Shifting Your Body Identity Can Shift Your Entire Life
If you had told me five years ago that I would be on stage talking to Oprah about my lifelong struggle with my weight, I would have said you were nuts. This very private daily battle with my body was my most fiercely guarded secret of shame. And now here I was on stage talking to a crowd of 10,000 people about my cellulite.
My struggle with my body baffled me. I had worked hard and achieved success in many areas of my life – my relationships, career, academics, personal endeavors – but success in my relationship with food and my weight totally eluded me.
I knew that it didn’t have to do with knowledge; after 30 years of dieting, I was an expert on all things related to nutrition. It didn’t have to do with motivation; there was nothing I wanted more. Something was missing; something was deeply out of alignment. What I came to realize was that there were emotional and spiritual hungers that were driving me to eat when I wasn’t hungry. Perhaps the deepest of these cravings was my hunger to love and accept myself. No diet could ever teach me how to feed that. Something else was required.
It all broke open for me one day as I found myself incredibly self-conscious on a beach in my bathing suit, unwilling to play in the sand with my son for fear of how my rolls and dimples would look. Lamenting that I was missing out on the beauty and bounty of my life, I began to recount all the ways my self-imposed fear of judgment had limited me in attaining the fullness of life that I consider my birthright. This was my watershed moment when I realized that my thoughts and feelings about my body were far more painful and damaging to my quality of life than the actual size of my body.
This day marked the beginning of my journey of personal transformation.
I embarked on a path to understand my true hungers, find alignment with my true self, end the diet war, make peace with food, and learn to truly accept my body (including each and every pound and dimple).
My journey required vulnerability and getting real with myself – but mostly it required a decision that I was worth it, that this is my one and only beautiful life, and that I couldn’t waste another day immersed in self-loathing.
In 2012, inspired by my own transformation, I decided to write a blog to share my story with others. My hope was that by telling the world about the healing I had experienced through my struggle with food and my weight, I would spark someone else’s desire for personal transformation. I was terrified the first time I hit the “publish” button, wondering what would my friends and family would think of me now that I was publicly dismantling the false perfection I portrayed during my people-pleasing and approval-seeking days. My secret was out. It was time for truth and accountability.
Breaking free of my shame lit a fire in me. I began writing and connecting with hundreds of women through my blog, workshops, and coaching work. I felt more aligned and honest than ever before. I experienced presence and freedom. I saw dreams coming true.
Then in November of 2014, my ultimate dream came true. I had wanted to meet Oprah all my life.
I credit her for so much of my spiritual and personal development; it was through her that I encountered the life-changing wisdom of Marianne Williamson, Eckhart Tolle, and Geneen Roth, to name a few. I have also looked to her as a role model because of her willingness to be vulnerable and honest about her own struggles with her body.
The series of events that led to my moment on stage with Oprah could only have been divinely inspired. While in the midst of grieving the sudden loss of my father, I received news that I had won tickets to see Oprah in Seattle at the Life You Want weekend. AMAZING! It felt like such a bright spot in an otherwise excruciatingly painful month.
A few days before the event I tweeted a photo about my journey to body acceptance in response to a feature Oprah was doing on inner beauty. Hours after posting the photo, one of Oprah’s staff members reached out to me for approval to use the photo I had posted. I was thrilled – but even more so when I got a call from one of Oprah’s producers the day before the event asking me if Oprah could interview me on stage about my journey. Dreams really do come true!
Not only did I have the opportunity to meet, hug, and speak to Oprah, but I was also gifted with the incredible opportunity to share my message on a much bigger platform. Countless women of all shapes and sizes approached me that day after I spoke, some with tears in their eyes. They responded to my message: By pushing beyond my fears, claiming my right to be free in my body, living my truth, and revealing my deeply held vulnerabilities, I was able to manifest my biggest dream into reality.
Since my time with Oprah, I continue to share my story and help others tell theirs. Far too many of us are hiding ourselves away and dimming the light of our lives because of some perceived flaw or feeling of not enoughness. Our fears and limiting beliefs hold us back and rob the world of the multitude of ways we are meant to shine. Imagine what could be possible if we let ourselves fully embrace our power and potential?
Life is always supporting us, but we do have to meet it half way.
Align your life with your authentic self. Courageously embrace the beauty that you are. Dare to desire knowing that you deserve it. Then watch and see what tiny (and not so tiny) miracles might show up to greet you.
Watch Peggy on stage with Oprah:
Learn more at: www.deepercravings.com