Journey to Freedom, Part II: Depression

I didn’t think I would ever share this here. I’ve shared this story a few times over, even wrote about it when I was a writer for The Mighty. I’ve shared my experience with anorexia (see this post), so I guess you could consider this Part II. I’m sharing this experience today because it is just over 3 years that I did something that forever altered my path of living.

What I’m about to tell you is my experience with a depression that tried to take my life. The “s-word” (look up any s-word that is related to depression, I’m sure it won’t be hard to find if you’re confused) is one that I treat like the f-word. Not a word I like to use. It doesn’t have a good vibration, and there are connotations that come with it. So again, I took the same care in crafting this so as not to trigger anyone who has struggled or is struggling with depression. I also do not want to scare people, though what I’m talking about is extraordinarily scary.

This one was trickier though. It’s easier to omit numbers and eating habits from describing a story, so please do not read this if you are triggered by these types of stories. I do not go into detail of the event because that’s irrelevant to the message that I want to convey, but still I struggled to write this because this kind of stuff hits deep. I say this a lot, but as a reminder: it’s always darkest before dawn, and there is always a dawn. If you need to skip to the dawn, I whole-heartedly understand- please skip the section between the three stars (***).

Even with these stars, it’s hard to talk about depression. There’s a lot of stigma that comes with it. There’s a lot of stigma that comes with attempting to take your own life too. Judgment. Name-calling. Stereotypes. The ironic part is that depression can happen to anyone. There is no stereotype. Depression does not discriminate. And it’s a lot more common than we think.

That’s one thing I would like to point out before I begin. You are not weak for struggling with depression. While I was in the throes of it, I was told I’m not resilient. I’m not tough. I’m too weak and that’s why I can’t beat this. I was none of those things. I was and am strong, defiant, relentless, and resilient. And so are you. I could and can do tough things. And so can you.

***

Obviously with an eating disorder, I had my fair share of very low moments. But my true “depression” started in junior year of college. In the few months post study abroad, I found myself stuck. I had two stress fractures in both shins, was off my medication for OCD after finally deciding the side effects outweighed what little benefit I got from it, and hobbled around on a pair of crutches after being told no running for at least 4-6 months. It was the middle of winter, I had missed a whole semester with my friends who stayed back from study abroad (surprisingly a lot of them), and I felt anxious to get back to “doing school.”

Well, shit. How was I supposed to cope with life?

Instead of spending my time clocking miles, I buried myself in books. My OCD came back full force and I became obsessive with my studies, spending hours and hours taking and retaking notes, rereading passages, writing and rewriting papers…it was insanity. I saw no one and did nothing for a solid 2.5 months. I didn’t even realize the impact I was having on my friends either. I caused so much anxiety for my roommates who at one point were my best friends that I lost those friendships.

The pain that depression causes is deep. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the pain of depression was worse than any physical pain I had experienced (that’s saying a lot from the girl who snapped her arm in half doing gymnastics). I was alone most of the time with no one to talk to, so I had no choice but to deal with the demons in my head. I felt like it was a losing battle. I needed more than just studies to cope, and I still couldn’t run. The thoughts of just ending it all became too enticing that I convinced myself it was my best and only option.

I will never talk about the night of March 27, 2015, my attempt, in detail on here because, like I said, it’s unnecessary for the message of this story. All I will say is that I was saved, by the Universe, by God, by some other unknown power, I don’t know, but something made me pick up the phone for when my therapist and friend both called. I still cry just thinking about how grateful I am for those two, both of whom I still talk to today.

That weekend I went home and was checked into a hospital. In the months to follow, I was in and out of the hospital, seeking intensive outpatient therapy, then inpatient, then outpatient again. It was a long journey, with many moments that I had wished someone would just let me give up. But I never did, and that was the best gift anyone has ever given me. The opportunity to keep going. The second chance.

I learned a lot about life, people, and how little we really know of each. The psych ward was the first lesson in that. It showed me the full range of what humans are capable of. I was treated with both love and repugnance, empathy and apathy, true concern and utter hatred all in one night. One nurse pulled me aside to tell me that I was worth more than this, that I deserved love and happiness and that I was strong as hell. Another doctor pulled me aside to tell me that I was disgusting, worth nothing, sick, and that I had revoked all of my human rights the second I walked through the emergency room doors.

Despite that horrid first night, and the disgusting manner in which doctors (not just one, I unfortunately encountered three more doctors who looked at me as if I was a curse to the world) treat mentally ill patients, I met some beautiful souls while I was there. You realize when you’re in the position I was, you really aren’t so different from the next patient. No matter how you grew up, what privileges you somehow were lucky enough to be born with, what experiences you’ve had, you’re the same. You’re both hurting, you both want love, and you’re both scared to move on because for some reason, life just wasn’t so kind to you in the previous years.

I met a boy my age that grew up in just the town over. He had tried to take his own life as well, but you would have never known by the smile on his face. He was the kindest person I met there, brought me to the lunch table and tried to get me to laugh. He had been there for 23 days already. When a nurse came over to us to tell him that his mom was on the phone for him, I listened to him speak to her.

“Hi mommy! I miss you! I’ve been okay, it’s getting better. When do I get to see you?”

That’s when I broke. It made me want to hug him, give him back to his mother, and tell him he would never have to feel this pain again. Ever. He was just like me. They all were.

The next stop was outpatient at two different facilities and in two different states. In the first facility, I drove every day to spend 6 to 8 hours in group and individual therapy. It was actually the first time I enjoyed therapy, and I know that sounds weird, but these people became my family. It was bittersweet whenever someone “graduated” from the group because you wanted them to succeed and have this wonderful life, but you were going to miss them greatly and knew you’d probably never see each other again (we weren’t allowed to keep in contact, but that’s actually how I met one of my best friends- sometimes, rules are meant to be broken!).

Then something I didn’t ever fathom would happen did. One of my best friends from the first university I attended (before transferring to another one) called me. An old friend from our year did take his own life.

In that moment, I once again learned the full range of human emotions: shock, guilt, grief, sadness, anger, jealousy (I know, I’m not proud of that one either)…it was ugly. I ran for two hours straight that day (I was just getting back into running after healing from the stress fractures), listening to “Adam’s Song” by Blink-182 and crying the entire time. I didn’t know how to process all that I was feeling and I felt so raw. He was gone and wasn’t coming back. Why did he get to go and I didn’t? Why did he have to go? He was such a beautiful person. Why did he have to feel that pain?

