A New, Comfy Pair of Shoes

I recently returned from a business coaching retreat with amazing women, each of us growing our businesses and reaching toward our most aspiring dreams.

The night before the retreat several of us met for dinner at a favorite local gathering. I was hungry and thirsty from a long day of traveling. Scanning the menu, I glanced over at one of my retreat colleagues, who I sensed was feeling equally ravenous. I locked eyes with her and declared, “No scarcity eating! I’m hungry!” She smiled and cheered in agreement. Joy.

I ordered some fancy pasta dish that I couldn’t pronounce, but the description sounded amazing and my colleague confirmed, “Had it last time. It’s really good.” One of the soups also sounded yummy, so I ordered it too, as did my colleague. I was in palate heaven! We shared a loaf of dense, seeded bread as we awaited our soups, salads, and dinners. My mind was quiet, my body calm, with only a dash of anxiety.

Rewind this scene to my 20’s and a much different scenario would have played out. I would have scanned the menu anxiously, ruminating on what would be the cheapest, contain the fewest calories and fat, or could be thrown up easily later. Food and eating was living hell.

I can remember when I went to war with food and eating like it was yesterday. I was 17, my parents were divorced, and my grandmother was living with my mom and me. One day, out of the blue, as I strolled through the kitchen on my way to school, sporting my favorite Levi jeans, tennis shoes, and, as always, a t-shirt, my grandmother, with loving judgment queried, “Kelli, those jeans gettin’ a little tight on you?” Slayed.

When my grandmother cooked a meal, you didn’t leave the dinner table without having seconds, joyfully, or even thirds, gleefully. Don’t eat, judged. Eat, judged. Screwed.

That very week of the loving judgment comment, one of my girlfriends happened to be talking at lunch about how you could eat all you wanted, and then throw it all up afterward. Saved.

I spent the next decade filling up and throwing up. When, where, and how became a compulsion, as much as a science. I perfected my rituals, and could toss my cookies quickly, cleanly, and quietly. No one knew…

The bathroom became my sanctuary, my living hell. At times, I felt cleansed, pure, spotless…believing I had outsmarted loving judgment. Other times, I felt disgusting, dirty, grotesque…wondering if I might die, the toilet as my witness. The torture ceased the day I found out I was pregnant. I had someone more important than me to care for; someone needed and loved my body more than I did.

Over the years, food, eating, and me continued to battle. I had stopped binging and purging, yet I hated eating. Mealtime was torture. I hated feeling full. I hated feeling hungry. Even though I had stopped my bulimic rituals, no matter how wonderful the meal, I hated the feeling of food in my stomach, yet I was starving. I had taken on the role of loving self-judgment.

I also obeyed the rule of scarcity. I lived in a perpetual state of lack on the inside and the outside. No salt, no sugar, no fat, nothing that tasted good, pleasing, or comforting. I cut corners, shopped only discounts and sales, and starved myself of anything joyful. I wasn’t worthy of anything more. When overcome with living deprived, I’d binge with credit cards. Same shit, different toilet.

[bctt tweet=”Get very clear. Living a life of starvation, deprivation, and scarcity will not serve you well.”]

When courage helped me confront the voice of loving judgment, the war ended. When I discovered that judgment is judgment, no matter how lovingly it’s delivered, I turned down its volume in my head and turned up the volume of my soul, of the Universe. When I bravely committed to changing my relationship with my body, I stopped starving and started thriving.

Putting down my weapons and ceasing the fight wasn’t easy, yet it was simple and relied on my faithful simply sublime seven: courage, commitment, curiosity, clarity, connection, compassion, and creativity.

With courage, I found stillness in meditation to quiet the clutter of judgmental thoughts in my head. I made a commitment to myself to heal and transform. I was committed to living differently inside and out.

With curiosity, I dug into the muddled mindsets and berating beliefs in my mind, the stories I was telling myself based on the past. I grew to appreciate my feelings and honor them. I got clear, connected the dots of my self-deprecating existence, and began showing myself a whole lot of compassion.

