I ate lunch today. It was pretty revolutionary, actually. It turns out I get hungry in the middle of the day. I know this because I listen to my body, now. I don’t starve it, I don’t stuff it, I don’t push it around until it collapses. I just listen, and when it tells me things, I say, gosh, that sounds like a good idea, let’s go with that. Like, say, lunch. Or a nap. Or a run. Or a snack. Or a hug. Or laughter, or yoga. You get the idea; no, probably you don’t get the idea. If you get the idea, you’re all set. You don’t need to read this. You have figured out the secret key to the universe of ok-ness. Which is learning how to listen to your body, and your heart, and your mind, and to discern who is talking and what they want and need and how to get it for them. It all starts with lunch. Or snacks. Or breakfast. Or whatever your most loaded and feared mealtime is. You know, the one you try to skip, religiously, because then you can feel safe and skinny and virtuous and ok? Or the one you avoid because it always seems to turn into a runaway train wreck of a binge eating? Yep. That one. It’s time to eat it.

Because it happens to be the case that you can eat good food when you’re hungry and still feel safe and virtuous and ok. In fact, you can feel those ways because you ate when you were hungry, and stopped when you were full. Over, and over and over again. The rest of the time, when you’re not eating, you’re going to have lots of other stuff going on. Thoughts, emotions, desires, fears… The point is that you’re listening. The point is that you can tell the difference between hungry for lunch and hungry for validation. You know if you’re legitimately living in a larger body than is healthy for you and weight loss is a sane goal, or if there’s something else you’re afraid of that is masquerading behind the belief that “I’m fat.”

It used to be the case that I didn’t have any of this figured out. I was constantly terrified, and I didn’t know myself, and quite frankly, I didn’t want to. I did more damage to my own body and soul than the world ever had, and the world had done a pretty good job at that point. But, I learned to stop. I had an eating disorder, and then I had another one, just for good measure, and then I stopped. I put those beliefs and behaviors down, and lived my way into a body and life that I love, and respect. You can have this, too. Really. It’s not too late, no matter what time it is. I promise.

It is not necessarily the case that everyone who struggles with a warped relationship with food and their bodies has a diagnosable eating disorder, by the way. You don’t have to be disordered in a diagnosable way to be suffering, and I am not a huge fan of allowing people to hold onto their suffering, which is, by the way, different from pain. But, we’ll get to that. What I’m trying to get at here is that this is for anyone who wants to take a second look at the way they eat and the way they live in their embodied life. This is especially for people who would like to feel more freedom, more confidence and more joy. As opposed to other people, who don’t want those things? Silly. I’m being silly. I do that. Anyway, my point is that if you think you need this, you do. So, there’s that. Welcome, you are, as Yoda would say.