Updated: Sep 20, 2019
Here's my story about why I created Find Body Freedom, and why I believe that I can relate to many of the issues that you are experiencing right now.
Somewhere between the ages of three and five, I became what we would call today a morbidly obese child. I learned to eat compulsively from a family that was haunted by the Great Depression and afraid when I was an infant and a toddler that I was too skinny. My mother, chastised by my grandmother for not feeding me enough, would try to make me eat more by making me laugh and then shoving a spoonful more of food into my mouth. That was my first experience with being overfed and led to decades of overfeeding myself.
I was a sneak eater in grade school, stopping off at the variety store up street from my house, and buying candy bars as an "appetizer" on the way home for lunch. I was put on diet pills in the fourth grade and my mom shopped for me in the "chubbette" section of our local department store. The experience of being an overweight child, fraught with disapproval from my parents and hurtful comments from my classmates, negatively colored the first half of my life.
Throughout childhood, adolescence, and into early and mid-adulthood, I believed I was fat, even when I wasn't. I had such an unhealthy relationship with food and with my body, and regularly swung from compulsive overeating to highly restrictive eating behaviors. And I of course I tried every diet known to man and womankind!
In my mid- thirties, I was lost and struggling - with food, my weight, and many other issues. So I joined Weight Watchers and to this day I am grateful to the program for stabilizing my eating behaviors for a period of time - and for introducing me to fruits and vegetables which were not staples in my life as they are now.
But my struggles continued when I realized that I was still following someone else's program, someone else's prescription for what I should eat and how much I should eat. I remember the moment, as if it were yesterday, of standing in front of ninety women, leading a Weight Watcher's meeting in Brookline, MA - and feeling like a fraud. "You just binged", I said to myself. "What a hypocrite you are, eating four graham crackers instead of three" (the serving size at the time). Mind you, I didn't eat four boxes or four sleeves of Graham Crackers. Just four crackers!
And then it hit me. My epiphany! The problem was not the extra graham cracker. The problem was with my intense, almost overwhelming, feelings of guilt and shame for wanting it - and eating it!
So out of this struggle with what I wanted to eat - and what I was told I could have - and lots of research, Find Body Freedom was born in 1992. It's based on the philosophy of intuitive eating that says we are born knowing how to eat and how much to eat. Can you imagine the freedom in that? I learned that my body has this innate wisdom and that it will not betray me. Imagine that! And when we pay attention to our bodies, they will lead us to natural weight and size, where we can find peace and freedom in our relationship with our bodies and with ourselves.
My name is Ilene Leshinsky and i invite you to join me on this journey to discover your body's natural wisdom, your style of eating, and your natural weight.