When I first met Georgia in person, I thought "wow."
She was so adorable! And so, so kind.
Georgia drove up to Alchemy on a sunny day last summer to pick my brain about the path that has led me to where I am today. She was one of those souls you knew would go on to do great things. Her warmth and sincerity were contagious. I wanted to squeeze her when she left.
We parted ways and would continue to communicate via social media. It wasn't till I saw her recent blog post that mentioned my good friend Robyn that it all came full circle. I'll let Georgia take it from here!
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We all discover our passions through different paths, whether it's through school, relationships, or personal experiences. And often these passions are rooted in the desire to help others, using the knowledge and tools we have gained to help friends, family, and our community live their happiest and fullest lives. I found my passion for nutrition after experiencing its absence in my life---the absence of delicious food to not just fuel my body, but also fuel my soul. I discovered this passion after entering and surviving an unhealthy relationship with my mind and body, having once viewed nutrition as an enemy and exercise as a way to sustain a very thin physique and fragile self-esteem.
Just over two years ago, I found myself going down the destructive road of an eating disorder. In the midst of my first serious break-up and my senior year of college where the future was unknown, I allowed my stress and depression to manifest itself in the form of restricted eating and compulsive exercise. Not a second would pass when I would not think about calories or how unhappy I was with my reflection in the mirror. As I saw it, food was the only part of my life I had total control over.
As my parents began to notice my weight continuing to drop, I suddenly found my life revolving around doctor appointments, therapist visits, and even sessions with a registered dietitian---the very career I was going into. I would faithfully go to each appointment as their words of advice and encouragement began to play like a broken record. I knew I had to get better. I knew I could not live like this forever. But I did not love or respect myself enough to get better. I was grasping for motivation but kept coming up empty-handed. Even when my doctor said my resting heart rate was at 38 beats per minute and I could feasibly have a heart attack at any time, I was just too sick to understand and connect with the severity of my health.
Near the end of my senior year, I continued to struggle with my eating disorder. Every night I would cry on the phone with my mom, filled with feelings of hopelessness and truly believing I would never be capable of having a normal relationship with food.
But then life took a sudden turn, and I received the glimmer of hope I was desperately seeking. On April 12, 2015, I got into grad school in Portland, Oregon---a place so far away and different from my Midwest roots. I felt excited, I felt nervous, I felt scared AS HELL. But I knew in my heart it was a sign that better days were ahead and I now had some motivation to work toward recovery. A part of me knew I could NOT throw away all that I had worked for to become a Registered Dietitian. I wanted to inspire my future patients. I wanted to be the picture of health! If I did not at least make an effort to heal now, I would never have a chance at achieving my goals and dreams.
The summer leading up to my adventure to the West Coast, I worked with a godsend of a dietitian named Robyn, a personal friend of Alexis and a fellow leader in the beautiful blogosphere of body positivity and food that nourishes body, mind, and soul. She helped me in ways I never thought possible and by the time I got to Portland, I was stronger, happier and somewhat ready to take on a new city on my own.
You might say this was a seed in the growth and development of my new career as a dietitian and the creation of my blog Hustle + Brussel with my best friend Jaime, our crazy passion to help others love themselves. Like be SO crazy in love with not just your gorgeous appearance but the beautiful person you are inside.
While I consider myself to be recovered, enjoy food freely, and exercise to feel like the strong powerhouse I may or may not be, I am by no means perfect and definitely still have days where I cannot stop thinking about that cellulite on my thighs or get angry at myself for the ice cream I ate the night before. I have my insecurities – as we all do am I right? – but now I am more able to resist them, fight back, and keep movin’ on.
Whenever these insecurities creep into my brain, I always remind myself of these four key things I learned about food, health, and freaking LIFE itself through my recovery:
1. Your appearance and self-worth are NOT defined by what you had for lunch today, how many times you worked out this week, or what social media tells you is normal (byyyyye “fitspo” eww).
2. Without our bodies we literally couldn’t do…anything---read, write, sing “Pillowtalk” at the top of our lungs in the car, climb mountains, eat sweet potato fries and hummus and peanut butter aka all my FAV things. So it darn well deserves to be loved so hard every day.
3. Our curves and natural body shapes make us so unique and beautiful! How boring would life be if we were all walking around looking the EXACT same?? When you eat until you’re full (most of the time), exercise to feel good, and eat a balance of healthy foods, your body will move into its natural shape and look amaze. They don't say variety is the spice of life for nothing.
4. Food is not just food. Food is an adventure when traveling to new cities, states, and countries, each with their own delicious cuisine and way of eating. Food is nurturing – whether it be after a stressful day at work, a long run, or when it's that time of month – having a way of soothing the soul and calming the mind. Food is binding ---bringing friends and family together to talk, laugh, cry, and create new memories with each other. And above all, food is a gift.
So I share my story and this picture not to scare you, but to show how it is possible. It is SO possible! It is so possible to fall in love with yourself and rediscover a healthy, balanced relationship with food and your body. To fall in love with "all your curves and all your edges...all your PERFECT imperfections." And never look back!
A year ago I never ever thought I would love myself with curves. I never thought I would love myself after a night of one-too-many margaritas and late-night pizza. I never thought I would love myself in a crop top and short-shorts.
But I do. I love it all.
And Alexis and Robyn and me and everyone in this field want to be here to help you discover this love with yourself.
To find the happy, joy, and beauty in food and your beauuuutiful body.
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