Body dissatisfaction starts in girls as early as age 5. 81% of 10-year-olds are afraid
of being fat. 46% of 9 to 11-year-olds report being sometimes or often on a diet for
weight loss. What we teach our youth matters. I know because I am part of these
I became obsessed with weight loss when I was 8 years old. I started waking up
earlier, so that I could pack my own lunch for school. I packed a salad because
that’s what I believed would help me lose weight (or just prevent me from gaining
weight). I skipped breakfast and purposefully dished up smaller portions at dinner
Did I lose weight? Of course not. I was 8 years old. A time when my body was
growing and developing. Was I overweight? Not at all. I had an absolute warped
image of myself. I remember one of my classmates had a pool party for his birthday.
When I heard we would be wearing bathing suits, I immediately thought to myself,
“I’ll have to wear a shirt because I’m too fat.”
People often think that people who restrict their food intake does not enjoy food or
eating. It’s quite the opposite. For these people, food is an obsession, and every
waking moment is spent thinking what you ate and what you will eat. For some this
results in anorexia or bulimia and for others in binge eating. The latter was the case
I remember multiple occasions where my parents would make something yummy
like cake, pasta, or fresh bread. I would think to myself, “I can’t wait to be older
because then I’m going to eat the whole cake/ the whole pack of pasta/ the whole
bread by myself.” For some reason I thought that being an adult means that I
couldn’t get fat.
My binge-restrict lifestyle took a toll on my health. Not only did I restrict the
nourishing home-cooked meals that my mom made, but I binged on highly
processed foods like pastries, sweets, chocolates, and two-minute noodles. This
holds devastating consequences for your health because your body is unable to
perform daily tasks without the right nutrients.
By age 9, I got my first period, coupled with awful PMS. By age 10, I got severe
eczema and was put on antibiotics for 3 years until I was old enough to go on
Roaccutane. From age 13-21, I’ve been on Roaccutane 7 times. I was also put on
the pill at age 18 since the doctor believed that my issue might be hormonal. Not
once was I asked about my diet and lifestyle.
At age 22, I started to develop multiple other ailments such as joint pain, brain fog,
poor memory, mood irregularities, and multiple gastrointestinal disorders. By age,
24, I was diagnosed with:
Everything in my body was falling apart – from my hormones to my digestive system,
to my cardiovascular system, to the health of my bones and joints.
I realized that if I wanted to heal my body, I would have to do it myself.
Step 1: Get Off All Drugs
The first step was to get rid of all the medications. Roaccutane, the Pill, and multiple
supplements. I did research on all the side-effects associated with these drugs and
was shocked to find that everything that I was struggling with, was directly related to
one or more of these drugs. We often pop pills without thinking twice. If you knew
what those drugs were doing to you, you wouldn’t be taking them so lightly.
Step 2: Improve my Relationship with Food
A big part of my healing journey was addressing my relationship with food. I took
some time every day to write down my thoughts and feelings. I watched countless
Ted Talks about overcoming food addiction and mastering the mind. I came across
one talk that really stuck, “A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit” by Judson Brewer.
Judson explained that behavior follows one simple pattern:
Trigger -> Behavior -> Reward -> Repeat
He explained that if we wanted to master our behavior, we should first identify our
triggers. For me, my bingeing was triggered by 3 things:
1. Being home alone
2. Being sad or anxious
Then you should assess your response to these triggers. I would either binge on
whatever pasta, bread, pastry, noodle, or junk food I could find in the house, or I
would go and buy it. By reacting to these triggers, I get a surge of dopamine, and
this keeps me coming back for more. Again, and again, and again.
So, how did I change this? I changed the way I reacted to my triggers. Your brain
can’t distinguish between sources of pleasure. It only knows that it feels good. So,
by replacing my rewarding binge behavior with a different type of reward-behavior, I
could break the cycle.
If you want to know more about how I overcame my food addiction, you can read my
blog post on Overcoming Food Addiction.
Step 3: Using Food as Medicine
We often think of food only as a source of fuel. But it’s so much more than that. You
are a collection of trillions of cells and each of those cells depend on the food you
eat. If you eat crappy food, you’ll have crappy cells, which means you will have a
crappy body, and feel like, you guessed it – CRAP. If I wanted to repair the damage
of almost 20 years of drugs and poor lifestyle and dietary choices, I would have to be
strategic about my dietary choices.
