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  • Writer's pictureastridlonghurst

You know you’ve really changed when…

The things that once were your greatest challenges become completely neutral. By this I mean that there is no emotional “charge” around them whatsoever. It is the most amazing and freeing feeling in the world – to be free from what once held you back or kept you locked in the same place. And from this space anything and everything is now possible.

I am still amazed by my own personal changes in my life. There was once a time when I believed that I would always struggle with food and my body. My eating was so out of control that anything could trigger a full-blown binge or eating episode that would last for months. I didn’t feel safe around food and Christmas was always a time that I dreaded as food was everywhere – calling to me from the Television with the adverts full of chocolates, cream cakes, mince pies, Christmas cakes and sweets galore. It was pointless to even try to exert any control around Christmas – I would always just give in and eat solidly until the New Year heralded a reprieve. “I will start again in the New Year” was always the story I told myself and yet like most fairytales, it was just another myth – a fable that I believed but it wasn’t true. My New Year goals of being able to eat without bingeing, compulsively stuffing myself until I couldn’t move only lasted at the most a day or two (if I was lucky) and then I was back to square one. Back to where I’d always been, going around and around in a very vicious and damaging circle.

Until, that is, I began to change my relationship with food, life and most importantly with myself. This kind of change happens slowly. It’s not a seven-day quick fix or even a promised outcome of once you’re here, you will never go back. It’s more of a subtle kind of love that creeps up on you and wraps its gentleness around your shoulders bringing you comfort, peace and an acceptance you’ve never felt before. At least, this has been my experience.

People who have never struggled with an eating disorder or found it difficult to be around food may not perhaps not appreciate the sheer amazement at being able to leave the cupboards with chocolates still in them intact. They will never know how glorious it is to be able to eat just one biscuit and leave the rest in the packet or to push food away because you’ve had enough. And it still amazes me that I can do this easily and without any kind of emotional attachment. Once, food was my battleground and now it is a place of peace – a gentle meadow where flowers now grow over the scars and the wounds of thousands of previous food wars.

Change is born out of creating a new story. A new way of being with yourself that embodies mind, heart, body and soul. It doesn’t happen overnight but it does and will happen if you allow yourself the possibility of calling a truce with yourself and the old ways of being, thinking, behaving and acting. It begins to unfold whenever you turn towards yourself with compassion and kindness and ask yourself, “What is the most loving thing I can do for myself right now?”

And when those things that once caused you so much pain, now leave you feeling nothing but a sense of peace, you will know that you’ve changed completely, irrevocably and forever. Because once you consciously choose to love yourself and refuse to hurt yourself even for another moment, you can never go back – you can never become unconscious again. And it is here in these moments of our lives, where our destinies and greatest achievements are born.

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