I used to be terrified of traveling.
Aside from my fear of flying I was absolutely petrified of new places, new people and things feeling outside of my control.
This fear was most present for me around food.
At the height of my eating disorder it was not uncommon for half my suitcase to be filled with pre-portioned snacks.
Bags of high fiber cereal neatly zipped into 110-calorie measurements, protein bars and packages of tuna fish literally took up more room than my clothing.
Not knowing the “food situation” where I was going was a source of such anxiety that I generally avoided traveling at all costs.
If I did travel I was so caught up in my head, freaking out about food and getting in my workouts, that I was absent from much if not all of the places I traveled to.
I remember ducking out of meals, missing out on so much of the connection I so desperately craved just so I wouldn’t have to be around all the food.
I paced around parking lots for hours in the dark with my pedometer on so I wouldn’t miss a required step.
It was an oh so lonely time.
This has changed for me in the last couple years as my eating disorder has slipped away.
And though it has been a while since I stressed about food, I still find it remarkable that it no longer rules my world.
I was just visiting with girlfriends in San Francisco and reflecting on how far I have come in this regard as I grazed my way through Saturday.
I often can’t believe how free I feel with food given what a source of suffering it was for so many years.
And I am noticing that I am finally starting to really let go of a fear that I wasn’t fully aware of on a deeper level.
Up until this year I was living with this nagging dread that my eating disorder would just come back out of nowhere.
That one day I would wake up and be back where I was, starving, binging, purging and freaking.
I used to wake up out of breath from dreaming that I was binging.
I used to wake up in a panic that I had gained the 80lbs back overnight.
My dreams, so real, would play out my deepest fears on repeat.
Sitting at the airport last night eating a creamy potato soup, I realized I have not had one of those dreams in months, many months.
I wish I could say that made me happy, but I felt mad.
And then sad.
So sad about how much I missed.
I have been living in a place of gratitude for all that my eating challenges have afforded me.
My challenges have been my greatest teachers and my greatest gifts in so so many ways.
But I hadn’t really let myself feel the deep sadness for all the years of my life spent completely consumed in obsessing about my next meal.
And I did let myself feel it last night, really feel it.
Sobbing on the airplane I mourned my twenties in a way that I never had before.
I mourned all the moments I missed.
I mourned all the love I pushed away
I mourned all the friends I lost.
I mourned all the effects on my health, that at times I still face.
I mourned all the opportunities I turned down.
I mourned feeling so misunderstood and so alone.
I mourned the hurt I caused those closest to me.
I mourned the years spent craving what I am now creating.
And I claimed the life I am now living as my own in a whole new way.
Who I am cannot be taken away from me.
And while I do not know what the future holds or what I might face,
I know that I can handle life with much more grace from this place
And that, that feels so good…

❤ Emily Joy Rosen

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Emily Rosen is the co-owner and CEO of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating where she oversees business development strategies, student affairs, marketing and public relations, and keeps a pulse on the fields of eating psychology and nutrition to ensure the Institute’s position as a leader worldwide. Emily makes things happen. Her passion for health and transformation has provided her the opportunity to speak and present internationally and be at the forefront of a new generation of women leaders committed to making a heartfelt difference in the world. Her tireless work and faithful commitment have touched the lives of millions of fans and followers worldwide.