Hi, I'm Maria...
It's nice to meet you! I'm a psychotherapist, circle holder, and advanced clinical hypnotherapist. I specialize in treating people who have experienced trauma as well as eating disorders and other challenges of being human. I have had an addictive relationship and emotional love affair with food & a disordered relationship with my body and learned how to live beyond the shackles that kept me in.
At one point in my life, I was humpty dumtpy. That's how I got into the work I do, through my own journey of learning to put myself back together again. I discovered that I had had no idea what or where my true self was. I facilitate the work of uncovery to help you uncover your true self, heal and thrive instead of simply surviving!
A little about my own struggles with weight and my relationship to food.
I grew up in the sunny land of San Diego, California. I spent many days basking in the warm sunshine and swimming in the waves on the beach in Del Mar, CA. I don't know about your experience, but growing up in a bikini on the beach in southern California, listening to people often comment about how the girls look, I became very self conscious and got a little (or very large) complex about how I thought it was acceptable to look. This is my story.
I was a gymnast, so in my younger years, up until I was about 19, I was in very good shape. In fact, I never tried to look a certain way, I just fit in a bikini well and liked the attention I got about my body. Well, naturally fit gymnast bodies don't last forever and at the age of 19 I began my struggle to keep that figure I had known. I was no longer working out three hours a day as a gymnast. I went off to college absolutely determined not to gain the freshman 15 I had heard so much about. I did pretty well, if well means not gaining the weight, but boy did my obsession around food hit me, and hey, no one warned me about that! I ate a lot of salad that year. I ran and worked out but by the time I was a sophomore, I was full on thinking about food every minute, obsessing about how I looked and what others thought and I began to have a really hard time with self control around food. I had no idea how to keep my weight down at this point and I gained about 15 or 20 pounds. I had never been overweight in my life and my Dad didn't let me get off easy. I remember going home one spring break and he looked at me and said, "I bet it's hard for you to run. It's like you're carrying an extra ten pound weight in each hand." He didn't like to see me carrying any extra weight and that made me feel so embarrassed about myself and I obsessed even more about how I looked.
I tried many diets and found that sticking to a diet was not my forte. In fact, going on a diet was usually an excuse for me to binge (& immediately begin obsessing about everything I wasn't going to be eating, and then eating it) and end up feeling so much shame about it. Diets only ended up causing me shame, to feel like a failure and to not trust myself in my relationship to food. I even tried purging a few times, but this just made me feel more shame and stress.
I am not going to lie and say that now I am a "perfect" eater. I don't believe there is such a thing. Eating is one of life's greatest pleasures and bringing the full enjoyment of that experience back to the eating process, is one of my goals with my clients. After much healing work and learning to relate in a new way to food and my body, I have learned to maintain a very balanced relationship to food & my body. I don't worry about what and when I eat. I feel free with food and comfortable in my body and that is no small miracle for me!
Over the years I have learned many amazing modalities to overcome food and body obsessions and heal shame and an unhealthy relationship to food. I have learned to trust myself (yes, around food too!) and value myself beyond looking a certain way. I no longer ever feel the need to binge! I have found my purpose, so I have a positive focus which takes my mind off of food. I learned how to take the energy I spent on cravings and dreaming about pigging out on some chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and peanut butter m n m's, and the ensuing shame, and put it towards making a difference in the world. I have learned to be much more accepting and compassionate with myself and not to weigh myself, because that only gives me a possible opportunity to shame and judge myself. I have learned to lighten up. I have learned to forgive, myself first and others too. I have learned that there is a direct connection between my relationship to myself and my relationship to food and in order for my relationship with food to heal, I first needed to heal my relationship with myself, which is a life-long journey and I am thrilled to be on it!
I hope you will join me in this adventure of transformation. It goes far beyond meal plans and counting calories. In fact, I don't believe in counting calories. We are so much more than the amount of calories we do or don't eat or the number on that silly contraption we call a scale, that has the power to dictate our mood and self image. Come along with me on a journey where you'll learn to laugh, to trust yourself and to love the body you create while enjoying amazing food!
You can find me on Instagram @lotusrisinghealing and you can request to join my private Facebook group called Making Peace with Food by clicking here.