I just wrapped up the inaugural Normal Eaters Retreat in Breckenridge, Colorado and it was…incredible.
I left with my heart overflowing with emotion:
Gratitude that I got to spend 4 days with the most honest, authentic, funny, beautiful group of women I’ve ever met.
Deep joy at hearing and seeing shifts, wins, a-ha’s, and progress.
Appreciation at how sharing stories & experiences together can feel so healing.
Awe of how much courage and honesty each of the women had in facing some of their biggest fears.
When I first started my business, I dreamed of creating a space (in person) where women could come together and heal, laugh, cry, connect, support and inspire each other. And as the 4 days has wrapped up, I wanted to share my reflections with you 🙂
Here are the 3 must-know lessons about food issues (lessons from our retreat that I wanted to share with you!)
Food Will Never Satisfy Our Yearning For Connection.
On Sunday before we left, we did a wrap up workshop.
One of the ladies said: “You know, I wasn’t that hungry this weekend because I was so filled up by each of you”.
I couldn’t echo her sentiment more.
What we’re really all longing for is connection. Connection to the present moment.Deep authentic connection to others. Connection to the small joys that make up the moments of our lives.
Food will never fill this void inside of us that yearns for connection.
There is no brownie, no ice cream sundae, and no Oreo cookie that will ever take the place of a deep belly laugh with a friend, a conversation that allows you to feel seen and heard, waking up to the sunrise over the mountains or taking in the beauty of nature.
Half my life was spent looking to food to fill me up when what I really wanted was connection and love.
We’re not meant to live this journey in isolation. We’re meant to connect with others.
The retreat was a chance to do exactly that: to share experiences with women who deeply understand our journeys. To experience what it feels like to have another accept you exactly as you are. To share a struggle and have another deeply resonate with you. To celebrate a win and have 8 others cheer you on. To laugh. To cry. To share things we’ve hidden about ourselves for years.
We filled ourselves up in a way that food never can: with connection, conversation and love.
We all long to feel heard. To be seen. To be accepted exactly as we are. And food will never satisfy these deep longings within us.
THIS is the right path.
But what I know for sure is this: facing food issues head on breaks you down to allow you to become the person you’re meant to be.
If I was still knee-deep in counting calories, adhering to some diet program, binging until I couldn’t move and then swearing I’d be perfect tomorrow…I wouldn’t be living at all.
These “issues” are what point us deeper into the areas of our lives that we need to look at.
And in the process of digging deeper into our food issues, along the way, we learn:
…learning how to create boundaries and say no
…taking time for yourself
…being vulnerable and expressing your truth
…being able to stand in front of the mirror and love the person that’s there
…learning how to be present for the small joys in life.
Food was my doorway. And it’s yours too. This retreat brought that home in a new way for me.
One of the ladies said: “In a way, I’m glad I gained 45 pounds. It forced me to come here and deal with the things I hadn’t ever dealt with.”
Our battle with weight points us deeper. Deeper into learning how to LIVE.
This IS the right path (and yes, the harder path. But the payoff is SO worth it).
There will always be another diet, another “no carb” plan and another “eat this to lose weight” trend. But looking deeper into the mental, emotional and spiritual part of this journey is where the lasting healing lies.
This might seem odd to talk about laughter when we spent 4 days diving into serious topics like weight, emotions, binging, self-sabotage, and body image.
But it’s SO important to be able to laugh on this journey. When we don’t take ourselves so seriously and we can laugh at the silly things we often do, it helps us heal faster.
We can easily get bogged down in the heaviness and seriousness of these issues. But being able to still find laughter in our lives? That is pure gold.
Of course there were serious moments, deep insights, a-ha revelations and lots of tears this weekend.
But there were also times when we laughed: giggling in a toy store trying to find a stuffed animal for one of the ladies “inner child”, cracking up at this “letting go” exercise we did with balloons that ended up not as planned, and sharing moments of laughter as we got to see and know each person’s quirks.
This journey isn’t easy. I wish I could just wave a magic wand and poof, each person’s issues would be resolved…
…But then again, maybe I wouldn’t. Because the person you become by healing, diving into these issues and learning how to truly live…that person is who I know you’re meant to be 😉
Our beautiful retreat house in Breckenridge, Colorado:
Our ladies doing some workshop exercises:
Our kitchen was perfect to enjoy mindful dinners together every night (meals cooked by our Personal Chef!)
Our workshop space!