“At 8 years old, I learned from my mom that I had a slow metabolism and that I needed to portion control. From that point on, I became obsessed with looking at food labels. By 4th grade, I was drinking Slim-fast shakes for breakfast. My mom had every good intention. She was chubby as a child and was made fun of by her own siblings, so she was trying to protect her daughter from having a similar experience.

In college, I studied abroad in Mexico. My first day there, I looked around and thought, ‘Nobody knows me here. They don’t know how I normally eat or look or behave. I can be anybody I want to be.’ So I just let myself go. I met this guy… I like to call him my Mexican lover. He asked me not to drink around him, so I experienced Mexico completely sober. Amazing! I was discovering who I really was for the first time since childhood. Getting away from the familial judgements and the influence of alcohol, I started to realize just how little I actually knew about myself.

But it was still me plus food. And after 6 months back in the states, I was at bottom of the barrel again. During a long road-trip with a roommate, I read this book that spoke my truth about all the crazy thoughts and feelings I’d had about food. Worried I’m going to run out of food. Packing food just in case. Eating it as soon as I’m out of the house. I had felt like I was the only one stuck in food prison, but this was the first time I felt like I wasn’t alone in my struggle.

The teachings of a guru I found at that time also impacted me deeply. ‘You are not your mind. Your mind is just an accumulation of experiences you’ve had.’ I had never even considered that before. All my life, I was my thoughts, but now I realized that I was something greater than my body and mind. It meant that I had the ability to control my thoughts, which was the most exciting thing I could have ever imagined.”