We are thrilled to have the most wonderful and delightful Rachel Cole sit down with us and share some of her wisdom on this edition of Body Trust Insights. If this is your first encounter with Rachel then you’re in for a real treat! Check out the interview and get to know someone whose clarity and love of life is a true inspiration.
Rachel Cole is a certified life coach, celebrated retreat leader, and women’s empowerment expert. She has spent ten years guiding women to identify, understand and feed their truest hungers – at and away from the table. As an eating disorder survivor herself, Rachel speaks with great wisdom, sensitivity, and authority about what it takes to live as a well-fed woman in the modern world. She has traveled across the United States and internationally speaking and teaching to sold-out gatherings of women on how they too can find ease and fulfillment in their lives simply by honoring their own hungers. Rachel holds a Masters Degree in Holistic Health Education and is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach.
- What led you to Health at Every Size® and Intuitive Eating?
I don’t know if anything could have prevented me from discovering HAES and Intuitive Eating. It’s kind of like people trying to tell themselves that gay marriage is bad, after a while the obvious common-sense and humanity of it simply becomes unavoidable.
More specifically though I developed anorexia in college and justified a lot of my behaviors under the guise of health. In fact, there was very little about my disorder that wasn’t condoned by fashion magazines and entertainment television. It’s scary how normal disorder has become.
When I began my recovery I worked with an amazing therapist who introduced me to Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating. My intense curiosity about my own condition and experience lead me to read everything I could get my hands on. Once you dig into the science and true success stories I had my awakening.
And, when my measure for health became happiness, menstruation, and life engagement, rather than being thin I knew I had to change how I was living my life.
I’m deeply grateful to the pioneers of Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating for the liberation and well-being they have given me.
- What has been the biggest struggle as you have learned to accept yourself?
I don’t know if struggle is the word, but what I would say is that as soon as you find self-acceptance you and life change. It’s a constant moving target. Keeps you on your toes.
- What are three aspects you feel are the most important to remember when moving toward radical self-acceptance?
Don’t try to move from hate to total acceptance in a day. It’s a practice. It’s not a single a-ha or switch to flip.
As challenging as self-acceptance might feel, it’s the one thing that isn’t asking us to change a thing. How nice is that?!
The mantra I use is “This too” or “Even this” when it comes to expanding my acceptance. I can say one of these mantras while breathing acceptance around something new.
- What is your favorite part of your body? How do you celebrate it?
I love a lot about my body, but I’ll offer that I love my full lips and have a wee obsession with finding the right lipstick.
- What is your favorite food and how do you like to enjoy it?
My favorite food is perfect butter croissant, eaten slowly from the outside in. I remove each layer one at a time. It’s a transcendent, sensual experience.
- What inspires and renews your dedication to your process when you need it the most?
It’s a bit of “I have seen the light.” I still live in a world that has not awakened to some very important and liberating truths, as such, suffering is all around me. I feel called to share the medicine I have.
If someone was in pain and you had medicine to help them, you’d do whatever you could to make sure they receive it.
That’s what drives my work.
- Radical self-acceptance means…
I think of acceptance like a catch-all or filter. True self-acceptance filters EVERYTHING through a catch-all of embrace, compassion, allowing, and love. The radical part has to do with the courage it takes to practice this in a world ruled by a paradigm of judgement.
To practice self-acceptance means to continue to expand the catch-all, net, bubble, or filter (however you conceptualize it) to include everything in the present moment. From acceptance we can then engage and make conscious wise choice.
- What books, music or websites inspire you right now?
Mark Nepo audio books
Dog Songs, Mary Oliver’s forthcoming book of poems about dogs.
- Favorite quote or poem?
I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.