I travelled to America years ago. And this is where all my food issues finally stopped. It wasn’t the States that did it – but my State of mind! (oh yeeah). Leaving for that trip was a culmination of everything for me; about what I learned about myself and eating. A few months before leaving my teeth had eroded due to my overeating of fruit. My stomach was in a bad state. I had been to have ultrasound, colonoscopies, colonic irrigation – the works. But nothing seemed to help me get well again, and I continuously felt that my insides were in knots. My eating was not making me happy although I desperately thought it would. The control of my food was making me sicker. How I thought about myself had not contributed to a whole and happy me. I’d always wanted to travel to America. I loved the idea of strolling around New England and taking in the beautiful houses, forests, and the attitude of the folks I would meet. But going there with my old mindset would not help me. So I decided that going there would be a huge chance to change things once and for all. I decided I would eat WHATEVER I wanted, in whatever quantities I wanted. I wanted apple pie, pumpkin pie, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – all of it. No rules. Just freedom. So to the land of freedom I went. And yes. I ate. Those old thoughts of “What the hell are you doing? That’s THREE slices of bread you’ve just eaten you know!” Kept bubbling up, trying to shame me and guilt me into submission. But I told them to do one. I had a lot of faith in myself and what I’d decided to do. The decision was – to eat, be free and see where it would take me. A real leap of faith for someone who had tried to control all aspects of food. And I gained weight. A lot of weight. A whole stone around my belly. I happened to work in a bakery whilst I was there. An organic, hip, awesome bakery that played Stevie Wonder, folk tunes and disco beats whilst we cooked. And I ate, and ate. And I kept letting myself eat whatever I wanted, and the other voice wasn’t too happy but realized it didn’t seem to be making a difference. It was slowly shutting up. I was also proving to myself that I’m capable by travelling around and staying with strangers. But that wasn’t a real issue for me as I went with an open heart and an open mind and I knew that I would be fine. I literally tumbled onto the right train, I easily found free transport around the three states I visited; because I knew it would be so. That attitude helped a lot for my eating too. I was letting myself be more free than ever. I came back wearing the maternity clothes of the baker I worked for! This always makes me laugh so much. I patted my lovely round dough belly and thought, well that was delicious! But did have some panicky thoughts about the weight gain. But I thought “No! This can’t stop now, and I can’t just go back to how I was!” So onwards! I carried on once I got home. Allowing choice, allowing freedom. Eating what I wanted. And then one day, all of a sudden – I didn’t FEEL like eating bread on that day. So I didn’t. The next week, that pudding didn’t tempt me. I knew if I wanted it I could have it, but I CHOSE to leave it and have some another time, if I WANTED to. What. A. Difference. No after-worries. No panic. Calm! I then knew that all food was available to me. At any time, in any quantity. Whenever I wanted. This turned the world into a safer place. But it had always been like that, but I’d been living in this ‘lack mindset’ and hoarded all the food. I tried to stick it on me to turn me into someone else. When I stopped all that nonsense, the only person I was left with – was ME. I had to just be me. I realized “Spleesh, this is far easier!” It was easier to be myself than trying to force myself to be someone different. And so – for you dear reader, I hope what you get from this is that you too can be better off without dieting and too many EXTERNAL rules. The funny thing is, sometimes the way I eat now, is similar to the ways I forced myself to eat back then. But the difference is huge. It’s always a choice. It’s always guided by kindest for my whole self – which includes my future self. It doesn’t feel imposed by someone else. And even if I resist a little, I think how much better I’ll feel tomorrow and that makes me relax. It’s safe once you learn you are worth TRUSTING. If you can let go of the fear that dieting instills in you, you will find a safe harbour within. Write down what you fear – you will realize that it’s all okay. Even weight gain isn’t the be all and end all. Even illness isn’t. But once you choose what you eat, and are open to your own guidance, you will realize that you do have natural limits. Heck, you have them now – you just don’t OWN them. You disregard them. So relax, breathe deeply, let go, it’s all okay. Talk to me here if you want some more answers. I know it can be confusing, but it’s all okay! It’s all okay. You are there inside – safe. You know what to do. You are wise and you can guide yourself from this point. Just stop dieting, and listen to yourself.