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Ozlem's journey from self-loathing and depression to radical self-love & body acceptance

"A self-confessed food-addict...her courageous recovery
from many years of eating disorders and body
dissatisfaction."

I was a self-confessed food-addict and suffered from many years of eating disorders, body dissatisfaction, self-loathing, shame and depressed moods. I became an expert at abusing my body and talking negatively to myself. In fact, my obsession to change my body from the early age of 13, later lead me on an inspiring pathway to study the human body and its role in digesting food at university. I was determined to become an expert at eating all the foods I wanted but never put on any weight. I was hungry for approval
and desperate to change my body shape.

I was out of control and at war with my body and I felt like a complete fraud sitting in lectures keeping a dark secret all to myself. I had a chronic eating disorder. I didn’t trust that I was good enough – I rejected my body and compared myself to everyone else. All because my aunt told me that I am too fat for a 13-year-old (the disgust in her eyes still haunts me). This body-shaming shaped the next 15 years of my
life and I tried to live up to this unrealistic expectation to be thin.


In my final study year, something started to change. I deeply immersed myself in my studies and I was completely fascinated by the intricate details of the miraculous functioning of our organs, nerves, tissue, bones and muscles. And I was getting good grades. My self-esteem and confidence in myself began to lift. But my health was deteriorating from my countless episodes of binging and vomiting, I had severe
migraines, reflux and was depressed. And my weight was still the same. I was in deep despair, helpless and then made the wisest choice I could ever make which was to seek support. I saw a psychologist, a kinesiologist and other healers that were my greatest gifts on my road to recovery.


In my early 20's I went on to graduate from my degree and even with my nutrition qualifications and high respect for medical textbooks, I now realise that we are so much more than skin and bone and the solution is not only weighing up calories or measuring what we're putting in our mouth. Our body is one unit and a holistic view needs to be included for overall health & wellbeing.


I tried countless diets, pills and potions all in the name of desperately wanting to be thin, to change my body shape. The more diets I tried, the more I failed, the more miserable I became. And I was cruel to myself, especially in the way I was talking to myself. This destructive behaviour came at a high cost when I could not reach my target goal - I became bulimic. At the time I remember thinking, "finally, a solution to all my problems - I don't have to count calories and I can eat all the food that I want then throw it up so my
body doesn't get a chance to absorb it. Genius!" Well, it came at a really high cost. I became addicted to this binge-diet-vomiting cycle for 5 years. The more I tried, the worse it got. And so did my health. I lost key relationships in my life and I felt so alone.


I remember making a very clear statement that I declared to the universe - I WANT TO BE HEALTHY, FREE & VITAL INSIDE OUT, and my life took a huge turn. And after making the very tough choice to get help and end my addiction, I confronted my deeply wounded, unloved Self that was hungry for my attention and unconditional love. "Bulimia was a way for me to medicate and numb my feelings as I did not want to
feel my deep pain."


After several years of therapy from various modalities and devoting myself to personal and spiritual development, I discovered belly dancing and Yoga. I fell in love with the music, the costumes, the postures but more importantly, the way it made me feel. I learned to love the true feminine that lives inside of me and now I exercise because I love looking after myself, not because I have to, but because I choose to Be Free. Our bodies are very intelligent, it is our teacher; yoga connects us with this. We will feel
good if we connect to this inner knowing and listen to our body.


"I cured my eating disorder and mental illness through the practice of belly dance and yoga."


I boosted my self-confidence and self-worth by recognising that I am pure love and this realisation drew in new relationships, opportunities, new ideas and I was able to let go of toxic men, jobs that no longer served the new me and my new core beliefs. I turned my focus inwardly and discovered a very courageous woman full of love and appreciation.


It is important to understand that we are vibrational beings with trillions of cells operating at lightning speed without our conscious awareness to it. Just because you can't see it/touch it/smell it, doesn't mean it's not real. Energy is real. And when we focus our attention on being present (in the now) simply with our breath, and then combine it with movement and appreciation, miracles start to happen. Unexpressed emotion gets locked up in our physical bodies and usually experienced as pain – it is there to communicate and get our attention (not to numb it with more food or pain-killers). When we can feel our emotions for what it is without trying to change it or fix it, suddenly, a whole new world opens. We are no longer a victim to the pain. Our inward focus and drawing awareness to our bodily sensations has a profound effect on
our psychology and any stagnant emotion gets released, by our simple attention to it.

A shift in my thinking...

 

I now trust my body. I eat intuitively and give her what she needs. I got rid of textbooks that told me what to eat and surrendered to my own flow. My internal feminine energies have guided me the whole way and through my sacred practices of dance & yoga I was able to listen to her voice. I paid attention through self-awareness practices, through breath and joyful movement.


I created Oryantal to support women in their own journeys by being a mentor to empower her femininity through self-care, self-nurture by using integrating powerful yoga and mindfulness tools with modern day psychological modalities for an effective and comprehensive approach to healing.

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