This is 40ish - the10principles

  • My behind-the-scenes story for the Chatelaine This Is 40ish shoot
  • This Is 40ish is about sharing what I learned
  • Understanding breaks barriers

This Is 40ish is a project by Chatelaine Magazine that surveyed women across Canada between the ages of 35 and 45. I had the opportunity to take part. It was a chance to reflect on our lives so far. I think the feedback from everyone who participated can be summarized with one of my favourite quotes:
There's no substitute for life experience— Zelda Kaplan
Thank you Chatelaine for including my voice and everyone it represents in your This Is 40ish article.

This is 40ish asks: What makes you unique?

Here’s some background information that helps explain my answer in the This Is 40ish video (below).

This is 40ishWhen I stopped being preoccupied by weight and got healthy, I felt free. I suddenly had all this time and space to put toward something productive. I threw myself into people and projects I’m passionate about. Time passed and I got busy with life.

Then a few years ago I started seeing all the newspaper articles, radio announcements, advertisements, blogs and best-selling books about weight loss in a new light. And when I heard friends, colleagues and strangers on the street—people of all different ages, talk about trying to lose weight, I started to see the old me in other people.

To me, This Is 40ish is about being at a stage in your life when you can take what you’ve learned and use it to help others. I’ve been healthy for 18 years and want to share the simple steps that helped me reach and maintain a healthy weight naturally. I’m passionate about prevention. Before I was ready to talk about my eating disorder I developed Who Is NOBODY? A program that helps young people discover their interests and use them to help others.

Use your experience to help others

this is 40(ish) - Chatelaine -the10principlesSeeing the old me in other people, reminded me how complicated I made losing weight. And I felt so frustrated! I had to do something about it. So I started writing down all the things that helped me reach and maintain a healthy weight naturally. That was 2010. Then in 2013 I started my blog.

Talking openly about my struggle with bulimia—something I hadn’t even told my partner, Alex, for the first 4 years we were together, wasn’t easy in the beginning. Now I realize that I felt ashamed simply because I didn’t understand.

Through the writing process I’ve been able to put my experience into words and the simple steps that helped me get better. And I’m so grateful for what I went through because of all the things I learned while I was ill. All the things that are hard to learn unless you’re on the sidelines, looking in at life and wishing you could be healthy and present and part of things.

Chatelaine Magazine’s This Is 40ish initiative was an awesome experience. It was the first time I said “I had an eating disorder” so publicly. It felt great to say it out loud. Thinking about the power of sharing stories over the past few years has made it easier to tell mine.

Understanding helps break barriers

We often isolate what we don’t understand. But the first step to understanding is being open. Then we can share, ask questions and listen.

My blog has been faceless while I’ve been articulating the 10 things that helped me get healthy. I was still ironing out some ideas and making sure I was ready. But Chatelaine’s This Is 40ish shoot helped me take a jump in the deep end. It reminded me that you don’t need to protect the truth because it will protect you.

As Sarah Silverman says: “Can we all agree that we’re on a planet in outer space?”

Can we all agree that we're on a planet in outer space?— Sarah Silverman
When you keep that in mind, it:

  • puts problems in perspective
  • stops us from focusing on ourselves
  • helps us consider how we can help others

I hope you can join me in sharing, asking questions and listening. Together we can break down barriers. Then there will be space to reach our potential.

I hope my “Before” picture gives people hope that things can get better.

Thank you Chatelaine for the amazing experience of being part of your This Is 40ish project and the opportunity to meet the wonderful people in your article, including the woman at the end of the video below, who said:

“I think everybody’s unique. Everybody’s got a story. Everybody’s got different experiences … No two people could ever be the same.”

Chatelaine’s This Is 40ish video:

If you or someone you love has a complicated relationship with food, and you want to understand it better, Sophie Trudeau’s recent interview is a good starting point.



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Sharing what I learned makes the 10 years I STRUGGLED worth it

What’s the best thing you’ve learned so far?