My recovery slowed down a lot that day, which impacted the weeks to come, ultimately leading to another facility. In a weird way though, it needed to happen. I yet again met more beautiful souls in my stay. There was a “football all-star,” everyone’s favorite player. There was a high school senior struggling to find his footing in this world. There was a retired therapist who was shocked to find herself in her patients’ shoes. There was a mother of five. There was a compulsive gambler. There was the straight A student who did everything she was ever asked (well, there were a few of those). We were all here with different experiences, but the ultimate reason was the same: we had lost sight of our love for life. I guess you could call us the modern day Breakfast Club!

The pain of living began to ease in those weeks. Going back to school to finish out my senior year was another challenge. I got a lot of questions: where were you last semester? What happened to you? Why don’t you want to come out with us tonight? To be honest, senior fall was the biggest test. I had to quite literally learn to accept being all alone and still okay with myself. I had very few friends, and the ones I did have, I was scared to lose them so I tried not to put myself onto them: I didn’t ask to hang out and I rarely checked in. I did make it through though. My second semester, I met a lot of people that I’m still grateful to have in my life because I realized I am worthy of these friendships.

That being said, I still had a lot of learning to do. I didn’t know who I was. Who I had been hadn’t been the truest Britt. I had to relearn how to feel joy and happiness and not fear sadness and anger. I had to relearn who Britt is. It’s a process, but looking back, I’m thankful for every single person that told me never give up, that life was worth it, and that this was only a chapter. I can proudly and confidently say that it was all so worth it; I’m overjoyed to be here today and to have come so far. It’s scary, but we all have the courage to make it through.

***

While the psych ward was a learning experience in how corrupt and disgusting our current medical system is (I know, I’m still bitter. I’m working on letting it go), the other experiences as an outpatient, an inpatient, and a fellow struggler in this crazy world showed me a much different perspective.

I don’t tell this story so that you can feel sorry for me. I hope that you wouldn’t judge me, but then again, I know that with fear comes judgment (because we often judge that which we do not fully understand), and that is human nature.

This journey has made me the person that I am today, and I’m finally proud to be here. You learn a lot about empathy, trust, emotions, the human struggle, resilience, and love.

I can honestly say that with everyone I met, there was not one story nor one soul I did not fall in love with. We’re all human, and while our physical experiences are unique, we share the same feelings for pain, loss, happiness, anger, disappointment, joy, surprise, and love. My heart ached seeing how much pain these people experienced, and somehow it made me realize that if I think they don’t deserve this pain, then what makes me so special that I would deserve this pain?

That’s right! Nothing!

If I could do it all again (though I think one go ‘round was enough for this lifetime!), I would tell the doctors to look at us like we were their sons and daughters instead of dirt beneath their shoes. I would give that nurse in the ER who told me I could do this and that I was stronger than these demons the biggest hug. I would thank every passerby, every therapist, and every friend and family member (still do- I love you guys) for telling me not to give up. I would go back and tell every person I met that they are loved and that they matter.

That’s what I want to get at really with all of this. Please, if you take only one thing away from all of this mumbo jumbo, let it be that you matter and you are loved.

Let me be clearer. 

You matter and you are loved.

No matter what you’re going through, it is a season, and it will pass. Some are longer than others, but it will pass. There will be days going through it that you will feel lonely as hell and wonder if this is it, but I promise you, like I said earlier, your darkest days are just before the dawn.

So keep fighting for that light. Reach out for help, whether that’s a coworker, a family member, a friend, a professor, even just someone you meet in passing. They may not be the person to help, but they can direct you to someone who can.

Next, surround yourself in light. I know how tough this could be, as there were days I didn’t get out of bed and wanted nothing to do with the sunshine. Go play with puppies, turn on music and dance, watch a ridiculous episode of The Office, be in nature, anything that used to bring you joy, immerse yourself in that light. When I first did this, it was extraordinarily painful. I tried to paint and I would just stare at my brushes and cry. I felt pathetic. But I wasn’t pathetic, I was just in pain. Every time I came back to those brushes, I chipped away at the sadness, until I could finally lift up the brush again and let it flow.

If you can find it in you, start to imagine the person you’re becoming- you’re truest self as you heal. I swear, the reason I’m so dang positive today is because of all that I went through. I wasn’t born happy, go-lucky, smiling Britt. I faced a lot of demons in my 23 years of living. But it’s made me appreciate the good days even more, and it forced me to find the beauty in EVERYTHING, because it’s there, trust me, you just need to open your eyes.

Be patient with yourself. It takes a lot to learn how to love yourself again. And it takes a lot to finally see yourself not as the victim, but as the badass warrior that you are. You will probably lose some relationships over all of this, I’m not going to hide that fact because that part was devastating to me. I lost a lot of friends and don’t keep people too close for these reasons. This is something I still need to work on, and I acknowledge that. But the ones you keep will grow stronger, and you might be surprised how the lost relationships could circle back.

Also know that you will have good and bad days still in recovery. Those not so great days are not steps back, but just side steps and hops and skips! You’re going forward, I promise you, and trust yourself that you can make it through. Trust the Universe or God or whatever you call that higher power that you are meant to be here and that you wouldn’t be going through this if you weren’t strong enough to beat it!

And know that you are loved. I’ve said it a thousands times, but it all really comes back to this: love. At the end of the day, that’s all we really are. Never lose sight of that.

 

Journey to Freedom, Part I: Eating Disorder

Taking a deep breath in.

Okay let’s do this.

I’ve shared this story a few times before (true life, I had a blog while in college but never shared it with anyone so I felt comfortable sharing “my story”! It was actually called Balance and Bananas…can you tell I like bananas?), but this is the first time I feel confident speaking about what I’ve went through. I’m not afraid to stir up any old emotions, and I’m not fearful that Ana or Ed (Ana code for anorexia, Ed code for Eating Disorder) will come back. This is my life, not theirs.

One thing I do want to make clear about any experience that I share on here is that I refuse to trigger someone. I would hope that you wouldn’t compare your experience to mine in a way that implies one was better, tougher, “more deserving” of a diagnosis, or more severe than the other. Anyone who experiences an eating disorder or disordered eating has been through trauma. It’s not about more or less, so I want that to be out in the open. I’ve spent way too many years thinking that way, and I’ve seen others do the same. This community is about love, and so anything I share is out of love to help someone in some way.

With that being said, I will never share any photos from my past on here. That is the biggest way we compare, and so if you’re on here to scope out what I looked like when life was being sucked out of me, think again. Don’t mean to be harsh, but while I’m all about love, I’m also all about realness and calling bullshit. Guess that comes with the territory!

