How to make 2020 the year you shift away from dieting and unleash your true potential

How to make 2020 the year you shift away from dieting and unleash your true potential

Welcome to this episode of The Determine Mom Show, I have the lovely Erica Beal with me and she is the owner of Ericka Beal LLC she helps to empower moms to take care of themselves first, by embracing and loving their bodies and treating themselves with kindness and compassion. So super excited to have her here. She will share with us how to shift away from dieting and unleash your true potential. 

So welcome to the show. Erica, thank you so much for having me. I’m so happy to be here today. This is what I just love talking about this and the more women I can do Each the better. That’s awesome. Well, first I want to start with you telling us a little bit of your story. And so we can understand how you got to be where you are and also, how you came to be, working kind of on your own and being able to be with your children. 

I was a full-time hairstylist, and for about 10 years was all I ever wanted to do against everything that anybody else wanted me to do. But I can remember, you know, back in middle school, like that’s what I wanted to do. So I pursued that I’m also lifelong, or I should say I was a lifelong chronic diet or remember as early as elementary school being so uncomfortable in my skin.

And I know, like, middle school, they’re all awkward years, essentially, but I remember always being Bigger than everyone else, even though I wasn’t that big and just always thinking about my weight in my body, in eighth grade when most kids are, you know, doing group activities and sports.

I was taking a cardio kickboxing class with adults to lose or control my weight, always thinking about food. And I had this pretty major oral surgery done also in eighth grade, towards the end of it and I remember what I was most excited about was the fact that for a month, I could only eat liquids and I lost weight.

And I got to buy a new outfit in a smaller size like that is what I remember about my eighth-grade graduation. I had to buy a smaller size outfit. For a month I could only use liquids because I had so much dental work done.

I was focused on. And going into high school and all of that. I was constantly just very low self-esteem, was quiet, not know where I fit in. And, again, just constantly, my weight was always going up and down. And trying every diet I could think of.

And I would always go back to one in particular Weight Watchers. I remember saying to one of my friends, this is probably my early 20s. If it works, why do we have to keep going back? Right? And she looked at me like, well, we always lose weight. 

So of course, it works. Like why do we have to keep going back if it works, right? And I started, you know, kind of questioning then not enough to change because the ultimate goal was I want to have to lose weight. We’ve been conditioned to fear getting away. And to think that then this equals health and happiness, right and to no fault of our own. 

Just everywhere, and I was caught up in it for a very long time. And like I said, I was a hairstylist for 10 years and then I got diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which, before the age of 30, I was essentially retiring. And it was, you know, my own choice.

The pain had gotten to be too much. I made that decision with my husband sound like a choice, though. Doesn’t I guess at the time, especially I felt like I had no choice. I couldn’t go on working every day with the pain. I spent years with doctors telling me I was crazy.

 Like, they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. And they would chalk it up to Oh, your hairdresser. Of course, your hands hurt but I was in my 20s Yeah, she’s been like the end of my workday, my hips hurting my knees hurting, everything hurt, and again, being in this very superficial industry, which I loved my time there, I made amazing connections with clients. But I was in front of mirrors 24 seven, yeah, around an atmosphere that was simply based on looks, which did not help all of my internal struggles and watching my weight go up and down. 

And literally, when you work in an environment with mostly women, and a, again, superficial and I don’t say that in a bad way, it’s just, it looks in a parents-based industry, somebody who’s always on a diet, always. And then you’re always questioning what you’re eating and what you’re doing and how come they can lose weight and I can or I should go to the gym because they’re going or just feeling worthless, most of the time. And it’s not a hard environment to be in, especially when you battle with it for so long. 

I decided to leave after that diagnosis. Three months later, I got pregnant with my first child. So I decided okay, and I’m just staying home. And now here I was home, super lonely after being in this very social environment, and miserable, and depressed and anxious, and just not I hated my body when I was pregnant, like, hated it, I made it clear to pretty much anyone that knew the way that I would never have another child.

And that was before I even had my first so had nothing to do with actually like, being a mom. And it had everything to do with the fact that I felt so out of control. Nobody. Yeah. And the weight gain was like, Oh my gosh, again, we’re conditioned to fear gaining weight, and then you’re in these life situations like pregnancy where you’re going to gain weight, you have to gain weight. 

And you don’t have to handle it. And obsessing about the scale and what I was eating even more and the guilt and the shame and I was not feeling it, for lack of a better word. And then when my daughter was about eight months old, I was almost getting a little controlling about what she was eating. And, you know, I’m her mom, and it’s my responsibility, but I was feeding her the way I wish I ate but wasn’t doing it myself.

I was making sure you know, she was getting, you know, lots of vegetables and I was making it at home because I could because I was a stay-at-home mom. Meanwhile, I was eating doughnuts for lunch and snacking all day. And being trapped in that cycle of feeling guilty about it. Yeah. So she was about eight months old, and had like this aha moment, like, what am I doing? I’m sitting here eating donuts for lunch. She’s not going to be a baby forever. She’s gonna look at me and be like, Why are you eating that and I can’t, or just the whole food relationship thing.

And it said to my husband before I even had her like, there’s one thing to do as a parent, I do not want to give my child or children, my messed up relationship with food. Like I was very aware of it, but I had no idea how to handle it or what to do. So at that moment, when I was looking at my little eight-month-old like, well, one day, she’s gonna be talking and I decided I’m like, right? It’s not about losing weight. It’s not about wanting to change my body. It’s not about wanting to fit in my pre-pregnancy jeans, bounce back any of that.

It’s about respecting myself and respecting my body and treating it the way that I want her to treat her someday. And it has nothing to do with weight, or anything and everything to do with respect and the desire to feel good. Not just look good. Yeah, and I decided, I’m like I’m just going to shift some things.

I’m gonna start just eating more real food. As we all know, you know, more vegetables, more water is probably going to benefit us. Yeah. So I’m like, I’m just gonna start eating real food and we’re going to eat the same things. And then I noticed my arthritis felt better. It was like, maybe there’s something to this.

And I mentioned it to my doctor, like, you know, I cut out processed foods or most processed foods and I feel really good. And he truly brushed me off and wanted to talk about another medication. Now, I was prescribing medication, it was $4,000 a month, which I wasn’t paying out of my pocket, but I can assume that the doctor was making money off of it. Every time they prescribed it.

I had to inject it once a week. And the side effects were like heart disease, cancer, and all these other things and It never sat well with me. I questioned things. It never sat well with me. And I stopped taking it while I was pregnant because I didn’t feel right and Jackie into my belly. I don’t care. It was studied for 20 years. That’s not long enough for me.

I don’t want to be one of those commercials where it’s like, if you are a loved one was harmed while taking this.  And then I got back on it because the pain was so bad. After I had my daughter of mine, I started to like, notice this shift when I started paying attention to the diet and respecting myself was like, Whoa, maybe there’s a better way. And I mentioned it to him. And he did. He just totally blew me off and wanted to talk about more medication. And I was like,  but I want to talk about omega threes.  I’ve been doing my research, and he wanted nothing to do with it. 

So it was the last time I saw him. And I got off my medication, which is not something I don’t go around telling people like, Don’t listen to your doctor. Get up on the medication. But for me, it was a listen to your gut, listen to your intuition, there might be a better way. And I might as well explore it and see what I can find. And meanwhile, like not only did I heal my body, by paying attention to what I was eating a little bit more, but for the first time, I wasn’t on a diet. 

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