I didn’t watch the Golden Globes this past Sunday, but on Monday morning, my sister texted me a clip of Oprah Winfrey’s speech, as she accepted the Cecil B. de Mille Award.
“Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” - Oprah
While her speech was geared toward women and the current political climate — with several references to the “me too” and “time is up” movements — Oprah’s message, in my opinion, can and should be applied to every aspect of our lives.
This includes our relationship with food and our bodies.
I will be the first to admit that I have always struggled with telling the whole truth. I don’t go around intentionally lying or deceiving others, but I have struggled to be honest with myself — and those I love — when it comes to thoughts and emotions that I consider embarrassing or traits that make me feel less than, separate, or like I’m not enough.
In the past, I frequently chose to hide my flaws, my feelings, and my struggles. I had my mind set. I had to strive for perfection and keep up with the expectations I set for myself. I had no other choice but to push harder, call on my willpower, and hope for a breakthrough that never seemed to come.
For a long time, I managed to “keep up.” But, I would turn to food, or exercising in excess, or obsessing over my next plan of eating (aka diet). I would procrastinate and avoid looking at the truth of my situation at all costs. I would compensate in more ways than one, and it usually involved, or at least ended in, self-sabotaging behavior. On the surface, everything looked “fine.”
The worst part? I didn’t know that I was lying to myself most of the time. I didn’t understand that my attention was diverted. I didn’t realize that I had many lessons to learn that had nothing (yet somehow everything) to do with my crazy relationship with food and my body.
“It’s the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and injustice.” - Oprah
I only began to understand my truth when I became willing to look at myself and explore my behavior with rigorous honesty. I am now willing to be honest about what works for me and what doesn’t, where I’ve got this and where I need help, where I need structure and where I need to let go of control. It’s a work in progress, but the process brings me incomparable freedom.
My truth is my own and cannot be compared to anyone or anything else.
At first, this new approach felt very difficult, especially with social media, and the media at large, inundating us with information and influencing how we should act and feel — around food, exercise, our bodies, and everything under the sun. Many outlets have good intentions, but unfortunately, that didn’t change the impact it had on me for years.
Underneath, we are all striving for the same thing, but in this modern world of information overload, it’s easy to feel like our true life experience is wrong, not good enough, or separate — sometimes simply because it doesn’t look like someone else’s curated life on Instagram.
“What I’ve always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave, to say how we experience shame, how we love, and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome.” - Oprah
With some basic yet life-changing practices, support from incredible people, and connection to a power greater than myself, telling the whole truth began to feel easier and easier. As I shared it with others, imperfection began to feel better and better. I started to notice speaking my truth freed me from obsession, but also allowed others to do the same, which was totally liberating.
Sharing the full extent of my struggle with food and my body, as well as my imperfect reality, deepened my relationship with my boyfriend, family, friends, and clients — for real. In some cases, speaking up directly influenced friends and clients to open up about their deepest struggles and begin to change their ways. They were no longer alone. And the ripple effect continues.
“I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights.” - Oprah
For me, this is what life is all about. Speaking my truth has allowed me to find freedom from food, diet, and exercise obsession, but it has also allowed me to live with authenticity, integrity, and much more joy.
If you're ready to take a deeper look at your food and body struggles, uncover your truth, and find freedom, I would love nothing more than to connect with you here.
Sending you so much love!