I will also never share numbers regarding weight. Yes, I reached a weight that was deadly, and no, you don’t need to know that number. Why? Because at the end of the day, it was never really about the numbers. It was a façade. There are plenty of people who have struggled with eating disorders and disordered eating who look like what the world considers to be healthy and radiant, yet they were screaming for mercy on the inside. While I had a condition that manifested itself in the physical, it was a means to show me what was really happening on the inside. And to be honest, our bodies are just pure physical manifestations to begin with- you are not your body, you are a soul living in a body.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s begin. Oh, and another note, because I know this is a sensitive subject to many of you who are reading and if you know that reading other people’s experiences with an eating disorder is triggering, please skip the part between the ***, denoted at the beginning and the ending of the story.

***

So to be honest, I never really remember a time when I was happy with how I looked, even as a kid. I guess you could say I wasn’t fully aware of my body until around 5 or 6, and when I became aware, I wasn’t happy with it.

I can even recall one of the first times I was made to feel that I was less of a person for not being skinny. It was 2nd grade, and I was standing in line with my best friend to go to art class. The lights were off, as we were getting ready to leave the classroom, but everyone was still talking. I forget exactly what led us to this conversation, but for some reason, my friend and I decided it was a good idea to stand side by side. I think I was telling her I was the same size as she was, and she disagreed so she took her hands, placed them on her stomach, slid them across her flat tummy, straight into mine.

Now, I was a pudgy child, but this was the first time I recall being made to feel less because of that pudginess. Her fingertips didn’t even come close to crossing over my stomach, just poked my hips, to which she replied, “See, I’m skinnier.”

I can’t say this was the start of my eating disorder, but I will say my childhood was plagued with the feeling that I needed to be less; in weight, in size, and of a burden. I don’t know why, but I always had this feeling that I was a burden to people. I never asked for help (God forbid anyone gave me any critiques or suggestions on how to do better- I could do it on my own, thank you very much, and get an A for that matter), and I rarely got into trouble (I didn’t want to cause anyone stress…yet somehow I always felt like I was in trouble).

The catalyst for my eating disorder was in 8th grade, when I snapped my arm in half doing a back handspring. Literally, my arm was clean in half, both the radius and ulna completely cleared. I had to get surgery to put plates in, and I was told I couldn’t do gymnastics for a year. I think that sparked something. I remember feeling extreme anxiety about not working out. I could still do my lower body though, right? What about my abs? Isn’t there some way my arms didn’t have to be involved so I could still do tricks?

Then the classic restricting came in. I tried to go back to gymnastics after my arm was completely healed, but at that point, I had been out for too long and I had hit a growth spurt, so it was pretty useless. That’s when I became obsessed with working out and running. Coupled with the restriction, my family almost moving to Boston (Day 3, we decided to turn around! How’s that for a fun fact?), and starting high school, I was a mess.

I didn’t get to do many after school activities because most afternoons were spent in a therapist’s, dietitian’s, or doctor’s office. My bones became brittle fast, I was losing hair in clumps, and I lost my period (got it at age 12, right after my accident, didn’t get it again till age 20). You would have never expected me to be combative, but I swear, anorexia brings out an alter-ego in most. I would get into yelling matches with doctors and dietitians, trying to break free of any attempt at control over me. They said some not-so-pretty things to me, and I said some not-so-pretty things to them (one called me a f***ing bitch, to which I responded, “you’re the f***ing bitch”). Of course, I was all too happy to acquiesce to Anorexia’s requests because she promised me happiness. But you know, she never did bring that happiness and wholeness.

Each week at weigh in, I’d see the number get lower, and I’d get a jolt of delight, almost like a hit, and then there was a sinking pit in my stomach that it wasn’t enough. Even though I told myself, at X weight, I’ll be happy, I never was. The number got lower, along with my happiness and my relationships.

That’s the other thing most don’t talk about. My relationships with friends and family (the most important) plummeted. I hurt them by hurting myself, but I didn’t do it intentionally. If I could go back, shake the old Britt and tell her snap out of it, I would. I didn’t choose this disease, and yet I had to suffer all of the consequences.

At the same time, I was in so much internal pain that I couldn’t see all the damage that was occurring around me. I would cry at every family meal (don’t even get me started on holidays), I created weird food habits (which I will not share because I don’t want to give anyone any ideas) to break my dietitian’s rules, and I had this constant pang of anxiety jolting through my body that never stopped. It’s actually a miracle I was able to get straight A’s in high school because most of my time was spent worrying about my body, how the food was being processed in it, and if I could escape my next meal.

The worst part was not feeling understood by anybody. No one without an eating disorder could relate, and the ones that could were still in it so that was no use. I absolutely hated group therapy because of that. Every other girl was in there with an eating disorder and I could see how they sized me up. And I knew they were doing it just as much as I was doing it to them. It wasn’t healthy for me, sometimes you get a great group and it works, but eating disorders, that’s tricky business. It was even worse when I was sent to Renfrew (lasted one night, then I was pulled out).

When I went to college, things took a real turn for the worse. I was on my own, forced to make new friends again, and at a school I didn’t even want to go to. I felt trapped. I missed my friends back home desperately and didn’t want to have to start over. My eating habits got worse, I was lazy about going to see the school nurse every week for weigh-ins, and I struggled to fit in. There were a lot of issues at that school in general: a lot of eating disorders, sexual assault/rape, and just straight up negligence by the administration.

When I was sexually assaulted at the end of my first semester, I felt like I had not fallen but was catapulted to rock bottom. Once you hit rock bottom though, you only have two choices: stay and die or climb your way up. He doesn’t deserve a voice in this story, so I’m not giving it to him, but it did affect my experience so I will state it as a point in a timeline. I decided very quickly that I wanted to transfer, but I still struggled. My doctors and my family told me that if I didn’t get better, I would have to leave school and I couldn’t transfer.

I remember that night so vividly. I was balling my eyes out (naturally) on my dorm room floor after just hanging up with my mom. Then one of my few friends that I had knocked on my door. She heard me and wanted to check up. I told her everything, start to finish. I couldn’t keep this weight on my chest anymore. At the end of it all, she said, “I think you know what you have to do and I think you do want to get better.” I stopped crying and felt confused because no part of what I had told her suggested I had any intention of getting better, but I think she could tell deep down my soul was crying for freedom from this all.

She told me, “Just try gaining weight like you’re trying on a pair of jeans. If you don’t like the fit, you can take them off. You’ve already proved you can take it off before, but why don’t you prove you can try it on?” In that moment it clicked. I can’t explain in words what exactly just changed, but it’s like I found the off switch for a moment, the off switch that I had been searching for 7 years!

