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18 Things I Wish I'd Known When It Looked Like I 'Had It All'

06/18/2015 01:07 pm ET | Updated Jun 18, 2016
Katie Seaver

Dear women -- my friends, or people I would like to know but don't yet,

I spent many years as someone who looked like she "had it all." I got a good job at a management consulting firm, and lived in Manhattan, where I ate at fun restaurants and had friends and boyfriends.

I am grateful for all of it, but I also struggled for years with feeling crazy around food and my weight. And I couldn't shake the sense that, despite all the good in my life, I was on a scary treadmill to a life I didn't actually want.

Here's what I wish someone had told me then.

For the record:

  1. You are allowed to want what you want.

  • You are allowed to quit your job, even if it looks good on paper.
  • You are allowed to stay at a job that isn't your favorite because you aren't sure what to do next.
  • You are allowed to break up with your boyfriend, even though he is the best guy and all your friends love him.
  • You are allowed to adore your boyfriend to pieces, even though he is funny-looking and two inches too short and has the weirdest laugh.
  • You are allowed to stay up late or go to bed early or go to sleep in the middle of the day.
  • You are allowed to have no friends at all, only acquaintances.
  • You are allowed to think that friends are more important than anything, and love spending all your time with them.
  • You are allowed to have only one best friend, whom you've known for years, and no desire to be that close with anyone else.
  • You are allowed to want to lose weight, even though you aren't technically overweight.
  • You are allowed to love your chubby, flabby, freckled body to pieces.
  • You are allowed to pick up and move to a new place that seems totally random.
  • You are allowed to live in the same town you grew up in.
  • You are allowed to shave your head if it seems like a good idea.
  • You are allowed to be a slob and totally unproductive -- for an afternoon, a weekend, a week, a year. Three years.
  • You are allowed to never become anyone special, never win any prestigious awards, and never have anything impressive to say about yourself.
  • You are allowed to eat too much chocolate cake.
  • You are allowed to live a life that pleases you. And nobody else but you.
  • What kind of life would you live, if you knew that you were allowed to do whatever you want?

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    The repercussions of this lesson so powerfully and positively changed my life that I now coach others about how to resolve their food issues and live their best lives.

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    Wondering if your eating, exercise, and life could feel more authentic and easy? Check out Katie's free "What's Your Eating Style" ebook, with recommendations tailored just for you.

    If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

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