I fell in love with my body on my purple yoga mat. At 53, my body stands tall and strong in tree pose, looks up in half moon, and craves being lathered in coconut oil! My spirit soars with wholehearted abundance. I am enough. I am worthy. I am love.

My relationship with food today is joyful, with only a pinch of anxiety. I eat when I’m hungry. I don’t eat when I’m not. I select and prepare meals that are seasoned well, taste good, and feel comforting in my tummy.

There’s no low-fat, reduced-fat, or “skim” foods in my house. That fake stuff will wreak havoc on your body or at the very least, destroy your thyroid. I know!

I eat clean and refuse to compromise taste, which is challenging in the Midwest. I’ve been known to pack Tabasco! I indulge in dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt, and only eat real, fully-loaded ice cream.

When I travel, I’m like the Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives dude. I seek out the local favorites and order the most popular item on the menu. No scarcity eating!

I shop when I want to, when I need something, or when I simply want to treat my feet to a new comfy pair of shoes. I’ve discovered that living with abundance instead of scarcity released my compulsion to buy stuff. I’m no longer starving.

I give my body the gift of regular massage, and my spirit singing lessons, yoga studio events, concerts, and retreats. My creativity is flourishing! I feel satisfied with what I have, inside and out. No scarcity living!

My relationship with me continues to evolve. I’m gentler with my mind, my body, and me. When I notice resistance, resentment, and judgment, I talk sit with my feelings, talk with my ego kindly, and show myself a whole lot of love and compassion, and coconut oil! No scarcity thinking! No scarcity feeling!

My heart is more open today. I see my family, friends, students, and colleagues in a loving light. I meet people and me where we’re at by practicing acceptance, forgiveness, and compassion, daily. We are all wandering around on this planet doing our best, especially when we trip, stumble, and fall. We are enough. We are worthy. We are love. No scarcity loving!

If you’re living in a state of scarcity and self-deprecation, I get it. I’ve been there. But here’s the thing: Life can be different…still hard, but different, more joyful, more loving. I know.

I’ll leave you with this: Consider what might be possible if you gave yourself permission to stop obeying scarcity, stop starving yourself, and start believing in wholehearted abundance, joy, and love?

What if it’s possible?


  1. Kari

    Beautiful and touching. I have a very destructive relationship with food and my body. Thank you for revealing your personal journey as it connected me to you on yet another level. You give me hope there is a way out, though I am still shaky and unsure of how exactly I take the first step.

    Love always,

    1. Kelli

      Hi Kari…I am grateful for your reply. The more I share, the more shame I shed, the more space I open up in my mind, body, and spirit for gratitude, joy, and wholehearted living. The post came pouring out of me as if something bigger than me knew it was time. I was a bit anxious when I hit “publish,” yet again felt held by a greater support. My journey has been long and grueling…and I do feel on the other side of the torture. I’m here for you…and will support you, always with love. ~Kelli

  2. Brian

    I have inherently known scarcity is the wrong approach most of my life. I have encountered it everywhere, from the culture we grew up in to the business world today. I have had my own struggles with it in response to stress. Thanks for spreading the word and reminding us that we do not live in a sum-zero world!

    1. Kelli

      Thank you, Brian. It seems that when we face challenges, stress, fears, and vulnerable encounters, the auto-response is scarcity, to withdraw, retreat, run, armor-up, even starve. I grew up in this culture too. I did what I knew…until it simply didn’t work for me any more. I wanted to live differently for my children, mostly for me. Aw, the judgment that comes when we break norms. Yet, finding and connecting with like-minded people has served as refuge and an inspiration…and confirmed that I’m not out of my mind…and well, if I am, I no longer feel alone! So grateful to you for reading my post! ~Kelli

  3. Such a moving post. I had been skinny without trying until I turned 40. Now I’m dealing with learning to love food the right way. Thanks for the intriguing post.

    1. Kelli

      Thanks, Jamie…I am grateful for your comment. “Learning to love” resonates. I loved food as a child and a teen…until the “comment” that sent me spiraling and into a negative relationship with food. Today, like you, I am continuing to practice a loving relationship with food from a place of nourishment. My body thanks me! 🙂

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