I won’t say that the months to come were easy. There was still a lot of calorie counting at first and crying at meals. But I leaned on two of my friends, one of which is still my best friend today. One night when I was anxious about having to eat dessert, she grabbed a fork and sat down on my dorm room floor to eat cheesecake with me. One of the happiest memories of my life. Despite all the pain that school put me through, I walked away with the greatest gift of a friend, and for that I’m so grateful.

***

I ended up transferring and while there were still a lot of struggles, I would say the next two years were good. Recovery isn’t a straight road. I had a lot of ups and downs, both with my weight and with my ability to eat intuitively. I think it took me a solid 4 or 5 years until I really felt good, the reason for it being so long was because of something I’ll discuss in an upcoming post on March 27th.

Like I said, it’s not a straight path, recovery. And there are different degrees of it as well. Recovery is winding, zig ziagged, bendy, and filled with grooves. There were days that I stepped backwards, but then I sprang forwards. There were days I side stepped, wanted to throw in the towel, and thought I would never be free. You will be. Recovery looks different for everyone, so take what I’m saying and apply what makes sense to your own life. If none of it does, that’s okay. If some of it does, great!

I would say I still have moments in my mind where I struggle. An old voice I thought I shut out long ago came back, but I now know what it’s like to feel alive again, so I shut it out again. I can say confidently that I do have food freedom, and I’ll go into a little bit about how I reached that.

You have to fully break the relationship with the ED and accept that there is an issue deeper than food. While I’m not a certified professional (yet), from my experiences I’ve come to realize that no eating disorder stems from food. Food is the manifested physical component of what is really going on inside. For me, that was the feeling of being a burden. I felt like I was a weight on this world and that my presence was a nuisance, so I quite literally tried to make myself lighter. It sounds stupidly obvious, but this is what happened.

No matter what anyone tells you, that once you reach a certain weight, you’ll be healed, that once you hit a certain amount of years, it’ll break, let me tell you this: You. Will. Not. Get. Better. Until. YOU. Want. To. Get. Better. I can’t tell you how many doctors told me X number is the weight that my mind will switch. HA! If it were that easy, then classic eating disorder treatment facilities would actually be helping people. Once you realize that YOU want freedom from this insanity (and trust me, you truly do inside, this entire time, you’ve wanted freedom), only then can the true recovery come.

I want to make this clear though, anorexia is not glamorous, it’s not fun, and it’s not something to brag about. It costs money, it costs time, it costs your health, it costs relationships, and it costs your life. I’ve met women well into their 50’s that are still plagued with this. Some of them are just living in treatment facilities, some leaning on their families if they still have them because everyone else has deserted them and they can’t hold a job. It’s not fun, despite what Netflix portrayed it as recently. I wish I knew I would be dealing with depression, hypothyroidism, messed up menstruation, weak bones, and the heavy lifting of repairing relationships as the wreckage from Ana and Ed. It’s not worth it, guys. Please know that you are worth so much more than this pain.

Next, find a team that you can trust. The only member of my team that has been with me the entire time is my therapist. She’s now known me for 12 years, and has been a rock through this entire process. I went through so many nutritionists and dietitians because at the end of the day, I couldn’t trust them. There were only two, one that I still see, that I could trust because they were always honest and never tried to deceive me. The dietitian I currently see is the one who actually inspired me to follow suit. She understands me because she’s been in my shoes and she’s seen the other side, the side where you’re healthy and happy, and it made me want to that for myself too.

Eat real foods. Ditch the diet crap, anything labeled “diet” (that means no diet soda!), low carb, anything preaching sugar-free, laden with chemicals (I had a major addiction to Splenda). Of course, work with your dietitian on this, but I only found true food freedom when I was actually eating real foods: beautiful and nourishing plants, good quality and organic/grass-fed meats, and rich sources of carbs and fats. That being said, be wary of falling into the trap of orthorexia or extreme clean eating. Just because you’re eating a bunch of whole and nutritious foods doesn’t mean you need to make rules around what you can and can’t eat. Eat to nourish your body and have fun exploring what makes it thrive. One thing is for sure, it’s not written in a rule book.

It took a while for me to reach this point. For a few years after I decided enough was enough, I still hung onto foods and habits that only served to make me sicker. Another thing that I want to talk about with refeeding is that at some point, you will probably feel out of control. You’ll want to keep eating because your mind has literally been in starvation mode for years and for once it’s getting fuel. Know that this happens to almost everyone that has recovered. In those moments, your mind is hungry, despite what your body may be telling you. You have to trust this process that the mind will finally recalibrate to knowing when it’s satiated, along with the body, and they will be in tandem. Once I hit this point, I started to see food as nourishment and beauty rather than a frenemy or straight up villain.

Getting to the point of intuitively eating is long, and you won’t be able to just snap into it. I had to do a lot of re-feeding AND relearning what it means to feel hunger. I would say that for almost a decade, I never felt hungry, or I was so used to feeling hungry, I didn’t notice it because I starving my body. It will take a while to get back to what your body knows to be it’s normal, which I have to tell you, might look differently than what you want. You might have to be eating a lot more than you could ever imagine, especially in this moment, but once you find a team that you can trust, then give them the reigns. Know that you can speak up when something doesn’t feel right, but this is new territory, so much of this will probably not feel right. Learn to trust the process, and release control. You’ll be better for it.

Remember that things that were broken during your experience with ED and through recovery can be fixed. It will take time, some of those relationships I never gained back, but a lot of them did and they were stronger for it. I’m still in the process of repairing my body. Obviously, it’s rebelling against me right now (ironic because for so long, I told myself that my mind was in control of my body, and it has quite literally flipped flopped in recent months), but I trust that I can fix it. If you have to stop working out or running while in recovery because of your relationship with it, that is okay. Get to treat exercise not as a way to lose weight but as a way to honor your body for all of the amazing ways it can move and be strong because YOU are strong! Again, I am not a health professional, so trust your team that you have!

I’m a firm believer that nothing is permanent, only change, so accept this and move with the waves. You will look back on this and see yourself as this badass warrior who put her/his ED to shame. You can do this. We’re all rooting you on. You are loved, and you are worth it.

 

 

2018 Intentions: Self-Love and No Food Shaming

First post of 2018, whuddup my friends?!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year! The holidays for me were just what I needed, and to be honest, I was a little bummed at how fast they flew by. All of the sudden January was here, and I started working full-time for just one company again (instead of stringing together multiple sources of income- some people can do it, others like me get too overwhelmed!).

Like a few of you know, I went full-time for a wonderful company, Mikey’s, and I’m loving every minute of it. I love that I’m being treated like an adult, that I get to create and be responsible for my own projects, my own initiatives. I love that Mikey and the team trust me and know that I can do a good job. I love that I get to work from home instead of sit at an office desk (sorry, but the office life is very much not for me). I love that I get to content create and flex my pun machine a little extra per day. Most of all, I love that I get yet another outlet to connect with all of you and spread some love and light through this fantastic company. The people are what makes a brand, I feel, and these guys are legit.

So that makes for a quick update on all that’s been going on with me! I’m trying to keep up with the bloggity blog, Instagram, family/friends, and starting my prerequisites at the end of the month. Let me tell you, new routines are bound to come with hiccups, and I’m experiencing a few every day, but that comes with the package, right? I trust that I’ll find my new routine and that I’ll love it.

. . .

Which brings me to what I really wanted to write about today: intentions. I know, I know, everyone and their mother has talked about this already, but it’s never too late to set your intentions.  I always feel like the new year is such a beautiful time to do it. You get to reflect on how much you’ve grown over the last year, what you liked, what you didn’t, and how you want to proceed into the next year. How is that a bad thing? 2017 was a lot of change, a lot of moving parts that involved letting go and adding on. 2018 will be a good year. It will be a year to settle into those changes and make space for roots.

Many don’t like making resolutions anymore, and some still do but don’t know how to succeed. I personally love January 1st now, but I didn’t always. In past years, many of my resolutions were weight-loss focused. As I’m writing this, I actually remember the night of January 1, 2008 so specifically because that was the night that told myself I would finally lose weight, which was actually the start of my battle with anorexia…but that’s not what I want to talk about today.

Today I want to talk about how I’m not setting my intentions for weight loss. How instead, I’m setting my intentions for a slew of personal goals that have no benchmarks or end prizes. They’re just tools to get me to love me from the inside.

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The main one I want to talk about for this post (because anything else would be considered a novel at this point haha!) is:

Self-love

Not self-care, self-love. I think self-care is a wonderful practice, but to be honest, I never really took to it. Many of the “self-care” techniques always felt too external to me. I’m doing things to the outside that are supposed to affect me on the inside, but for me, my inner voice was just too loud.

I’d take a bubble bath, but my mind would be criticizing my body, my stupid second toe that’s slightly longer than my big toe, or how I should be doing something productive and I don’t deserve to just be sitting here. Or I’d say turning on Netflix and watching a show was self-care, but then I’d also whip out my phone and not even get to zone out during the episode (which wouldn’t have helped me anyways) because I was too busy zoning out on my phone.

So for self-love, I’m turning inwards. As Dr. Joe Dispenza, our thoughts shape our reality. You can have the most perfect life on the outside, but if your thoughts are self-deprecating and negative, your life is going to feel like a living hell. And my head can definitely feel like a personal hell.

I am in the process of finding my favorite affirmations, writing them on stickies, and sticking them around the apartment. I also chose to write five things that I love about myself- both external and internal- that I stuck to my mirror. Every time I see this note, I have to look myself in the eye and repeat it out loud. It feels really damn hard and I absolutely hate it at times, but I also love it because I know I’m breaking down barriers. I’m breaking down walls that have been up for 23 years, walls that had no business being up in the first place.

Another way that I’m practicing self-love is no food shaming. This is actually an intention all on its own, but I really feel it’s necessary to share today.

I’m never one to food shame someone else (you can see my rant on my saved stories on Instagram) because, like those walls that were up, I have no business doing so. I don’t know your personal story, I’m not your doctor, nor your dietitian, nor your therapist, so I have no right telling you that doing Whole30 is wrong or going paleo is a sin or cutting out sugar is disordered. I stay in my lane, just like I would never want any one to pick on how I eat. But for some reason, that stupid little E.D. voice stuck around in my head and has been the hardest thing to beat out of all of this. In 2017, I felt guilty a lot of the time for eating what I did. Sometimes I would feel guilty that maybe I didn’t eat enough and people will judge me or call me restrictive, and other times I felt guilty for eating too much, as if someone would think I was a pig or glutinous or unhealthy.

I should not have felt guilty in any scenario of eating ever. No meal, no snack, no bite of food should have ever been accompanied by guilt, and yet there were many moments I can recall that were.

So in 2018, I will not under any circumstances food shame myself. I will treat myself like I treat others: with the utmost respect and love. Before 2017, I never, ever, in my history of living nourished my body like I do today. Why should I feel guilty about that? I love eating whole foods. I love filling my plate with beautiful micronutrients that make me feel the most alive I’ve ever felt. I also love listening to my body. I love eating when I’m hungry and stopping when I’m full. I love having the ability to take seconds if I want to because the first round wasn’t enough or that dish that Jared’s mom made was just so dang good, I need another helping! I love also respecting when I’m full, satisfied, and comfortable, and don’t want another bite. I love respecting myself enough not to worry that someone else thinks I’m eating too little or too much. I don’t owe anyone anything.

Yes, I will slip up- I’m human. But knowing that I have these guidelines and goals in mind, knowing that there’s a beautiful feeling of contentment and pure happiness when I relinquish these past fears and criticisms makes me all the more excited to pursue these intentions and make sure that I stick to them.

What I want most to come out of this blog in the coming year is love. Love for you, the reader, love for others in the world, and love for myself. I want this to be a place of love, acceptance, abundance, and safety. Know that I will never judge you, and I’m so excited not to judge myself. I love each person that comes here and shares his or her light, and I hope to spread my own.

So here’s to a beautiful 2018! We’re in this together, friends.

 

The Start Of Fall And Life Updates

Happy First (Official) Day of Fall, everyone!

I feel like it’s already been fall for a few weeks now (thanks, social media, for starting that trend), but since it’s my favorite season, I thought I’d give it the recognition that it truly deserves!

Today’s post is more of a checking-in rambling of where I am. Something about the seasons changing always gets me reflecting on what’s going on in my life. From the end of winter, to spring, to summer, to fall, each season in 2017 has brought about a lot of change. It’s crazy to think that just nine months ago, I was sitting at a desk-job that had me counting down the minutes until I could leave, waking up Monday wishing it was Friday, and feeling utterly and completely not me.

That’s not to say corporate is bad. It’s just not my bag, baby (if you guess what that is a reference to, you are my new favorite human).

