At the age of 11, during a summer vacation, I secretly went on my first diet ever. It was a 500-calorie diet I found somewhere in the house and I followed it to the letter. That was my initiation in a lifelong battle of disordered eating. Losing weight and gaining it all back and a bit more. Eating in hiding. Emotional eating. Starving and eating. Eating and starving. Resolving to really begin tomorrow or Monday... My days were good days or bad days based on my eating. I was always searching for a new plan, hopefully the last one. I tried all diets on the planet, bought pills, visited a hypnotist and an acupuncturist, and over trained myself. Although there were some periods in between where I stayed on an acceptable weight, the battle was always present, wasting away precious time, energy, and money I could have spent in a much better way.
OBEDIENT PLATE CLEANER
I grew up on the island of Curacao, as the second daughter in a family of five children. As far as I can remember there has always been a deep longing in my heart for things to be nice, sweet, peaceful and beautiful. For harmony, love and tenderness. I was always a dreamer. Dreaming about being a princess or someone in a fairy tale, living happily ever after. But there was no question I could ever be that because I was too tall and chubby for my age. My mom would harshly remind me of that fact. My mom was a very down to earth Dutch woman, who left her country to follow her husband to his native island, bringing her into a very different culture than the one she came from. She had no time for my nonsense and desires. Whenever I said “I want …” her quick reply would be “you have nothing to want” even before I could finish my sentence. And since I was a still and obedient child, eager to be good, I would be the best me I could be and always finish my plate, as that was considered a virtue in our house and family that would result in a compliment. Always there was a deep longing to be someone I could never be...
In the beginning of 2018, I reached a point of deep despair. In 2017 my parents had died within 4 months of each other. Our first Christmas without them I did not want to stay in Curaҫao, so we went on vacation to Colombia. There I fooled myself into believing I was doing fine with Intermittent Fasting most of the time, while daily indulging myself with 3 glasses of wine and consuming massive amounts of sweets all within my 5-hour eating window. And so, I slowly started regaining the weight that I had lost during the year before.
I did not want to face it and avoided the scales. As I learned to live life without my parents, which put a heavy strain on me I continued giving in to emotional eating to the point that there were days I felt immensely sick of all the sugar that my body had to digest. But I just could not stop. ‘Just one more time. I’ll really start tomorrow. One last time.” I dragged myself out of bed in the mornings, with painful knees and a feeling of inflammation and a growing fear I could become diabetic.
When friends invited us to go on a 3-week vacation in North Carolina for the summer it seemed incredibly attractive at first, especially after that heavy year behind me. Until I started thinking about the impact it would have on my weight that by now had skyrocketed to a record high of 95 kgs. A weight I had not seen in about 20 years. I started to dread the vacation ahead of me. I went back to Intermittent Fasting, but all to no avail. Months of searching on the internet again, evening after evening, hoping to find the once and for all cure, the magic plan, the one I could stick to and that would melt away the pounds and give me some rest in my head and my heart.
I got to a point where I had to look deep inside. Here I was, with the opportunity to go have a wonderful vacation and being so upset and fearful about it?! I decided to sit down and face these thoughts and feelings head on, so I could come to terms with myself and continue with my life. I did it my way, which is going into prayer and quiet time, seeking God to give me Wisdom.
The first thing I got on my heart was to forgive myself for speaking out negative things upon myself, like: ‘I am fat,’ ‘I will never lose weight’ and other negative and destructive thoughts. I also consciously forgave others that have hurt me with negative and hurtful comments about my weight. After doing so, I came at peace with myself and I decided to stop the hunting for a solution to my weight problem.
SLAYING THE DRAGON
A few days later, I received an invitation in my mailbox about a webinar on healthy eating and this led me to a website called” Never Binge Again™”. ‘Reprogram yourself to think like a thin person on the food plan of your choice.’ That resonated with a verse I love that says, “… be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”
The next day I immediately printed the information and the food plan guide and started reading. When I read about the way Dr Glenn Livingston conquered his own binge eating problems, by setting up some clear rules for himself, I realized that I could take back the power I had ‘given away’. Immediately the penny fell. I felt this deep conviction that this was the answer I had been searching for. Especially after I had read about the “deprivation trap” and how overeating had deprived me of so many things I longed for. Reading about the “engineered foods” and “excitotoxins” I decided I would never eat sugar, nor processed junk again. A crystal-clear plan unfolded in my mind. I came at peace with going on vacation. I made a sustainable food plan and stuck to it for 100%. By the end of my vacation my friend asked me about the incredible discipline she had seen. She wanted to know what I was doing.
It is now almost 2 years later.. Not only did I manage to lose 20 pounds in the first few months, but I also managed to keep the weight off during those two years. I can say that for the first time in my life I have experienced a totally changed relationship with food. I cannot recall ever in my life walking in a supermarket at the end of the year and not craving all the stuff that used to call my name. I know now that a rewiring of your brain is indeed possible when you make clear rules for yourself and that one bite, one swallow does count, as it has a compound effect for better or for worse.
MY PASSION TO HELP OTHERS
I have found my niche and my life’s purpose: to bring awareness and to help others overcome their disordered eating patterns by the process of renewing their minds. In turn they are free to find their life purpose and positively influence their loved ones. With this newfound boldness and the courage, I never knew I had, I have finally discovered the beauty within. I discovered how life can change when we embrace discipline and become free of a lifelong burden.