of the reason for this is the difficulty of finding absolute truths about healthy eating. For every study or approach I might share with you, there will be another -- claiming equal authority -- that is diametrically or substantially opposite. It’s almost a rule.
I promise to tread very carefully when sharing information from anyone but myself. When I do, I’ll explain what rings true, what has benefited me, and I’ll tell you what my reservations are.
Because here is what I absolutely believe:
YOU are in charge of your health, even if you’re currently dissatisfied with it. It’s your body, you need to take care of it, just like I need to take care of mine.
I also believe in your intelligence and intuition, and that you are both capable and responsible to receive advice, facts, ideas, suggestions, scientific discoveries, alternative viewpoints, and stories, test them in ways that seem reasonable to you, hold them to the light of the truth you already know, and make smart decisions about the matter.
With that in mind, thank you.
Thank you for investing time and interest in yourself.
Thank you for entrusting some of your time and thinking power with me.
Thank you for remembering that I am still very much on a path of learning.
Thank you for paying forward any good that comes to you.
I wholeheartedly hope what I share is beneficial. I hope it results in better health, better self-understanding, and better ways to be with food. It has done this for me.