FREEDOM FROM DISORDERED EATING & BODY SHAMING

BODY IMAGE, HEALTH, INSPIRING, MENTAL HEALTH, MUST READ, THOUGHT-PROVOKING, USEFUL

It’s January and surprise surprise we are flooded with messages selling us the belief that a) we need to change our bodies b)  doing so will make us a better, happier version of ourselves. Having discovered the Intuitive Eating movement last year I can now confidentially call bullshit on the whole thing. Here is someone who has inspired me hugely: Pandora Paloma of Rooted Living  is an Intuitive Eating and Lifestyle Coach, but before finding this vocation she has worked hard to move away from own deep-seated habits of disordered eating and body shaming.and instead talks of now being at peace with what she eats, but most importantly with her body:


  • I have had both and eating disorder and disordered eating, orthorexia (an obsession of being healthy). The latter for me felt more unbearable; I was hiding my food control and body shaming under the guise of #healthyliving

  • Like most issues with food and our bodies, mine started shortly after puberty. When our bodies are changing at a rate we feel uncontrollable, food tends to step in as the one thing we can ‘control’.

  • My female sibling was judgmental about people’s bodies; this made me very unsure of what I ‘should’ look like.

  • At school, aged 14 I just stopped eating. I lied about everything to not have to eat. I spent most evenings picking at my body in front of the mirror.

  • When I was forced to eat (when I couldn’t lie anymore), I would binge and then throw it up.  I know my mum could hear me.

  • My favourite binge food was ice-cream. It was the easiest thing to throw up. You rarely see me eat ice-cream now. I still find it hard to eat because of the memories.

  • I was also bullied, mostly by boys. This had a huge impact on my self-esteem and was a huge trigger for my eating disorder. 

  • I used to weigh myself daily, often 3-4 times. I would even weigh myself after taking a poo because I was so desperate to lose that extra pound.

  • On my worst days I didn’t drink water. I didn’t want the extra weight. I was 15 years old.

  • I just wanted to be loved. It’s only now that I realise that I needed it so badly, because I didn’t love myself. 

  • Round two, age 19 – orthorexia. On the outside I became London’s healthiest gym bunny. Inside I was a messed up, controlled exercise addict who was riddled with dysmorphic thoughts about her body.

  • I still spent hours a day thinking about food and standing in my pants in front of the mirror, shaming and hating on my vessel.

  • I exercised every day. I counted every calorie. I completely rejected whole food groups.

  • I gave up coffee and drank only green tea. But I still drank a bottle of wine a night to help drown out my anxiety and toxic thoughts about my body.

  • I was obsessed with superfoods and would seek out anything to support my ‘healthy’ journey. 

  • In amongst this, I tried every diet pill going. I even ordered some from America. They gave me the shakes but I persisted intake in a bid to lose more weight.

  • I was also a fan of laxatives, especially if I had eaten a larger portion that usual. 

  • I genuinely thought that if I lost weight, I would become prettier, smarter, more confident. Man, I was wrong.

  • I still had binges and would throw up if I felt ‘heavy’.

  • From my early to mid twenties I started seeing a light through the cracks of darkness.

  • I found yoga and meditation and month by month, I slowly started liking my body and myself again. 

  • By age 26 I wasn’t throwing up anymore and at 27 I trained in nutrition. This gave me a new-found respect for my body. I finally starting accepting what I looked like and what my body did for me on a minute by minute basis.

  • I found Intuitive Eating whilst studying nutrition. I was challenged by how much of the science didn’t take into account the emotional state of the client and how their deep-rooted relationship with food. 

  • Intuitive Eating did and it felt like home. Finally something that made sense. It was the final piece of my healing puzzle.

  • I knew I wanted to focus my work on women’s health and our emotional relationship with food and so I trained in everything intuitive eating & living to compliment my three-year nutrition diploma.

  • Intuitive eating helped me peel the layers of diet mentalities and body blocks that I lived with for so long.

  • It helped me make peace with food and my body. It gave me a sense of freedom.

  • I never felt safe around food. Now I feel liberated and at complete ease. 

  • My guts were sensitive from all the diet pills, laxatives and binging. Over time and with the help of probiotics, I am never bloated and more ‘regular’ than ever. 

  • I used to yo-yo diet and my weight went from anything to 11 stone to 8 stone within months. 

  • Now I’m consistently the same weight and have been for years.

  • But it isn’t even about weight. It’s about being happy and owning my body and who I am. 

  • I feel proud of  my body and who I have become.  The journey was tough but I got here.

  • My work:

  • Intuitive eating is a non-diet diet, one that requires complete trust in your body and the signals it gives you.

  • It isn’t another trend or quick fix and for many can be really difficult to get their head around.

  • We have lived in a diet culture for so long that for many women that I work with, they are so completely lost with how and what to eat anymore.

  • Intuitive eating takes the emphasis away from the food itself and instead looks at everything else going on, emotionally and physically. 

  • My work – Intuitive Living – takes into account everything else that is going on in your life. 

  • Many of my clients constantly battling what their hearts and heads are saying. They know how to eat, but the old imprints, stories and mentalities will never allow them freedom if they don’t face them head on.

  • In the last 2 years I’ve realised that so much of how we eat is directed by how we are living. It’s never about the food. It’s always about the living.

  • I also find it fascinating that we are all highly intuitive, yet usually fear this part of us because we have been pushed to use the logical side of our brains much more.

  • The types of food that you eat is also a marker for what else is going on for you…

  • If chocolate is your thing, where are you lacking sweetness, romance or sensuality in your life?

  • If pasta and carb rich food are you thing, where are you not feeling satisfied or what are you trying to push down?

  • I’ve probably worked with just over a hundred women now. Every single one has a different story but there are usually common threads. 

  • How you witnessed your mother, father and siblings eating growing up has a huge impact on how you eat today.

  • It’s rarely done out of spite. Often they don’t know any better, or were over-concerned with you being a version of themselves they wanted to be.

  • Or the concern was you becoming a version of themselves the became but didn’t want to.

  • The inner critic also plays a massive role. It keeps us safe by keeping us in fear. Change can be scary.

  • So much of what I do is peeling away these layers. You can’t just rip the plaster off. You have to take it slowly and rebuild the layers as you’re feeling off the old ones.

  • The society we live in doesn’t help. The diet industry is worth minimum 33 billion. Companies like that we are either unhappy or afraid of our bodies.  

  • I will NOT be a part of supporting these companies. I want women to rebel.

  • We’ve been convinced that happiness is something that comes only once we hit that goal weight, get strong abs or become strong not skinny. F**k that.

  • Women shrink themselves down and try and change every part of themselves to try and fit in. But being unique is way more empowering.

  • The realisation that you might just want to think differently about your body is always the first step.

  • Becoming a mother changed my outlook even more. Raising intuitive eaters is going to be a big part of my work now.

  • Intuitive eating is for you if you re a yo-yo dieter, feel uncomfortable in your body, feel overwhelmed with your diet, want to find peace with food, want to feel free around food, or want to get rid of toxic thought patterns and mentalities. 

  • It’s for you if you want to learn to trust your body and make it your number one BFF.

  • Our bodies are not the problem. Women are so much more than their bodies. 

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