Food, faith, and freedom: a journey through disordered eating


I remember being a young teenager and sitting in the kitchen as my mother, who was a scientist, explained to me the magic equation to stay thin: calories in equals calories out. The next day at lunch, I pulled my calculator out of my schoolbag and began doing the math to learn how many calories I ate in that meal. I can work with this, I thought. I’ve found something I can control.

From that moment, I stopped trusting my body and my connection to nature.

Instead, I started putting my trust outside myself into laboratory statistics and calculations. The margins in my high school and college notebooks are filled with columns of numbers as I would count my calories over and over again “just checking.”

I started to avoid food unless it came in a factory package that contained a nutrition label that would list the calories and macronutrients. I never considered how I ate was related to how I felt emotionally, or how my body functioned, or the state of my mind. My approach to food was about fitting in as much sense-pleasure as I could while keeping the number on the scale as low as possible.

What comes up must come down. After years of obsessive restriction, imbalanced vata dosha, and a predominately tamasic mind sent me into compulsive overeating and binge behaviors. Afterwards, I felt such shame and self-hatred. But I couldn’t stop.

I realized that I was not in control of anything.

I saw that this fixation was in control of me. After 15 years of daily calorie counting and weighing in, I had an acquaintance point out to me that this behavior was a little self-absorbed. I felt insulted. Deep in avidya, or delusion, I truly thought I was doing my best to manage my health. In time, I realized she was right. Thinking so often of pleasing my senses and my vanity was a miserable way to live. And I wasn’t as healthy as I pretended to be. Sure I stayed thin with the packaged foods, protein powders, and raw vegetables, but my digestion was debilitated and I had low energy and enthusiasm for life.

I struggled with Crohn’s disease, codependency, and chronic anxiety.

I was fortunate to find Ayurveda when I did. I learned new ways of relating to food. As I adopted habits to support agni, I began to digest food and life with greater ease. I began noticing how foods with prana brightened my attitude and left me feeling satisfied, and how foods with sattva brought clarity of mind and a spiritual connection. Over time, I let go of the mathematics and learned to let my intuition guide what I eat. I developed other interests. My health improved, and so did my relationships, my sense of purpose, and my shraddha (faith).

As I integrated Ayurveda more deeply into my life, my illnesses all resolved, including Crohn’s disease.

I eased up on trying to be perfect and developed a light-hearted, present, and joyful attitude towards cooking and eating. Through guidance and self-reflection, I discovered my disordered relationship with food was just a symptom, and the root cause was deep-seated resentments, emotions, and impressions from childhood that had become stuck and unresolved. Through the practices of meditation, managing my energy with the IEP, and cultivating a loving relationship with my inner child, I acknowledged these unresolved impressions and learned to let them go and to let love in.

I am in progress, not perfection.

I still have moments of challenge in my journey. But today any challenges are much milder and I have supportive tools to move through them. Best of all, my self-worth no longer comes from what my body looks like or what I ate that day. It comes from a much deeper source.

We can support you to unlock your food freedom and live a fulfilled life


Heal Your Relationship with Food

A proven program for resolving disordered eating patterns with Ayurveda and Yoga.

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