People look at me and often think, “how can she understand my struggles with food and my body, she looks like she has never struggled a day in her life.”

Oh my sweet friend, nothing could be further from the truth!

For years, actually more like decades, food consumed my every waking thought. What would I allow myself to eat that day? How could I resist the temptation of the chocolate cake that seemed to be calling my name from the kitchen? Fighting with myself all day to “be good” only to find myself in the pantry gorging myself on the chocolate chips, the graham crackers, even the marshmallows I thought were disgusting. I went to bed each night disgusted with myself and resolved that “tomorrow I would be better.” 

Everything centered around what I couldn’t or shouldn’t have. I was “good” if I denied myself what I wanted and I was “bad” if I ate anything that felt indulgent or desirable. I wanted desperately to love my body, I wanted to feel powerful and in control. I wanted to feel worthy and at peace in my body and my choices. I wanted to feel that I kept the promises I made to myself.

I wanted to love myself but the only path I knew to get there was to force my body into physical perfection. I wanted to show up as my best self, as the woman I knew I was meant to be. I thought the way to motivate myself to get there was through brute force. I thought, “if I just beat myself up enough, maybe then I will be motivated to stay on course.” 

I remember getting on the scale, after eating until I was physically sick, feeling bloated and totally disgusted with myself, just so that I could see a number that would make me even more disgusted with myself. I thought that if I saw that number it would somehow motivate me to stick to my diet. I was asking my best self to emerge while whipping myself with words and thoughts. I was frustrated, powerless and feeling like a total failure. I was in pain!

And, oh my friend, I am so grateful for that pain! The pain is what woke me up. The pain is what pointed me in the direction of my true desire. The pain invited me to Pay Attention Inside Now.

Imagine for a moment you are cooking dinner and your hand brushes a hot pan. Where does your attention go? To the pain. It says, pay attention, take notice, do something different, pull your hand away. At that point you have a choice to either keep your hand on the hot pan and experience the same pain, or do something different to get a different result. When the pain is bad enough you move your hand. 

I finally decided to move my hand. What I discovered was that my pain was telling me I needed to do something different. I had been waiting to love myself when my thighs were thinner or when the scale dropped a few pounds. I was waiting to give myself permission to love myself when I followed all the rules of the diet or showed up as the picture perfect self I had created in my mind.

The pain taught me That I was looking in all the wrong places for self-love. I needed to do something different.

 I started listening to my body. I started tuning into the subtle clues and messages my body was sending me. I learned that my body could tell me the foods that were right for me and the foods that were not. I learned that my body wanted to choose healthy, whole and nourishing food. I learned that when I listened from a place of love, I could discern what my body needed to eat, how much and how often. I learned that cravings were a source of information about emotions that needed to be heard. I learned that by nourishing my body from a place of love and giving myself permission to actually listen I could give my body what it wantedandfeel in control.  

My cravings diminished, I started to feel at peace in my body and confident in my food choices. My body naturally slimmed down, I ate what I wanted and stopped when I was satisfied. My thoughts and energy were free!

Most importantly, I discovered my divine worth.  As I tuned in and listened to my heart, as I let go of the “should” and “shouldn’t” and learned one bite at a time to trust my body’s internal wisdom something beautiful and unexpected happened. I unlocked the doorway to my heart. 

I learned that I was whole, complete, and unconditionally loved. I learned that Divine Light flows through me and the desires I have allow me to be an instrument in God’s hand for good. I learned that the Divine Light within me is always there, shining brightly, ready to be shared and can be used to bless the lives of others. I learned that only the blinders of my fear and doubt can keep me from feeling and sharing that light. I learned that God has a purpose for me and for you and that your Divine gifts are meant to be shared just as much as mine! I learned that our purpose is to let our light shine and that when that light is blocked God has given us pain so we can choose to do something different.

So Pay Attention Inside Now! What is your pain telling you? What is the message you need to hear? What is the light that is waiting to be discovered in you?

Misty Springer