A Day at the Beach…

Today was one of those incredible days. I took a long bike ride along the beach in total awe at the magnificent purple and peach hues peeking through the cluster of white clouds as a backdrop to the crisp shades of blue that twinkled off the sea. With each press down on the pedal I gave thanks for all my blessings that continue to flow into my life. I remember a time when cycling was quite difficult for my 234 pound frame to have enough stamina to make it over the bridge without an abrupt stop to walk the incline.

This very shoreline in Hollywood, Florida is no strange place to me. Yvonne, my very best friend, and I were in our mid and early twenties respectively when we managed to scrape together enough money from our income tax return and jumped on a plane from Chicago and headed to what I refer to as paradise. I fell totally in love with Florida years before when I was only twelve and promised to one day return. I did.

Now, I fast forward 31 years on this very beach that brought me joy back then and today (though much has happened) with the birth of new memories, though I cling to what was. At 44 years old Yvonne passed away unexpectedly in her sleep but I hold on to the ten years of reminiscence when we flew back and forth from Chicago until I finally took the plunge and moved here permanently. So our giggles, tears, and serious talks live on in me and the beauty today I am so blessed to embrace is still the same.

Many a bike rides, power walks, and baby carriage strolls I indulged on this very beach. In my twenties with Yvonne I was knee-deep in my food addiction with a preoccupation with food and my body weight. Back then, I thought I didn’t have “will” power to maintain any kind of diet to earn a “respectable” body size. Today I know it had nothing to do with diets or will power and everything to do with a chemical imbalance when I ate certain foods. I didn’t have a clue that I couldn’t tolerate sugar, flour, and wheat. I wish I did.

All I knew in my younger years was that I had uncontrollable cravings and never had enough to eat and lived life in shame. I thought there was something wrong with me because I had no control over my food while Yvonne couldn’t care less about when, what, or how we ate as she pranced about with this amazing body tucked in a teeny tiny bikini and I hid behind an oversized t-shirt.

Today, as my strong lean legs gracefully pump the pedals with such ease the warm ocean breeze cools my face. I am alive and free. I’m liberated from the pain that comes from binge eating addictive foods. I am in such a different frame of mind compared to those yesteryears. Daily, I practice active recovery from food addiction.

As long as I eat three balanced meals at the same time each day and a metabolic snack, free of sugar, flour, and wheat I am good. I don’t need anything more or less. I operate at an optimal level and all guilt and shame is completely wiped away. My body is a “normal” weight, and on and off diet mentality is no longer the way I live my life. Instead, I adopted a healthy lifestyle where I walk, bike, meditate, play, pray, eat healthy “real” foods, all sprinkled with spiritual balance as my base.

Today was one of those incredible days I wished to bottle forever but thunder in the background shook me from my daze and pushed me to a Lance Armstrong pedal pace to beat the storm. I’m grateful and thankful for a beach day and to you Yvonne for insisting we spend our money and make Florida an annual trip when we were young girls with crazy dreams. Without your nudge I wouldn’t live in paradise blessed with a healthy body and a healthy mind where dreams do come true.

Life is good! I am thankful…

Photo by: Dr. Lisa Ortigara Crego

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