So, after a lot of research, I decided on the following:
1. A 90% plant-based diet
When I say plant-based, I mean PLANTS – fruits and vegetables. People often
confuse plant-based with veganism. They’re not the same thing. A vegan diet can
be filled with toxic foods such as refined white flour, sugar, and highly processed
seed oils. These foods break down your body and does not support the natural
healing processes of the body.
A plant-based diet filled with colorful fruits and vegetables supports your body’s
innate detoxification pathways. This helps your cells to eliminate stored toxins,
including stored drug deposits. Plants also provide your body with an abundance of
fiber and glucose, which will give your cells the necessary fuel to rebuild and cleanse
If you’re interested to learn more about plant-based living, you can read my blog post
2. Intermittent Fasting
Fasting induces a process called autophagy. Autophagy is basically your body’s
built-in doctor. When you fast more than 12 hours, your body realizes that it’s not
getting any food, which triggers survival mode. So, your body switches on
To survive, your cells need to conserve energy. And to do this, they need to get rid
of the weakest links. So, autophagy repairs damaged cells, eliminates dead cells,
and recycles inefficient cells – leaving you with a stronger body made of only strong
and healthy cells.
Keep in mind, though, that fasting isn’t a magic pill. Don’t expect to repair years’
worth of damage with a single 16 hour fast. It takes time and commitment. If you’re
interested to learn more about fasting and how you can implement it, read my blog
Our bodies are designed to move. When we stop moving, our lymphatic,
cardiovascular, and digestive systems struggle to function properly.
1. The lymphatic system is part of your immune system and helps rid the body of
toxins. Your lymphatic system uses different organs to rid the body of waste. ,
2. The cardiovascular system transports nutrients to the whole body. Movement
improves blood circulation, which improves the rate at which nutrients can be
delivered to your cells. Improved blood circulation also helps improve:
3. The digestive system digests and absorbs nutrients from food. Movement
aids the digestive process, regulates bowel movements, and aids in the
release of serotonin.
The best type of exercise is the type that (1) does not feel like exercise and (2) is
performed outside. It’s important that you move your body in a way that you enjoy.
My recommendation is that you move your body for a minimum of 60 minutes per
day in whatever way you want to. Dance, do yoga, walk, run, cycle, swim, or just roll
on the ground!
When we move our bodies simply because we want to, exercise becomes less of a
I’m one of those people who can work for hours and days on end without taking a
break. During my healing journey, however, I realised that years of pushing myself
to the limit has taken a toll on my mental wellbeing. For months on end I would wake
up feeling as though my heart was going to burst out of my chest cavity. A classic
sign of a panic attack.
So, I decided to schedule breaks throughout the day where I could sit outside in the
sun, go for a walk, have coffee with a friend, or just lie on my bed and breathe a bit.
I also cut out all stimulants, such as coffee, chocolate, and alcohol, which
overstimulate your adrenal glands.
If you don’t know what your adrenal glands are, or what their function is, I highly
recommend you check out my blog post here.
I also decided that Sundays would be my day off. No work, no clients, no admin, no
laptop. Every Sunday, I would sleep in and do something fun with friends or my
family – such as going for a hike, visiting the local farmer’s market, or having a bite
to eat in town. I cannot overemphasize how important it is to schedule time off for
yourself. It is the key to improving your mental wellbeing and should not be
5. Be Kind to Yourself
I was tired of my negative thoughts and feelings toward myself. I would often nit-pick
at my body and break myself down. If I ate something yummy, I would say, “Now
you’re going to get fatter.” If I didn’t exercise, I would say, “You’re such a lazy fat
ass.” If my skin wasn’t looking good, I would say, “You’re disgusting and ugly.”
I realized that if someone had to talk to me the way I talk to myself, I would remove
that person from my life immediately. The things we say to ourselves matter. What
we repeat, we believe. So, I replaced my negative thoughts with kind thoughts:
Now you’re going to get fatter. -> Food is a privilege that I’m allowed to enjoy without
You’re such a lazy fat ass. -> You’re working hard and deserve a break.
You’re disgusting and ugly. -> You are worth so much more than your skin.
I’m not saying that negative thoughts never enter my mind. But when they do, I
acknowledge them, and remove them. By choosing not to ponder on these negative
thoughts, I take away their power. What you give power to has power over you. If
you choose kindness towards yourself, you will manifest kindness in everything you
Healing takes time and patience. It’s not a linear curve and this might leave you
feeling hopeless and despondent. I encourage you to not give up. Keep at it and
you will see the results, no matter the issue you are dealing with. If you need
guidance or a plan to kick-start your healing journey so that you can take your health
into your own hands, contact me.
Wishing you health and happiness,