What you want to hide the most is sometimes the greatest gift that you can offer the world.
Erin DiAngelis is a yoga teacher, Holistic Life Coach and Massage therapist who helps students heal from unhealthy relationships with their food or body so that they can live with more joy. She’s been featured all over from the Huffington Post to the Divine Living Magazine and also on Inspired TV. The beautiful message that she has to share with the world today comes from deep personal growth and experience. That’s what we get to hear all about on this episode!
Erin had an eating disorder for many years and thought the she was going to struggle with food for the rest of her life. She didn’t disclose this information openly until one day it dawned on her that this is exactly where she can be helping people the most! “It’s not even about the food itself, actually. It’s the need for control of something” Erin recalls as she tries to explain what it was like in that mindset. A place where many of us can relate - that incessant inner-critic, the desperate striving for more. So while this story is centered around an eating disorder and negative body image, the root of the conversation is about self-love. Erin shares her lessons on how she left the inner-critic and moved into a place where she could recognize her strengths. She also talks about how her yoga practice was really the stepping stone to all of the healing.
In understanding people who have an eating disorder like bulimia or anorexia, it’s important to understand that it’s not actually even about the food itself. It’s about secrecy and the need to control something.
Erin remembers the struggle with putting a lot of strictness on herself. Things were black or white. She was doing good or she was failing. Her advice is that if you recognize yourself in this perfectionist tendency , be aware of it in your yoga practice as well. Be clear on what intention you’re practicing with.
More ways to shift out of the black and white perfectionist mindset:
Shift to what feels good
Acknowledge yourself for practicing
Set intention to soften expectations
The lessons of self-love came in many different layers for Erin
The meaning of self-love also evolved for Erin the more she learned about it. It went from thinking it was a nice bubble bath to something much deeper. Now self love is actually liking what she sees in the mirror, no more food restrictions (she just eats whatever feels good in her body) and letting herself enjoy and feel good in her body
The first seeds came from her yoga practice when she was first able to recognize her strengths (physically and mentally). For example she that she was able to take poses that she couldn’t even do days prior, which showed not only the strength in her body but also in her mind as she practiced and persevered.
Another layer was that her black and white thinking began to fade. Yoga helped quiet mind and gain space in breaking thought patterns. She eased into the new perspective of “I’m not there yet but that doesn’t mean I’ll never get there”
In reflecting on self-love, it ultimately comes from a place of being kind to yourself. to Erin, a thought along the lines of “I deserve this chocolate/glass of wine/night out because I had a hard day” isn’t quite self-love at its fullest. The intention needs to come from a place of appreciating the qualities of yourself
To start with self-love in terms of body image, begin to recognize the miracle of your body: your hearts pump, eyes blink…all without you needing to think about it. Shift into thinking how right everything is working versus thinking about what’s wrong with it.
Erin’s advice for anyone struggling with body image or chronic health is: You CAN feel a sense of peace and ease in your body. Set the intention and keep the faith. Everything in your life is working for you to see that your body is given to you as a tool to feel joy and laughter and movement.
One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:
In Erin’s words:
“I have 1000 lessons I’ve learned, how do I pick one!? :) That’s why I love yoga and this journey so much! The BIGGEST lesson though has been learning how to love myself. It happened in many layers and each of those layers brought a deeper understanding of what it means to love myself, which I am so grateful for”
What is one nugget of wisdom that you would share with fellow seekers who are on this journey of growth and transformation?
In Erin’s words:
“Believe in your own strength, even when it comes to the areas in your life where you’re struggling or stuck. If you keep showing up daily, and hold your intention, that desire will unfold and come to life. Something will shift-I truly believe that. The road may be winding, and it might not happen instantaneously, but the Universe, Life, Your soul- whatever you want to call it, wants your best self to flourish because everyone benefits when that happens.”
If you have any questions for Erin or want to learn more, connect with her through: