Until I was 9 years old it was stable and regular. I ate when I was hungry/at meal times. I grew up in a family mostly of boys and it always felt like they were the preferred sex. I felt limited by being a girl. We would play Star Wars after school and I was always Princess Leia. I never got to be Luke Skywalker, just because I was girl. I wasn’t allowed to do everything my brothers were allowed to, and I started to resent the limiting nature that I was taught being a female meant. eg Girls don’t do xyz.
2. When did you first realize you had a ‘problem’ with food and body image? How did you define it?
For me it all started with body image – at 9 years old. My cousin called me fat and drew attention to the fat rolls on my stomach and called me “gross!” From that point on I really felt super self-conscious of how I looked, especially how my stomach appeared. I defined myself as fat and tried so so hard not to be – but the hardest part was that I LOVED to eat delicious food. I went through years of thinking I would become acceptable if I just didn’t eat. So the vicious cycle began: not eating to be thin and good, and then eating because I was starving myself and was hungry, and then feeling bad about myself for not having better control when I ate. The harsh relentless inner critic got a great foothold here.
When I was pregnant with my first child I ate whatever I wanted to without a thought of deprivation for 9 months, without guilt or concern. It tasted so good and it felt so good to be FULL. I gained over 50 pounds and had a full meltdown after he was born, realizing that all that good tasting food was not gonna just melt away. I remember being in the dressing room and trying on double digit size clothes for the first time ever and crying.
3. When did you start to learn to love your body and yourself?
After I had my 4 boys I realized that my body has done some amazing things. I had been a lot of different sizes, and it’s come back to me, just for me. I was 35 or 36 and I wore a bikini to the beach that year. I knew it had taken good care of me, it was time to give in to my own desires. I still had stretch marks and a saggy booty; my body wasn’t perfect, but I was OK with it being seen. That said, I still struggle with how I look being linked to my view of myself. From time to time, I have to remind myself I am worthy of love and belonging no matter what my body looks like.
4. What else influenced your view of self?
I grew up in a family of impossibly-thin fat-phobics. The very best compliment you could get was, “Ohhh you look wonderful, have you lost weight?” Funny—not funny now. It skewed my vision of what normal was and what I had to look like to be loved. In my world skinny has always been best, with thin being a close second. Size mattered.
5. What’s been most influential in your healing journey?
Really focusing on healing from the inside out. I have an autoimmune disease and as I’ve taken steps to heal, I’ve learned more and more about what my body needs and the incomparable value of support. A few years ago there were not very many people who knew my internal struggles with insecurities and weight. As I’ve opened up to healing, my support network has grown exponentially!
6. What do you love about yourself now?
That I wear a bikini. That my standard of looking good is just that: mine.
7. What do you love about your body?
How strong and resilient it is! Also, how relentlessly it’s been sending me messages about loving myself that I desperately needed for a long time.
8. What wisdom do you want to share with the world?
Sesame seeds are the glitter of food! 🙂
9. Fill in the blank: I am kickass at _______
Making funny videos at the grocery store!
10. What’s your comfort food?
These two things together make my taste buds sing: a crispy skinned baked potato with tons of butter and salt, and homemade chicken soup.
- What are your non-negotiables?
Morning pages, meditation, lots of protein in the AM, a yoga class each week, essential oils, hot epsom baths at night.
12. What do you do when you don’t know what to do with yourself?
Take a bath, go for a walk, clean something, call a friend and be reminded to just do the next right thing.
- When was the last time you laughed at yourself?
TODAY! When my best friend quoted some of my own “brilliance” back to me.
14. Madonna or Cher?
- Favorite Super Hero and why?
I really love Helen Keller. Hello, she didn’t just learn sign language, she learned to speak! Her sustained learning took her so far beyond what she was originally deemed “capable” of…
- What is your superpower?
Helping people heal from where they are.
Liberty Bain is a health coach, spiritual director, mom of 4, wife of 1, who is passionate about healing. She helps you find your ‘Sweet Spot’, that perfect place where everything feels aligned and it’s easy to be you.