This post was written by me (Shelby Leigh) and originally shared by the AMAZING women doing incredible work over at Be Nourished in Portland. They're helping folks learn about health at all sizes and they're known for the ways they help people learn compassion, acceptance and Body Trust®. "Our passion is helping people lose the weight of body shame to create the change they seek from a deeper place."
Here is their introduction: "We are hearing a lot about gastrointestinal disorders these days. For years, it was leaky gut syndrome. Now SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) seems to be the diagnosis of the day. Researchers are just beginning to understand the complexity of the gut microbiome. While health care providers give lip service to how anxiety and stress impact the gut, treatment usually focuses on restrictive diets, supplements and medications. We believe it is important for providers, and the people they serve, to keep a wide lens when looking for answers to what might most support healing. When we start to mess with people’s food, we also mess with their lives. For many, what begins as a seemingly harmless experiment turns into years of disordered eating and a diminished quality of life. As providers, our first ethical guideline is to do no harm. So how do we help without harming?
In her blog “From Helpless to Kindness: Food, Emotions & Me,” Shelby Leigh shares how she made peace with food by listening to what her body wanted, not her mind. Shelby writes, “I believe my unhealthy gut bacteria thrive on low self-esteem, self-doubt, shame and lack of meaningful human connection and affection.” We found this perspective so refreshing—and sorely lacking—in dialogue about healing gut complaints."
From Helpless to Kindness: Food, Emotions & Me
I’ll never forget that night when I was walking up SW Morrison Street towards 12th. It was dark early then and very rainy – as it often is that time of year in Portland. It was many years ago but the moment is crisp in my memory. I remember feeling an incredible sense of helplessness and hopelessness around food and feeding myself.
I remember being incredibly hungry and in a hurry and at a loss for how to find food I could eat without going all the way across town to my own kitchen. I remember feeling so depleted I could barely keep myself standing – my impulse was to curl up in fetal position right there in a doorway of a closed shop wishing and hoping someone would come save me, fix my body and tell me what was wrong with it. Why was I allergic to almost every food I put in my body? Why couldn’t I take in any nourishment?