Contributor: Jennifer Gonzalez, guest blog and program participant in The BE Program
My name is Jennifer Gonzalez and I am a recovering compulsive, emotional, and binge eater. I am a work in progress and these days, I am happy to just be that. I have learned that the best thing I can do is to just BE. I have been dealing with my eating disorder since the age of ten.
More recently, I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) three years ago and my diagnosis has a played a new role in my eating disorder. A desire to get a handle on my eating disorder led me to explore an online program called The Be Program, designed to guide and assist women with eating disorders.
“I Was Very Lost”
A year ago, before beginning the program, I was very lost. I didn’t want to accept that I had an endocrine disorder with a possible side effect of weight gain. Having PCOS and being insulin resistant makes it very difficult to lose weight.
Good nutrition and exercise are an excellent way to stay healthy while having PCOS. The problem however, is that I had spent formative years undoing the damage of dieting through intuitive eating, which includes 10 principles that helped me begin the process of mending the tumultuous relationship I had with food.
It gave me the freedom to allow my body to naturally select the food it wanted without being restrictive. I hushed the food police inside me and those around me, and I learned to honor my body’s hunger and fullness signals.
Accepting My Diagnosis
Suddenly, I now had to eat a specific meal plan and lead a certain lifestyle to manage my PCOS and that felt like I was abandoning all the work I had been doing before. I struggled to accept my diagnosis and to adapt to a new approach to meal planning.
Through The Be Program, I came to the realization that I did not love myself. I was walking around, not living my “authentic life”. I was not being accepting and compassionate towards my true self and this was the source of friction when it came to my relationship with food and my body image.
The BE Program
The Be Program showed me that how I relate to others, what I think of myself, and how I tackle challenges are all reflected in my relationship with food. I grew up thinking that I had to be small and quiet in this world. I was a people pleaser and I feared standing up for myself, especially if that meant someone would not like me anymore.
Through the program, I learned to connect with feelings I had shut off a very long time ago. I learned to sit in the uneasiness of unpleasant feelings. For the first time I felt emotions running through me like cars on a highway and they had somewhere to go. I learned to observe the feelings rather than let them take over, and letting them go prevented and reduced my emotional eating.
“I Had to Be Truthful
I also learned that I had to be truthful. I needed to tell people how I really felt. I had to stop saying yes to everything when I really didn’t want to. Every time I wasn’t honest about how I felt about something, that resentment found its way onto my plate.
Truthfulness opened me up to self-care and self-love. Accepting my circumstances was not an easy task either, but it was a principle I had to really practice. I had to accept where I was presently in my life and be okay with that. I had to stop comparing myself with others and stop being such a perfectionist. Just being in acceptance of myself helped me move forward with my life.
Taking the first step is never easy. It took courage, another principle the BE community and I practiced. The ladies and I in the program were challenged to face our fears. For the first time, I was starting to believe that I deserved a better life.
Every time I took action, I felt free and less attached to my eating disorder. I was hopeful and I was starting to feel more complete in all the areas of my life.
The Help of the BE Program
With the help of The Be Program community, I have realized that being committed takes diligence and daily renewal. Today, I can actually say that I don’t feel trapped by my eating disorder. It may have robbed me of joy at times, but I have been given amazing tools.
I feel like I am not sitting on the sidelines waiting or my life to start, and as a result, my compulsive, emotional, and binge eating has decreased significantly.
I have also moved into a space of acceptance regarding my PCOS diagnosis. I have to walk a fine line between tracking my weight and being too restrictive because this can cause me to relapse. Knowing that weight loss will alleviate my symptoms through certain food eliminations makes this issue even more significant.
Dealing with PCOS
PCOS is difficult to deal with but I am proud to be among a community of women that is strong and determined to take care of their health. I read a quote once that said, “You should make your mess your message.”
Since ending The Be Program, I have decided to start a Facebook page called, “Living La Vita Sana” which translates to “healthy living”. I have decided to walk into vulnerability and share my journey with PCOS and my eating disorder and overall better health. I have found my purpose and I want to share my experience and help as many people as I can through my story.
I now practice being connected, truthful, accepting, courageous, complete, and committed in my life all the time. The BE program has revolutionized my life. I no longer feel imprisoned by my eating disorder. I am more at peace with myself and can honestly say I feel hopeful about the future.