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See this girl?

She was eating clean foods. She was the thinnest she’d been since having kids. It was thrilling to be wearing smaller clothes and having a flatter tummy! She really thought she looked GOOD!

What you don’t see is that she was practically starving herself. Not because she had an eating disorder. But in hopes that she could avoid reactions and extreme inflammation. She had to cut out dairy, gluten, soy and nightshades. Even still, her symptoms were only slightly better.

She ate every bite of food in fear. If her food was contaminated with even a tablespoon of butter, her hands would swell before the meal was over and would continue to hurt for days later. She couldn’t even pick up her toddler normally because of the near constant hand, wrist and neck pain.

 

No answers

She was running herself ragged going to acupuncture, craniosacral and chiropractic appointments. Everyone was baffled. She was doing everything right. But the pain continued and she still woke up with reflux every day. Not only was she always stressed about eating, she was also terrified that the unresolved digestive issues were going to cause cancer, a disease that stole her dad from her earlier that year.

Because there was no diagnosis for this storm raging in her body, she often suffered in silence because she didn’t feel like she had a legitimate illness. And when people did know what was going on, she wondered if they thought she was just doing this for attention. Mentally and emotionally she was not in a good place. She wasn’t happy.

 

 

Now see that girl?

She wakes up every day in dread of choosing what outfit she will wear because her body has changed. She’s gained 20 pounds after her last child was born. Her body is  s t r e t c h e d out and soft. Her thighs and butt are larger and lumpier than ever. Sometimes when she passes a mirror, she wonders whose body is really in the reflection.

But what you don’t see is a woman who is working hard to love her body in whatever state it’s in! She’s living in a body that still delights her husband. It’s given life to 7 babies and grew and birthed 3 of those. It’s fed those babies for almost 9 years! The saggy skin and stretch marks were earned and are testimony of just how great this body really is whatever shape it is.

Another thing you don’t see, is that she can now eat almost anything she wants without any pain. Why? Who knows! But she gets to enjoy ice cream again on long summer nights, pizza on lazy Fridays and no longer has to ask for the allergy menu any time she eats out!

 

A change

This didn’t come easy though. Not because she had to heal her body. But because she had to change how she viewed food.

Diet culture plus her own experience of food hating her, left deep scars. It vilified that ice cream and made pizza evil. For the longest time she had guilt for harming her body for these indulgences. She felt like a kid stealing cookies from the jar. She sneakily ate each bite just hoping her body wouldn’t notice the toxins she was feeding it.

Then it dawned on her. Food isn’t evil! And eating isn’t always just about the food. It’s about the family time. The memories.  The freedom to just love life!

Not now

Would she like to drop 20-30 pounds? Absolutely! But she’s not willing to sacrifice the life she has right now to get there.

She’s not going to alter her diet because the memories of being restricted are still too fresh. For once in her adult life she isn’t dealing with daily discomfort so she isn’t going to work out because she knows it will cause pain (even if it’s temporary)!

Things may change in the future but right now she is just rejoicing that her body has energy and ability to truly live! She can easily pick up her newest toddler, take her big kids to play with friends and cultivate a life that she can look back on and think, “I’ve really lived.

She truly loves who she is right now and that’s about the most anyone can hope for in life!


What about you? Do you need to live and love more? Or are you under the bondage of diet culture? Have you had your own struggles with your health? I’d love to hear where you are right now!

 

When I was a teenager, I lived for the silly quizzes in teen magazines. I remember one of them even had a whole issue of quizzes! It was the best thing ever! See, I was a teen before the internet completely took off and before Buzzfeed was a thing. I had to rely on magazines to tell me what summer trend was perfect for me or what kind of best friend I was.

As an adult, these silly quizzes were replaced with personality tests. Oh, yeah! Am I an introvert or an extrovert? What’s my color or my gemstone? What animal am I? All. The. Tests! (For the record, I am an introverted, yellow-green, pearl horse.)

I feel like the problem with many of these tests is that some circles assign a hierarchy of types. One is ideal and if that’s not you, YOU ARE flawed. And as you can see, I’m definitely not what many would consider ideal.

Ennea….what??

When I first heard about the Enneagram it was totally over my head. Sometimes I decide I have enough info in my brain and there is no room to learn anything new. For months, I proclaimed how much I hated the Enneagram! I wanted to love it, but I couldn’t.

I had taken the tests, even paid for a test! They were inconclusive. I tested exactly equally a 6 and 9 with 5 right behind them. Everyone else knew their number (and their wing! What?) without a doubt and I was waffling and confused!

I don’t remember exactly what changed it for me, but I know I was giving it another stab and reading through some descriptions, which now I know is really how you should type yourself anyway, and it hit me, I was a 6! I. was. a. SIX!!! Finally!

Every single description resonated with me. I felt like someone had walked into my life and found out my inner feelings, thoughts and….no, get out! It was too real but it was then that I fell hard in love with the Enneagram.

No excuses!

I have long said that I felt like personality tests were just a way to excuse your poor behavior. But the Enneagram is not that way! It tells you what your type looks like when you’re healthy and doing well and also when you’re stressed. So your behavior is understood but not excused and you have a path to follow for growth.

I’m not exaggerating when I say this has changed my life! I had validation for my feelings but also a direction to move to improve. As a 6, I know that I want nothing more than to be safe and secure (which is something I identified a few years ago even before knowing my number!). I also know that when I am doing well I will have some qualities that healthy 9’s have. My anxiety will be moved aside and replaced with being at peace. And I know when I’m stressed I’ll take that anxiety and multiply it by an unhealthy 3’s feelings of worthlessness.

 

Know thyself

The Enneagram focuses on your motivations more than just your actions. This has helped me really understand myself. Rather than focus on my fears and anxiety on any given thing, I now recognize that I am just searching to feel safe and secure. I don’t have to beat myself up when fear stops me in my tracks, instead, I can identify what would help me feel safer, do that and then move forward tackling whatever is scaring me! I also know that being a 6 means I want input from those I love. This explains why I spend a lot of time asking for advice and running ideas past people before I jump (I want to feel good and safe, see?). That’s also why as soon as I’m done writing this, I’m gonna send it to by bestie before I hit publish!

Gone are the feelings of being weird and alone. Instead, I just feel like a 6 and I know there are lots of other people out there feeling just like I do! I also don’t feel like being a 6 is any better or worse than any other number. Being a six comes with gifts and struggles just like every other number.

It Takes Us ALL!

And here’s the big secret, it takes ALL of us to make this world work! The Enneagram illustration itself shows us how interconnected we all are! What would the world be like if there weren’t people like me questioning every decision, thinking through every possible scenario and making sure everyone is safe? Or what would happen if we didn’t have 2’s to make sure we’re all taken care of and happy? Or 7’s to keep us spontaneous and loving life? It takes ALL of us!

So if you hang around here long, you’re likely to hear more about the Enneagram. I’m not an expert yet but we can learn together!

Can I have your number?

Do you know your number? If not, I do still suggest taking a test, this free one will do! Then once you have 2 or 3 top ones, read about them a lot. One day, it will hit you square in the eyes! You will feel exposed and vulnerable but then you will feel exhilarated and understood! Really!

Tell me below what your number is or if you don’t know, let’s chat and see if we can figure it out so your life can be changed too!