Maureen (Mo) Caley-Verdonk is a career woman, a wife, a mother of a young adult son, a Certified Professional Coach and founder of Inspired Living Life Coaching in Dawson City, Yukon. Mo understands the dynamics of a tumultuous relationship with using her voice, saying YES to what matters and stuffing thoughts & feelings with food and other substances; and how the fear of using her voice can get in the way of good self-care. She has learned that when personal self-care becomes a priority she really does have a powerful voice, more energy and skills to collaborate with and provide for others–and live a fulfilling life.
Food has been my protector, comforter and motivator. When things have felt like they are spiralling out of control, food often seemed like the only thing that made sense. It was and still is something I can count on. Food grounds me in a comfortable place. It reminds me who I am, what I know, and what I’m good at. It has been a guide to know that I am loved and cared for.
It wasn’t always this way.In 1991, I gave up ‘dieting’ and began a lifestyle change. I recognized that diets had a beginning and an end; that there was a panic and an obsession attached. I ditched the diet books and created a new beginning — good-bye diet mentality and hello living a life rich in vitality!
Eight years later I had my son, Caleb and was surrounded by weight obsession again. For the next several years the diet mentality — you know what I mean, panic, fear, all-or-nothing thinking — sneaked up and finally plunged back into my life sending me skyrocketing into feelings of failure, shame and despair. I’ll never forget the day it hit me.
It was a warm June evening, I was out walking with a “weight watching” buddy. We were walking on the dike that skirts town. The rocks seemed to catch my steps and I couldn’t shake the feeling of despair. I recall thinking “What has happened to me — I used to love walking just for the sake of walking, now it’s all about walking for the main purpose of weight management.” I was scared and disappointed in myself. How could I fall into this trap again?
Time passed and was marked by an increasing load on my body, my spirit and my bathroom scale. Despite this, I kept my resolve of not “buying” into the quick weight loss industry (buying the latest diet book) and continued working with my coach and health care practitioner, convinced that something had to change.
And one crisp March Wednesday in 2008 something amazing happened. I was attending my bi-weekly meeting with my health care practitioner when she suggested that I reduce the amount of bread I ate—by one piece a day to start. This was an observation based on the detailed food record I’d been keeping. What happened next took both of us by surprise.
The words “HOW DARE SHE” roared inside my head, tears welled up in my eyes, it felt like I was preparing for battle as my body tightened and my fists pushed down on the arms of the chair assisting me to follow the urgency I felt to flee. Sitting in her chair, she looked up at me and gently said, “It’s only one piece of bread.” The words “It’s not only bread!” stormed out of my mouth, surprising me because my reply didn’t really make sense to me. Yet I left that day with the sense that a big weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I had hope. Geneen Roth in Women Food and God, says:
“It’s not about the food and it’s not not about the food.”And it’s true. Looking back my shift occurred when I understood that my focus on food—what I ate, how much I ate, how much I exercised or not— was connected to something much greater–ME. It’s been a journey of coming home to myself. And this has taught me a good lesson:
“No amount of self-improvement will make up for any lack of self-acceptance.”
– Robert Holden
My own transformation with food and its role in my life is where I have amazing inspiration, knowledge and capacity to help women create optimal relationships with food and themselves. We are not our weight, the food we eat, our body size, or our shape. Our lives are so much more!
When women learn how to leverage their relationship with food they can reconnect with the amazing wisdom of the bodies. I am passionate about helping women learn how to use this dynamic relationship as a barometer for living rich, passionate, fulfilling lives with acceptance, confidence, and grace.
Let me help you redefine your relationship with saying YES to you
AND in doing so, reclaim your life! As women struggling with over doing, over giving and over “shoulding” it can be extremely frustrating and stressful when: