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My Health Journey: Part IV

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

And here we are. Let's wrap up this tale with the most important lesson of all, shall we?


Lesson #8: Ya can't heal a body ya hate.


Let me say that again, in case you're struggling like I was.


YOU CAN NOT HEAL A BODY THAT YOU HATE.

Please hear that, and please take it with all the love and compassion with which it is intended.


It's the most important lesson of my life, and during my all in process, it became abundantly clear that this was the way it had to be.


If I had never:

gone vegan,

noticed changes in my health,

followed the symptoms down the rabbit hole,

(apparently) pushed my body too far while trying to heal it,

had to go all in to bring it back into balance,

and therefore gained weight,


I WOULD HAVE NEVER LEARNED TO LOVE MY BODY.


Ever.


I know this to be true.


Growing up, I never took extreme measures to change my body because 1. I knew better (I was well versed on what eating disorders looked like), and 2. I knew it would never be sustainable anyway, so I figured there was no point to hard core dieting and overexercising.


I did, however, (begrudgingly stuck with what I got) spend my life shaming my body over and over and over again, and cursing her over and over and over again.

Why couldn't I have been blessed with long legs? Why do I have to have such a large chest? Why do my hips have to look like this? Why couldn't I be a little taller- then maybe my shape wouldn't look so weird? Ugh, my thighs are horrible. Every single time I looked in the mirror. Constantly criticizing it and evaluating it.


I say this with sincerity: I'm eternally grateful for my health journey because,

  1. I learned about the healthcare system in America and how backwards it is, and

  2. I learned how to love my body


Hallelujah!!! The way it all unfolded now makes perfect sense, and I know God had a plan for me all along. I know it.

 

Alright, now back to the timeline.


There I am, late Summer of 2019. I've just realized that I have started the all in process, and I'm frantically eating, and frantically researching the Minnie Maud process and anyone else who has shared their story with it. (Kayla's videos saved me time and time again, and Stephanie had just started the process herself, very publicly, just a couple months before me when I discovered her.)


I had left my job earlier in the year and decided that I wasn't going to return to teaching. After 11 years, I was feeling pulled to travel, and shake things up. I wanted to expand. I wanted more freedom, I wanted to work online, I wanted to build something. I wanted to go to the next level, whatever that was.


So the school year starts up again and I'm not there. Instead, I'm busy holing up, having a full existential crisis, no formal job, dealing with this giant struggle, when an opportunity comes into fruition.


I take a spot in Bali as a Workaway volunteer, writing and editing for an online media company in the yoga and wellness space. I arrive in November, two months into all in, and I'm faced with my worst nightmare:


living in Instagram land (if you know Bali, then you know), in 100 degree weather and 100% humidity, all bathing suits all the time, stressed about being in a body that I don't even recognize.


It was awful.


I was swollen and puffy, I was up, who knows, probably 15lbs or more, I was storing water, sweating like an animal, none of my clothes fit, and there I was, surrounded by lush jungle and beautiful beaches and beautiful people.


It sounds ridiculous now, but I was distressed.


And I knew- this is the test. This is the work.

Do you come to paradise for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and spend the whole time stressed about how your body looks??


No. You don't.


I wouldn't. I refused.


I had days where I cried out of frustration, sure. (DID I EVER!) But I knew it was all for my benefit, and I kept going.


I slowly but surely learned how to thank my body for everything she was doing to keep me alive, walking around this Earth, riding my scooter through the rice fields of Indonesia.


It was a slow process and there were twists and turns for sure. One day I would wake up and feel noticeably leaner and less swollen and I'd think, "Finally! Phew! The worst must be over. It's all downhill from here! At this rate, I'll be back to my normal size by next month!' And yet, much to my dismay, 2 days later I would see a photo of myself, be horrified, and have a break down.


But that was the work. Making peace with my body no matter how she looked. Understanding that it had no bearing on ANYTHING. Remembering that healing takes time. Remembering that it's never linear.


After a few moths of traveling, I came home, I continued the work, and my weight started to taper a bit. I wasn't following any healing protocol, I wasn't working out, I was just eating what my body asked for, and loving on her hard. That was it. I was finally understanding that a body in distress-- MY poor body-- needs love and support. Not to feel fear or stress over finding a solution.


I surrendered the solution.


I would talk to my body every day and tell her how sorry I was for the years of abuse, and for every harsh word she ever heard from me. I meditated, releasing all the shame I'd ever felt about the way she looked. I really took the time to practice loving on her and nurturing her-- really nurturing her.


I was also having regular cry sessions, bringing up years of repressed emotions. Words that were never spoken, resentment that was never expressed... I was releasing old pain and healing old wounds and letting go of so much emotional turmoil that had been trapped inside of me, taking up space. And every time I did this, my body responded. I could feel inside that I was finally closing in on the finish line, and I had never felt that way before.


The months ticked on, and right about the 1 year mark, I sensed my all in journey was over. It was just this inner knowing that I had. My hunger was normal, I was eating everything without a thought or a care, (I had experimented with reintroducing eggs at this point, and had regular pizza a few times here and there) my digestion had improved, and mainly, I wasn't mentally stressed about anything food related any more. I wasn't constantly researching the 'best' way to eat to solve the problem, or anxiously trying to get to the bottom of any symptoms- I was just allowing myself to be for the first time since all of this had started.


I remember wondering, 'So why would I have been led to veganism and why would I have felt SO strongly and passionately about it, if it was going to lead to all this?'


And I think the answer was, that's exactly why.


To lead me all the way here.


And now?


I have fully surrendered my healing process to God.


Every day that I love on my body is another day she feels more like her best self.


I love showing her love. I know this is the way it should be.


I journal every single day and thank God for getting me this far, and for finally washing over me and giving me the last piece of the puzzle.


I did a ton of external things to heal along the way, and though they definitely helped on a physiological level, it's a holistic process. All encompassing. My healing was stuck at 80% until I had those inner shifts.


They took time, and they were the last to come, but my body couldn't fully move into healing until I addressed the emotional aspects, or until I finally offered it the unconditional love it had never received from me.


And so, I urge you to do all the things, sure-- buy organic, watch your chemicals, get your vitamin D, drink your green juice, avoid the crap if you can, but most of all,


know that you can heal

know that your body knows exactly what to do

LOVE your body into healing

change your mind to believe that you can get well

understand that vibrant health is your birthright, and it's already yours

be at peace knowing that there is a higher power always working in your favor

surrender your worries and stress to something outside of yourself, and ask it for help


We were never meant to do this alone. We were created as an expression of a divine source of power-- USE IT!! Utilize that supremely loving energy that is available to you at all times.


Understand that your body has the innate ability to heal. When you trust your body, listen to it, give it the right environment, the right fuel, and the right support, it will find harmony.


YOU'VE GOT THIS. WHATEVER YOU'RE STRUGGLING WITH, YOU CAN HEAL.


Thanks for reading. All my love and support-

Rachel xx


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