Life was never easy for me growing up. It seemed like I went from one struggle to the next and that my life was destined for hardship all the way through. From being sexually abused by a family member when I was 15, moving away from home, being addicted to drugs, struggling with bulimia and being raped by the age of 20, the last thing I thought I would accomplish was helping other women. Here I am at the age of 28, and I feel as though in my short time here on earth, I’ve learned the lessons of two life times. I used to laugh when people looked at me like I was naive, or assumed that I didn’t have any life experience because I was so young. I used to let them believe I didn’t have as much experience as I did and I would go along with their perceptions of me because it made me feel innocent again, like I could start all over. I used to curse what I had been through, doing everything I could to make all the pain go away. The attempts at escaping my life looked like drug use, promiscuity, an eating disorder, excessive working out and turning to food to find solace. I didn’t know what a gift all of it was until I started to see the hundreds of women who struggled with the very same things I did. Not only did I come across people who had the same past as me, but everyone I talked to seemed to have some kind of painful relationship with their body and with food. When I started to see the commonalities between all of us in the way we struggled with feeding and loving ourselves, I was deeply moved with compassion. I began to see my struggles with food and body as something magical that would change the course of my life forever. I was determined to overcome bulimia, overcome the hate I felt towards my body and my life, and help other women do the same thing.
Not everyone struggles with an eating disorder, or has been sexually abused, but we all have this one thing in common; we desire to feel like we’re enough as we are right now. This deep longing we have to feel worthy, loved, accepted and enough is a collective longing and a collective pain when it goes unmet. The way we feed ourselves affects all of us because we are all intricately connected to each other in body, mind and spirit. This realization propelled me into leaving my career as a personal trainer, and led me into the nutrition industry. I had worked so hard in university to become a personal trainer, but when I started to see all the cracks and holes in the industry I was in, I knew I had to seek something deeper to help women truly overcome their unhealthy relationship with food that a gym simply wasn’t going to fix. I went back to school to become an Eating Psychology Coach and pursued a different approach to nutrition and the way we feed ourselves. After I became an Eating Psychology Coach, I began to realize how our relationship with food had very little to do with what we actually eat, but more so about what we have been through, what we’re currently experiencing now and how we’re dealing with everything that causes stress. Yes, you have to eat healthy food, but you also have to make sure you take care of your emotional and spiritual life, too. Without looking at our whole life to see where we need to take care of ourselves better, eating challenges never really go away. We turn to food for so many different reasons that going on a diet or exercising harder will never sustain long lasting results. The more we fight life, our body, the way we eat, and our story, the less success we find in changing our physical body.
I feel so strongly about getting this message across to women that I decided to pursue my other dream, to be a writer. I wrote a book explaining how you can heal your relationship with food in body, mind and spirit and I am so excited to share this book with the world. I want to be a voice for all the women who long to love their body and have a healthy relationship with food, this is my mandate. My book is called Food Rehab for Food junkies and is my personal story of how I overcame all of my hardships and how you can change your relationship with food and your body when you accept your story and learn how what you’ve been through is affecting your food choices. There is nothing more rewarding than when I see a woman embrace who she is, (flaws and all) and begin to love and accept her life again. Life has taken me on a crazy journey, and now all of the heartache I went through was worth it to be able to lead other women in the right direction. I wouldn’t change anything for the world.
Lena is an Eating Psychology Coach who specialises in helping women overcome their dysfunctional relationship with food and body. She is a public speaker and author of the book Food Rehab for Food Junkies which will be in stores and on Amazon by January 2018. She lives in Calgary, Canada with her husband where she also teaches barre.