I saved up my money, left my desk job (sorry, Big Pharma, we are never getting back together), and for the first time in my life, I just focused on me and figuring out who I am (at least as a 20-something year old), what I really want to do with my life, and how I can feel my best. I discovered meditation and was introduced to a whole new realm of spirituality. I was painting again, writing what I wanted to write, and building friendships that were based in trust, honesty, and love. No conditions.

When I first left my job to work for myself, I really thought I had only saved up enough money to last me until the start of summer. I thought that I’d take a few weeks off as a mental vacation. I’d paint and go to therapy more. I’d just come up for a quick breath of air, and then I’d return to corporate life.

You’ve probably heard me talk a lot about the Universe, and for a good reason. Before meditation, I believed that this was just how the world works, that I had no control and that life just happened to me. But as I put more and more faith into the Universe, it showed me something: that it always had and always will have my back. As the beginning of summer approached, I realized I still didn’t want to go back to corporate life. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to work. On the contrary, I wanted to make a huge and positive contribution to the community- both small and large. I wanted to better the world in some way. But I wasn’t going to do it by earning money for the sake of earning money.

So somehow, and I’m really not sure how, but my savings just kept finding ways to extend itself. I’d all of the sudden get a tax return or sell a painting out of nowhere. It bought me time to really figure out what I really wanted to do.

And in that time, I found myself. Or part of myself at least. I don’t think you ever have it all figured out, and with each new stage of life, you change. P.S. for all of your new college grads out there, you ain’t seen nothing yet (trust me, it’ll be good).

I’ve realized that my passion is driving me towards helping people. I want to bring light and positivity into this world. That’s why I paint and that’s why I blog. But I want to take it a step further.

In February, I’ll be going back to school to get my certification to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, or an NTP. After scavenging all of my sources (a.k.a. the internet, my dietician, nutrition friends, and the like), the NTP program seemed to most align with my goals: to help people see that food is healing for our own bodies, our communities, and the greater world.

Now, I’m not saying I have it all figured out. Believe me, I’m the farthest from knowing the answers. But I feel a lot more comfortable in the unknown. I still want to paint and spread light through the canvas (I sound so pretentious right now, but when you’re talking about the Universe, it’s all light and love here, friends), but I also want to have a voice in the wellness world, have some credibility behind what I say (unfortunately the years I’ve spent in a dietician’s office for anorexia didn’t count as schooling), and show people that this food thing doesn’t have to be all that difficult. I’m not sure how to make it all mesh, but I know one way or another, it’s going to all work out.

I’m sure someone with more street cred has said this before, but you don’t have to have a destination to begin the journey.

You just have to trust the process. Know that you’ll find a way to make it work. Whatever you love, whatever you’re passionate about, whatever lights your soul on fire (as my beautiful friend, Jordan, would say), there is always a way.

For those of you that want to know how I make it work, I’m juggling a few roles right now that I’m more than psyched to be in. I’m helping out with social media for some of my favorite brands, I’m playing around with videography for a friend’s recipe videos, I’m babysitting, I’m painting, and I’m doing my foodie thing over here. Each of these roles brings me joy everyday, a joy that is good and pure and satisfying.

Yes, it’s less conventional, but it works for me. I’m not saying for everyone to just up and quit your jobs (especially if you have a family- I totally get it’s a lot easier to do this when there’s less responsibility). But there are ways to make it work for you. Everyone is one his or her own journey. Respect that.

So for me, I’m just going to do my thing and keep on spreading the love. That’s all we really need to be doing anyways, ya know? This world could use a little more of it too.

That brings me to my final point…have you noticed the new hashtag? #iyamlove. Good, right? Just a little something Jared and I brainstormed last weekend 😉 It combines my serious love for sweet potatoes with the mission I want to keep sharing: that we are all love, and the sooner we realize that, the better our lives will be! Love and kindness go a long way, peeps. And thank goodness it’s fall because sweet potatoes are very much in season! 😉

Have a beautiful start to fall, everyone J I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one.

Much love as always,

Britt

 

 

 

Tapping (and no, not the dance)

Let’s talk about tapping.

No, I’m not talking about the dance (though if anyone has any class recommendations, hit me up!). I’m talking about Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT for short.

I’m no stranger to therapy, and to be honest, I thought I had seen it all when it came to self-help. After all, I’ve seen a talk therapist for over a decade now to deal with OCD, anxiety, and an eating disorder, and I’ve tried art therapy, meditation, and yoga (meditation and yoga are the ones that stuck!). But when my therapist mentioned Tapping to me about a year ago, I sort of brushed it off. I thought that where I was then was the best it would ever get, so I didn’t really buy into it. We briefly talked about it and then went back to our normal sessions.

Fast forward to this past spring, I was introduced to Daniel Sonntag at a meditation event. We spent the entire day learning about how meditation works and techniques to help you connect to the Universe. Daniel taught a section of the workshop on how to use EFT, or Tapping, to heal both physical and emotional wounds. I thought it was really cool, but the day after the workshop, it had once again slipped my mind.

Going into summer, Jared and I signed up for a meditation class that dove deeper into each of the key points we touched upon during the one-day event. One of the bonuses of signing up? Daniel taught a group session of Tapping! Leading up to the day, I was really excited; I wanted to learn more about EFT and see if it really could be beneficial.

Then we get an email from our meditation teacher, Sage. She wanted to know if anyone would volunteer to be the person that Daniel would lead through the Tapping. What possessed me to email Sage back that I would volunteer is beyond me. I felt like it was a Hunger Games moment (cue the I volunteer as tribute! memes of Jennifer Lawrence looking particularly haggard…no offense, J.Law). One second, I’m reading Sage’s email and then the next, I was pressing send, which moments later cued the anxiety.

I don’t like being the center of attention. In fact, I hate it. But for some reason, my subconscious decided this was what I needed. I needed to experience Tapping first hand to see if this was for real.

Well, let me tell you, it is. Leading up to the session, I was racked with anxiety. I kept going back and forth in my head, debating about whether I should just text Sage and say I was sick (or, you know, actually be honest and say that I no longer wanted to do it). But I held to my commitment.

After starting the group Skype session (Daniel does the Tapping sessions on Skype if you’re not located in Massachusetts!), Daniel asked if there was anything in particular I wanted to work on and how I was feeling. I immediately said I had no idea what to work on, and right now I’m just a ball of anxiety and hate having everyone listen to me.

And so we began by tapping away the anxiety. Gentle taps with the pads of my right fingertips against the side of my left palm. I feel anxious. I hate being center stage. But right here and right now, I’m okay. We moved to tapping on my cheekbones, my forehead, my chin, underneath my arms, and at the top of my head, inhaling deeply, and then exhaling it all out.

Cycles of this movement were repeated, each time diving deeper into what was behind the anxiety. With each new round, I felt looser and more at ease, comfortable and open. This was repeated for an hour or so, but I could have gone on longer. Answers to why I despised having attention on me started to surface, and the anxiety actually being in the spotlight started to dissipate. I had to go further.

A month after first working with Daniel in that group session, I reached out to him to do a private. Jared had already started working with him, and to say that I saw changes in Jared from just one session would be an understatement. I won’t go into what Jared’s session uncovered for him, but it was incredible to see the changes from an outsider’s perspective. There was a new light to him, and a new sense of compassion. Jared has always been extraordinarily compassionate and kindhearted, but now he has a love without fear. This extends to his family, his friends, acquaintances, strangers, me, and most importantly, Jared.

However, seeing these changes in Jared made me feel pressure to have the same level of experience. Which made me even more hesitant to sign up. I’m not going to be as successful at Tapping, so why even try? I kept putting it off, letting it slip my mind again, until one day (thankfully), Jared said just email Daniel and set up a time (one of the benefits of us living together is that he doesn’t let me get away with anything! Accountability is a blessing, my friends!).

Well, when I commit to something, I commit to it. I go full force in and don’t come up for air. So I scheduled my first session with Daniel, and as the anxiety built up again, I resisted pulling back.

After a brief 30-minute call before the actual session so that he could get to know me better and what I wanted to work on, we began. Even though I feel this anxiety, I deeply and completely accept myself. Even though I have all of this guilt and I feel it in my chest, right here and right now, in this loving space, I am okay. We repeated mantras with every cycle of tapping, unlocked new emotions that were hidden beneath the conscious mind, and started to slowly excavate the old feelings that were holding me back.

How I see Tapping is much like Linkin Park’s song, “Bleed it out.” I bleed it out. We let go of the emotions we feel on the surface. I dig it deeper. Once we are free from those emotions, we can uncover what evoked them in the first place. Then I throw it away. We can rewire our brains to let go of these negative beliefs, emotions, and feelings and repave a more positive, lighter, and more loving way.

I left my first session feeling alive. Like I just broke out of jail and was finally free, or at least running towards the light. Tapping allowed me to hang my conscious mind’s coat on the hanger and sit with myself beneath the surface. You’d be surprised what you’ll dig up when you’re down there too. Any pain you’re holding on to, physical or emotional, any anger, fear, anxiety, we all know it and we could all stand to let a bit of it go.

Obviously not everything is solved in the first and only session. There’s a lot more work to do, but I feel like I got a pretty good start on my first round. I’m excited to see where it goes!

If you’d like to learn more about Tapping, I’d suggest starting here.

If you’re ready to start working, I can’t recommend Daniel enough. This was in no way a sponsored post, I genuinely just think that the work he is doing needs to be spread and accessible to everyone. I want to help spread the word. Daniel is incredibly sweet, brilliant, and one of the most knowledgeable people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. He is also very intuitive and empathetic. I don’t trust people easily, but he was different.

Feel free to reach out to him through his website or directly through email: danielwsonntag@gmail.com. Daniel does both Skype and in-person sessions (I can attest to the Skype sessions, they are powerful!). Please also feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about my experience or if you would like an introduction!

With love always,

Britt

June In Review

Oh, hey, kids! It’s Friday!

Anddddd the last day of June for 2017. How did this month go by so fast? I normally don’t do this, but for some reason, when I woke up last Sunday, I quickly realized it was the last week of the month and was reminded of the intentions I had set on June 1st.

To say this month has been one of extreme growth is an understatement. I have never felt more myself and am beyond grateful to have come this far. I started off the month with a small set of goals and intentions for how I wanted to live in this moment of time.

Be present and enjoy the ones you’re with.

Paint like crazy.

Write just as much.

Spend time with friends.

Meditate daily.

Live in gratitude for where you are right now in your life.

Okay, so these seem a little bit bigger than “small” intentions, but I was surprised that not only did I keep to these goals, but I also challenged myself to go beyond them. Some of them I did not reach just yet, and that’s okay. I have made great strides towards those goals, and I’m more than okay. In fact, the fear that used to dominate my thoughts is now just a pesky voice that pops up to say hello now and then.

This past month, I realized that as good as it is to set goals, you have to work with the Universe, not against it. You can plan all you want, but if it’s not through love, you’re resisting the Universe. You have to live in love and gratitude, rather than fear and anxiety. Yes, I did things that brought out some very uncomfortable things from my past and pushed me beyond my safe place. But in doing so, I was able to grow into the Britt I was meant to be rather than one who lives within the bounds of my past and society’s expectations. Keep in mind, I’m still growing. But I’m liking who I’m growing to be a lot more than I did six months ago.

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This past month, not only did I get to spend time with people whose friendships mean the world to me (looking at you, Emilie, Sarah, and Sky), but I also made amazing new friends (oh hey, Sarah, Mich, and Shara)- something I had forgotten how to do since my freshman year of college. I attended events in which I had to walk up to people and say, “Hey, I’m Britt, what’s your name?” gearing up for the awkward handshake and small talk. The old voice in my head would come up whispering, Ugh, you’re so weird, Brittany, why did you say that? They probably think you’re a freak, why do you even do this stuff?

But somewhere deep down, I found the strength to push that voice aside and embrace the moment fully. I am here, I am proud of who I am, and I love myself. Coming from someone who has spent the last 22 years of her life telling herself how unworthy she is, annoying, a burden, etc., this was pretty monumental. I haven’t felt comfortable making new friends in years, and now I find myself so excited to meet people from this wonderful community and beyond, as well as nurture the friendships I’ve made from years prior. I finally feel that I’m a good person and I deserve to have friends that mirror those same values.

It took a while to get there. Meditation has played a big role in that, though. I started my meditation practice officially in April, but since the beginning of this month, it really has shifted to be a daily practice. Now, I need my time sitting in the field just as much as I need to pound the pavement on a run. Both are therapeutic, but in different respects. Both are forms of self-love, but present themselves in unique ways.

This month, I’ve really connected with the Universe. I’ve shifted how I view my reality from fear and self-doubt and judgment to excitement and love and joy. Not only is it much easier and feels so much better to live from this state, but it also helps to actually manifest what you want in your life. When you send out vibrations of happiness, gratitude, and love, you open yourself up to receive those same vibrations. But to do so, I had to let go of the stories I used to tell myself. I had to own up to the negativity that I was still holding onto and honor that this was a process.

