Rock Bottom: The Hidden Gems of Hardship
Your most difficult health challenges can elevate you to unimaginable heights
- Mel’s weekly food pick: Raw honey
- Mel’s weekly recipe pick: Homemade Ketchup
Would you willingly sign up for a hardship? I’ll just bet your answer is a confident: No! Not in a million years and not even for a million dollars!
What if it served as the springboard for your deepest passions to emerge? Passions you never knew existed until you suffered the misfortune. Furthermore, what if your passion couldn’t be unearthed unless you went through it?
If you know my story, you’ll remember that I hit my personal rock bottom twenty-one years ago while journeying through a three-year battle with binge eating disorder. Like a sharp blow to the gut that I never saw coming, I became instantaneously tangled in a vicious web of food restriction, obsession and binging…all while studying to be a dietitian!
Rock bottom started with one “innocent” diet
It all started with one “innocent” little diet that I tried to shed the few pounds I put on while in the throes of rebound partying after a tumultuous breakup.
One would think a few pounds would be a breeze to lose: restrict a little food, exercise a bit more and voila…gone.
Ha! Not even close.
I went through a three-year mental ping-pong game with one player being food and the other, the rigid rules of the diet. And there I was, the ball in the middle, being bounced around between restrictive rules and abundant food around every corner.
It’s a game the mind can never win. You’re drawn towards food because the diet tells you you can’t have it; as much as you try to resist its lure, food inevitably triumphs. In other words, when limits and restrictions are placed upon food, the mind will always gravitate towards it.
This is where my passion emerges in full force. It’s why I wrote an entire book on the subject! It’s why my heart breaks when I witness yet another well-intentioned person embark on a regimented diet to improve some aspect of their health. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that beneath the surface, a war is about to wage.
One thing is for sure, we will never win this war.
How can you use your undesirable health struggles as a catalyst to fuel your passion for self-improvement?
I am here to tell you that all it takes is a mere change in perception to experience an internal shift so powerful that within twenty-four hours, you could be on the road to healing.
If you choose.
- First, make peace with and express gratitude for every one of your tireless attempts to live a healthier life. View each as a gift bringing you closer to well-being.
When Thomas Edison was asked about his repeated failures at inventing the incandescent electric light bulb, his response was: I have not failed 10,000 times—I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.
- Second, be willing to open up to the idea that you are in fact the solution you’ve been seeking. The diet was never the answer. It will never be the answer. Although it feels like a safety net, it is nothing more than a trap. A sticky spider web of which the only way out is to willingly break free from the diet and do the “work” of going within to claim the power that is waiting for you.
- Third, understand the “work” that I’m referring to really isn’t work at all. It’s about developing a deep trust that your body knows exactly what and how to eat.
The very fact that your body thrives on a steady supply of wholesome food, is proof enough that it innately prefers it. When treated like a temple, it will flourish like never before.
But what if you don’t like the taste of healthy food?
What if the mere thought of eating a Brussel sprout is enough to make you want to gag? This is where the magic of your body really shines through. Did you know that you were born with the power to crave nutritious food? In fact, my personal mantra is: What you feed your body most, it will crave.
In reality, the individual who craves chocolate and the one who craves salad have both trained their bodies to prefer these foods. It’s not about willpower; it’s a matter of how frequently you put the food into your body and the physical cravings that emerge over time.
How to learn to like the taste of healthy food (really!)
To experience this for yourself, start by slowly and consistently feeding your body the foods you want to crave. I promise it will reward you with more of those cravings. For example, if you want to strengthen your craving for vegetables, add a serving of vegetables to your diet every single day and watch what happens.
This is how I went from craving cookies and cake every day, to broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Believe me, I am not equipped with any unique and special powers that you don’t have too.
My rock bottom was a gift
Looking back, I now realize my eating disorder was a gift, and I understand why I went through it. Dieting, starving, binging—all so I could hit rock bottom and develop this fierce passion to help others learn how to make peace with their food and trust their body.
And you know what? I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world.
What about you?
My dear friend, have you hit a personal rock bottom with your health?
Understand that your body’s natural state is ease and health. It wants to be well and will do everything in its power to maintain it. Just tune in, listen, and take action on what you’ve learned.
Your ultimate power to create better health lies within. The truth is, you’ve held the key all along; you were just looking in all the wrong places.
Mel’s weekly food pick:
First let me say that honey is still sugar.
Yes, I know it makes you feel good that honey comes from bees and bees are the epitome of nature, right? I mean come on- they are the middle part of the nature-equation: birds, bees, flowers, trees.
Honey is still sugar.
Now that I have that out of the way, if you are looking for a smart way to upgrade your choice of sweetener, from refined white table sugar or artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin or sucralose (please stop using these), raw honey is the perfect choice.
To qualify as raw, honey must be unfiltered, unpasteurized, and free from additives. This is key because it allows the honey to retain valuable vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
Here are just a few reasons why you should make the switch to raw honey:
- It’s loaded with powerful antioxidants that can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer when added to an already healthy diet.
- It has a lower glycemic index rating compared to other sweeteners, which means it is gentler on your blood sugar.
- A study showed that compared to dextrose and sucrose, raw honey lowered plasma glucose and raised insulin. Again, making it a smarter choice for diabetics.
- When bought locally, raw honey can reduce the severity of seasonal allergies (cool, huh?!)
I know you have common sense and won’t go pouring it over everything, right? Remember, a little is good; a lot (just like too much water)…not so good. A teaspoon or two is plenty!
For an upgraded ketchup recipe using honey instead of white table sugar (or worse, high fructose corn syrup in many commercial brands), check out this week’s recipe pick for Homemade Ketchup!
Mel’s weekly recipe pick: