As you may recall from a previous post, I lead a group of 12 individuals on a 21 day jump start to healthier living with Zumba Shake Shake Shake. I’ll be updating you on their amazing results in a future blog post, but I wanted to take this time to address the less talked about factor of a healthy lifestyle and overall healthy frame of mind. I want to talk about addiction.
Addiction of any sort is a painful, difficult and challenging illness to live with, both to the person who has the addiction and the people in that person’s life. Many people associate addiction to a drug, alcohol or an action like gambling. Quitting an addiction is no easy feat. It is even harder when you are constantly around what you’re addicted to. So what happens if what your addiction is something essential to surviving? Like food.
This is how my thought process all ties together. Almost a month ago, I introduced a great jump start program to my fitness classes. I wanted to make sure the message was clear. This was about being healthy. It wasn’t about drinking a low calorie shake. It was about building a program and meal plan that can extend beyond just 21 days. Being healthy isn’t about a quick weight loss or even being skinny. It’s about treating your body right by fueling it properly. This isn’t something that has always been easy for me to understand. This is because I had a food addiction. I love food. I used to eat, then feel guilty for “being fat”, then purge. That would then make me feel disappointed in myself and my actions. Then that would make me want to drown my sorrows in more food. And the cycle would never stop.
Once I decided to get help, I found the hardest part was trying to kick my addiction while still including food in my life. While I know that the addiction was never about the food, but the emotion and control, food in general was the trigger. So to include the very thing that set off the addiction in a positive way was, and to an extent will always be, a challenge. It truly hits home when I hear anyone, especially the people who take my classes and who have taken this first challenge, talk about food challenges. I have made it a personal mission of mine to ensure they know that eating is important and to enjoy it. To think that eating right means eating flavorless food, is a myth. And likewise, you can still indulge in things you love without feeling guilty or shaming yourself.
I love food. And while it took a very painful, stressful and self-discovering journey, I truly enjoy experiencing food. I have been privileged to help others in their own journey to a healthy relationship with food and their body image. Little did they know that hearing them talk about similar emotions and issues as I had helped me heal even more.
The road to a “healthy you” isn’t the same for everyone. It may not end in the bikini bod. You may never learn to like quinoa or give up pasta forever. Maybe some weeks, you’ll have more cheat days. And that’s all ok. To start, the most important thing to get healthy is your mindset.