I was so tired every day. Just done. Unless I had a nap, there was nothing else to give that day. Was this how life was going to be?
And I was gaining weight. The number on the scale was higher than ever and climbing.
It was time for a change. The direction I was going was not the life I wanted to live.
We were living in Brooklyn. NY. My husband Kris worked 70 hour weeks and we were raising our baby girl. As a family, we chose to change.
We did. We started an incredible health program and in the first week I felt like I got my life back. How I ate before was sucking the energy from my life, but now I had steady energy all day. Impossible! And the weight started melting off. In a short time lost we 55 pounds together.
I was working with a coach and I saw how essential the support was. I had this feeling that "Everyone needs to know about this!" So I asked my coach,
"How do i be you?"
I felt better so quickly, but knew I had the rest of my life ahead of me. I thought if I could help others get healthy too it would reinforce my own healthy habits, and I was excited about having a career where I could work from home on my own schedule.
So I did it.
it grew. fast.
I jumped into the training and had my first group of clients within the first few weeks. After about 8 months my husband came to me asked asked
"do you know you are making more than I am?"
And that rocked our world. He decided to quit his job and we moved to Nashville, TN to be closer to family. We were calling the shots in our life and it was incredible. My husband was living his life-long dream of acting and we spent our days together as a family as I built a career that I was ecstatic about.
and then things fell apart
It's interesting what happens when you take yourself out of the daily grind. You have time to think. You have time to get to know who you really are and what you really believe.
And our marriage started unraveling. We were dealing with what seemed insurmountable issues and a long string of days started that were full of sadness, conflict and confusion.
what can i control?
The foundation of my world was falling apart, and I started grasping to the things that I COULD control. I thought of it as a drive for progress. I would have called it healthy at the time. I latched onto 3 things.
- Building my business. I would spend the morning in tears, and then pick myself up in the afternoon and make calls. I remember one day on a call when I talked to a client and then muted the phone when they talked so I could continue to cry, only tounmute when it was my turn and cheerfully responded.
- What I ate. I ate "healthier and healthier" and very little.
- My exercise. I was pushing myself harder all the time.
Well it worked. My business grew and that was a wonderful light in my life. I enjoyed what I did and it was a good escape for me.
I got down to 14% body fat.
It still didn't feel like enough. So I kept going, obsessed with continual progress.
the binging began
It was so weird. I felt possessed. I had so much control over everything, I cared so much about what I put into my body, and then I would spin out of control. It started small like a second helping, and then a third, and then anything I could eat as fast as I could. I felt scared and disturbed. I would eat until it was painful and I couldn't eat anymore.
The next day I would be horrified. I would work out extra hard, be extra diligent with what I ate. Then I would binge again, regain control, and binge again.
One day, when pushing myself especially hard at the gym, I collapsed. I just lost all energy. I couldn't move or walk and broke out in a cold sweat. One of the fitness instructors found me and was kind enough to drive me home.
I was pregnant
In the above picture I was actually already pregnant. And things changed again. My binging got worse. My life got more complex.
It was a difficult pregnancy. I was terribly sick daily.
One morning I wasn't just sick, I was in pain. I laid on the couch breathing and trying to let the pain subside.
Then I heard screaming. A few moments later, I realized it was me.
Upon arriving to the hospital, I had already lost a liter of blood to internal bleeding in my abdomen.
I had an ectopic pregnancy that had ruptured.
i wasn't pregnant any more
And after the surgery I couldn't walk. I couldn't restrict my calories. I couldn't work out. And I didn't have control anymore.
I worked on healing but the binging continued.
i was determined to have a comeback
I stared with walking, I focused on eating healthily when I wasn't binging, and I intensified my exercise.
Life seemed to get better and better. My body healed, our marriage healed, and I had formed some amazing friendships with my clients and coaches I mentored.
We had amazing adventures. We went on trips with friends, all expense paid, as a reward for the work we had done. One of the trips was to Cabo San Lucas, and it should have been an incredible vacation.
However, it was an all inclusive resort. And that meant food. It pushed all my binging buttons and that's exactly what I did. I remember lying in the sun filled with anger. I was angry that I couldn't eat even more. I was in physical pain from how much I had eaten and I wanted to eat more, but couldn't. So I laid there trying to digest enough to be able to eat again.
I couldn't dress normally because my abdomen was so distorted from how much I was consuming. While others wore sun dresses on the beach I tried to disguise my body in loose wraps and large cover-ups.
Over the next year I saw so many beautiful transformations and we continued to travel with friends and create incredible memories.