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That was most notable in the art that I created this month. For years, I had a specific idea of who I was as an artist. I was precise, diligent, and could render a scene immaculately on paper or canvas. Over these past few months, I’ve been working with my teacher to break those conceptions and to own my voice as a painter. My teacher once told me that in her opinion (and I agree with this), God already made the world we live in perfect. Why try to recreate that? So I started to paint with emotion. While I’m still sticking with landscapes and figures, I’m working more from memory and how I feel when I’m there.

I’d be lying if I said this was easy. Letting go of a story you’ve told yourself since birth is pretty damn hard. It must be precise. No, it doesn’t look like that. You’re so not talented, why do you even try? Where are you going with this? But in painting through the difficult moments, the moments of uncertainty, unfamiliarity, and unease, I trusted the Universe and myself that I would find my way on the canvas, and I did. It’s just like when I go for a run. There are miles that just feel like hell and then all of the sudden- poof– I hit that runner’s high and I’m golden. Okay, now I’m making it sound easy, but once you get the hang of it, I really do think it is!

And so, with all of these changes, both external and internal, I need to honor what I’ve done and sit in gratitude for where I am. I’ve let go of friendships that were no longer serving me and opened myself up to the ones I want to nurture and the new ones to come. I don’t sit in the negative anymore, but rather shift my mindset to what feels good. I now feel confident in myself as a person when I’m doing what I love. And I’m not ashamed of who I am anymore.

So I welcome July with gratitude and excitement as to what’s to come. I want to solidify all that I’ve worked to change this past month and enjoy where I am.

Let’s make July another good one. Summer, I’m ready for ya.

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To Detox Or Not To Detox?

So I was working on another post for today, but as the No Sugar Detox week is concluding, I wanted to air my perspective, whether or not people read it.

There’s been a lot of hype about it, good and bad. To be honest, I’ve struggled back and forth between sides, but I didn’t realize at first that you don’t need to really choose a side.

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For those of you who don’t know about this trend, mindbodygreen hosted a sugar detox this week, and encouraged people to join in by eliminating all added sugars (even the “unprocessed” ones, such as maple syrup, honey, etc.), as well as limiting one’s fruit intake. I actually believe it’s good to not eat sugar unless it comes from fruit, and have done a few sugar detoxes before to show my support of the trend.

Well, this trend has caused polarization in both directions. Some jumped right on the bandwagon and axed sugar completely from their diets. Others rebelled, demanding answers as to why we should be telling someone how to eat or demonizing foods.

I’m going to be honest. I was waffling between both camps. However, by choosing a side, I felt as though I was completely invalidating the other side. I never want to close myself off to another’s perspective. No one person is completely right. No one person is completely wrong.

There’s an area of grey.

I decided to abstain from the sugar detox, but I did not jump into polar opposite group either. See, I do believe that sugar is bad for me personally. This is just my opinion, and in no way do I have any authority to tell someone what’s right or wrong for his or her body. I stay away from sugar because I struggled with severe depression, debilitating anxiety, and (annoying AF at times) OCD. Doctors were pushing me drug after drug, trying to alleviate my symptoms, when in fact it just augmented them (and added a whole slew of other symptoms, i.e. constant thirst, severe withdrawal side effects if I missed a dose, weight gain, inflammation, a never-ending tiredness no matter how much I slept).

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Long story short, I made the decision to ditch meds (*NOT* something I recommend until you have a doctor that can talk you through the process or determines that it is best for you), and took a solid look at my diet. While I was already gluten-free because of an allergy, I used to eat tons of processed sugar substitutes (lookin’ atchu, sugar alcohols, Splenda, really any sugar I consumed in those days), and relied on caffeine like no other so I cut those things out of my diet for 30 days.

A month later, I was literally a new person. My mood was stable, my OCD symptoms were lessening, my anxiety wasn’t as heightened, and I felt so happy and hopeful for once in a really long time.

So for me, depression was a symptom of my sugar consumption, and my OCD and anxiety were made way worse because of it as well. Now, I only stick to sugars that come from fruits and occasionally use maple syrup or honey as a sweetener (but I really don’t ever feel the need to sweeten things because now even a little bit is too sweet for me!). For me, cutting sugar has helped me tremendously in my journey to being the most authentic “Britt” that I can be, among other things.

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That being said, I don’t want to ever push my beliefs on anyone, be it for or against a certain type of food, way of eating, way of living, etc. I can only offer up what works for me, and if I can inspire someone else in a positive way, that’s wonderful. I think that’s great for the people that are cutting out sugar if it’s right for them, and it’s totally fine if they’re not. I don’t think it would be right of me to ever judge someone for how they eat because I truly believe that nutrition is as personal as a thumbprint. Not everything works for everyone, and that’s the beautiful part of being human.

My issue is not with the promotion of doing a mass sugar detox. My issue is with the reactions to the sugar detox, both for and against. In my eyes, the sugar detox was never meant to make someone feel bad if they consume sugar, and it also never deserved the criticism that it received, stating that it was trying to vilify a food. In my eyes, the sugar detox served as a support system for people who want to try not eating sugar to see how it affects them personally because, let’s be honest, sugar is addictive. There are studies.

And it’s hard to quit something alone. So in that sense, I totally commend anyone who is offering support to others to get through the five days sans the sweet stuff. But it should never come with the caveat of shaming someone else for not cutting out sugar. Just like some people who do eat sugar shame those who participated in the detox.

We’re all one community. We should be supporting each other, not tearing one another down. I don’t judge someone for eating gluten, and I hope people don’t judge me for not. I also don’t judge people who are vegan, vegetarian, paleo, dairy-free, etc., because who am I to tell someone how to live? If it’s good for my own body (regardless of whether or not it is for someone else), I’m going to do it, and if it’s not, then I won’t. Simple as that.

Plus, does it honestly feel good to spread hate? Does it feel good to bring someone else down because you feel criticized? No, it doesn’t. It makes you feel even worse. So why not inquire as to why someone does or doesn’t do something? Why not try to understand where that person is coming from? Why not respect and celebrate someone if they’re doing what’s best for them personally?

I don’t know about you, but that feels so much better to me. And it’s also the easier route! I’m sorry for the longwinded spiel, and if you got through this, seriously you are a rock star! I’ll just leave it at this: if you did the sugar detox and loved how you felt afterwards, that’s AMAZING. If you did it and noticed nothing, that’s AMAZING because you now have more information about your body! If you didn’t do it at all, that’s AMAZING too! You do you, Booboo!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Let’s spread some love and positive vibes!