The following is a guest post written by Kate of Eat, Cycle, Repeat. I love her stuff. I really can’t say anything more. I can say that I had no say whatsoever in the egregious compliments she pays me throughout this post. At her request I have left them in — but please know that I do so bashfully. :) She’s raw, open, loving, and, get this, has a quote at the top of her page:
“intuitive eating – find what makes you come alive.”
I don’t know if she sources that quote to the same place I do, but it resonates with one of my all time favorite quotes:
“Don’t think about what the world needs. Think about what makes you come alive, then go out and do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
This is Kate in her own words:
My name is Kate. My favorite food is Japanese sweet potatoes. I have an eccentric list of things I want to do to celebrate my life. My favorite kind of shopping is food shopping or buying sustainable, second-hand, or fair trade goods (usually kitchen related). I’m originally from Sherwood, Wisconsin, but I’ve lived in Boston, Dublin, Geneva, and now a little agricultural corner in Chiba, Japan. It is certainly interesting to eat a primal diet in a foreign country, but it is challenging, perspective-altering, and a fun way to grow. I put a lot of my time into preparing and eating great, nourishing food, but there are other areas of my life that need nourishment and stimulation as well.
Kate then lists happiness, community, emotional wellbeing, adventure, and using fear to grow as those areas — with beautfiul elaborations on each and the role they play in her life and the world.
I’ve been doing every thing that feels right – intuitive and good. I’ve been honoring my body, acknowledging my emotions, shifting my mentality, and cultivating my spirituality. I dance. I laugh. I seek nourishment in all areas of my life.
I did a modified GAPS diet and Chris Kresser’s 30 Day Reset to heal my gut. I take two types of probiotics. I take magnesium for regular bowel movements (yeah, I’ve even started openly talking about poop). I eat an ancestral/paleo diet, avoiding phytoestrogens and all other foods that irritate my gut and immune system – nuts, eggs, seeds, nightshades, and ALL sweeteners, including some types of fruit. I did a 21 day sugar detox. I couldn’t sleep well so I added carbs back into my diet. I supplement according to a knowledgeable practitioner.
I took a few months off of hard exercise and only did yoga in order to give my adrenals some rest. I focused on calming sleep anxiety even though it meant gaining an extra 5 pounds over the winter. I started doing Crossfit in the spring, as well as sprint exercises. I still do yoga and stretching. I love moving my body.
All of these physical steps came a year after emotional healing. I addressed my sleep issues – improving my “sleep hygiene” and doing my best to be in bed early and prioritize & honor the healing, revitalizing process that is sleep. Since my brother introduced me to Paleo for Women last year and the genius that is Stefani, I’ve been working to acknowledge my emotions, actively practice loving myself, and have patience as I shift to new habits and new self-dialogue to move away from emotional eating.
I pursue a practice of nourishing my spirituality by being a steward of the environment, practicing vulnerability and advocating against shame, writing, learning, and meditating. Consciously, I was doing everything I knew I could to heal.
I do all these things – and then I realized that I STILL thought that I had a broken uterus.
Here is the honest to goodness truth of a knowledge bomb: No part of you is ever broken. That should not be your identity. Your disease, addiction, problems, concerns – none of that DEFINES you. You have the privilege of choosing what defines you. I may have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, PCOS, and some other related issues, but that isn’t ME. I knew that, and my conscious brain believed it. Apparently my subconscious had other ideas.
I was walking to work one day and I felt some cramping in my lower abdomen. I figured it was my intestines, since those usually are complaining with either discomfort or downright pain when they need attention. And I thought, just for a second, is it cramps?! I realized I hadn’t felt anything in my uterus in a long time. I haven’t menstruated in about 4 years. I had a thought – it’s almost like things feel kind of dead in my womb.
This is not a fun thought. When I first found out I had PCOS three years ago, I was terrified. I thought that I would never have children and be barren and scarred for the rest of my life. I never thought there was a “cure”, or rather, a way to recover naturally from PCOS. Then my brother suggested a paleo diet, and I found Paleo for Women. Stefani’s work has helped me address a lot of emotional fears and resistance and learn to love myself again. She opened up a world for me that is crucial to physical repair – emotional healing.
So I thought I was aware. I thought I was addressing every possible aspect of my healing – emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual. But I still have some deep-rooted fears ~ things I was so afraid of I wouldn’t admit them to my conscious self. I’ve been doing a 30 Day Anti-Diet Challenge, and the previous evening we had been working on a guided meditation to access the wisdom and message of the subconscious. It didn’t appear right away, but when I was walking this message came to the surface: I was still afraid of not being enough. For all that I talk about shame awareness – I had a deeply held belief that I wasn’t woman enough because, right now, I can’t give someone, the world, a baby. I don’t want a baby at this point in my life, I just want to get my period. I want to be a part of that rite of womanhood that is as ancient and traditional as conscious life.
And all this fear got funneled down into the very core of my being – the part that gives and sustains life. My uterus needs more than just physical nourishment and hormonal balance – it needs acknowledgement, respect, and unconditional love, no matter what it’s abilities. It needs the same thing that I need as a person, that all people need.
One of the first intentions that changed the way I engaged with life, bringing me to a much healthier place now, is this: you deserve it. When I first heard it I started crying. It touched something in me faster than my brain could process the implications of what it meant. I had spent many years thinking I wasn’t (skinny/pretty/talented/athletic/smart/fill in the blank) enough. Once I realized that I did indeed deserve everything I wanted – love, positivity, health, relationships, joy, and more – making the healthier, more intuitive decisions came easier. It’s taken patience and more than a few mistakes, but each day keeps improving, and I have no desire to go back to what I used to do: emotional eating, negative self-talk, and spiritual disconnect.
I don’t have the complete answer on how to nourish my emotionally-stunted uterus. The lovely and not so lovely thing about the internet is we get to see all kinds of people having a whole bunch of success in healing, because they have found what is right for them. And I used to get jealous (I still get a little jealous) and wanted to do exactly what other people were doing, because I was desperate for something that worked. I had to learn to trust my body, which became much easier once it wasn’t hijacked by all the crazy, inflammatory, addictive substances that pass for “food”. I had to stop repressing emotions and learn how to feel through them safely and compassionately. I had to quit doing what I thought society dicatated I should do, and follow what fed my spirit. I learn and grow from my mistakes, and I trust the process that will eventually bring me to optimal health, even if the way is not always clear.
I do know that the answer begins at self-worth.
I deserve to feel like a woman. A sexy, radiant, fertile woman. It doesn’t matter that my hormones are imbalanced or conception is currently a physical challenge. It doesn’t make me any LESS of a person, especially one of the feminine persuasion. I am going to act as if I am already what I want to be – fertile and attractive, full of light and life.
Whatever your ailment, your “disorder”, your challenges – it doesn’t make you any less of a person. It has no impact on your self-worth, your ability to love and be loved, or your need for connection and joy in your life. That is what we deserve, and that is what we must demand for and respect of ourselves.
Major thanks to Stefani Ruper, and all her glorious self-love hacks, ingenious PCOS Unlocked, evocative podcast, and generally being an awesome dancing fiend. Also to Liz Wolfe, for introducing me to the idea that fertility is an important marker for health.
Huge honors to Iris Higgins of Your Fairy Angel and her 30 Day Anti Diet Challenge – your meditations rock my world.
Have a food blog? A feminist blog? An ovaries blog? Feeling inspired and want to write a post? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.