I was living a dream life. But I had hidden my binging for years. I spent so much mental energy on hiding my habit and trying to overcome it. It seemed the harder I tried, the harder I crashed when I would binge again.
I woke up in the morning terrified because I didn't know if I would binge that day. I felt like I had no control or choice in the matter.
Many parts of life were amazing: I had a great marriage, wonderful friends, I was making almost $20,000 a month, I was in good health, maintaining my weight (with huge effort), I had a beautiful little girl, and a fulfilling career.
i had a wonderful life that i couldn't enjoy
That's what it came down to. And I was tired of having this cloud over me every day. I realized that what I was trying wasn't working. The control, the effort, and the secrecy had gotten me nowhere.
As soon as I surrendered to looking outside myself for an answer, a wonderful chain of events began:
i read the gifts of imperfection
This book by Brene Brown changed my life. It talked about my relationship with shame and living an authentic life. It talked about the power of vulnerability. It gave me the courage to do something that terrified me.
i decided to stop hiding
This was how I understood my world: I was a symbol of health. That was my career. I was only good to others if I was a perfect example. If my clients, friends, and colleges ever found out I was a binge eater, it would all be over. I would be exposed as a fake and everyone would go away. My career would be over and my wonderful life that binging was ruining would be ruined by my secret being revealed.
I did it anyway. Because it was authentic. Because it was honest. Because I couldn't NOT do it.
And the exact opposite happened.
I hosted a monthly, national call about healthy living. And on the air, in front of the people who I had been hiding from, I was honest about my binge eating and my real struggles. The people who I expected to go away stayed. Not only did they stay, but the response was overwhelming. I was waking up daily to messages and emails. People were pouring out their souls, how they were struggling too, and how they had been hiding as well. I had no idea that other people were having my same struggle. I thought I was alone in my own brand of crazy.
It's incredible how many of us are trying to look like nothing is wrong. And it's incredible how not one of us is how we appear.
i accepted help
I still didn't have any answers. But somehow being open about the problem, and seeing how not alone I was, gave me hope that there must be a solution. So I stared looking. I worked with some trusted friends, and learned a lot. I was able to go longer without binging. My behavior changed, but internally I felt just as crazy.
Nevertheless, there was a feeling tapping me on the shoulder that told me that this wasn't a daily fight I had to accept -- there was a cure. A way to truly be free of this. Not just a food addict that controlled her addiction, but a FORMER food addict. I felt like there was a way to be free.
i found "brain over binge"
A friend, and a fellow food addict, sent me a message that she was done binging. She was over it. She found the answer.
I didn't believe her.
I just didn't. It seemed too simple and I had already been working on this for over a year. I saw gradual, small changes and I was willing to stick with it.
But that feeling tapped me on the shoulder again and I read "Brain Over Binge." A simple book by a non-expert, Kathryn Hansen.
and i never binged again.
There were some great principles that I had discovered along the way that primed me changing so quickly. And this was the missing piece. I knew even before I finished the book that I was done. I got it. I understood. And I was free.
everyone needed to know
I was so excited to share these principles, along with the ones I had seen help me and my clients already. In combination, they were so powerful. And I started seeing it turn things around for those I coached that were struggling.
I saw how understanding these competing messages from my brain transformed the way I ate, but it also transformed my work, my relationships, and how I interacted with myself.
and now i'm here
After coaching over 500 clients and sharing these principles with individuals and small groups, I had that tapping on the shoulder again. More people need to know. And I have the ability to share it with them. That's why I've started creating weekly videos to show how these principles can work for our real lives.
being a normal eater
I don't like to keep eating when I am getting full. I don't feel hungry all the time. I don't think about food all the time. I can leave food on my plate. I don't binge. I can have one bite and stop.
THESE THINGS ARE MIRACLES IN MY WORLD
i'm still a crazy person
Although I don't eat crazy I still have a long way to go. Currently I am working on body image. The idea is to nourish my body and then let it show up at whatever size it wants to be. And then love that.
That sounds as crazy to me as "and then just stop because you are full" used to sound. And so I have hope.
I am not as skinny as I used to be. I eat healthy, I eat well, and my body doesn't show up naturally at 14% body fat. I had to manipulate my life in a big way to look like that. It isn't a natural place for my body.
But I'll be honest about it now. I'm not perfect, and I can't really be. It's not for me. I am an imperfect, struggling, honest gal who tries to be authentic. It's how I want to live. And it's a journey.
What I love about my journey is that I get to have people come along with me. Other crazy, imperfect humans who want to live a better life. If these principles that have transformed my life and others' could help you too, I would love for you to live some Life With Lydia and join us on the journey.