How To Overcome Toxic Limiting Beliefs Around Food and Body

Stefanie Grace with a doughnut and salad - diet culture, toxic limiting beliefs around food and body

What Beliefs Do You Have When It Comes to Food and Body?

Food is the enemy! My appetite is bad! I hate my body!

For many years I lived my life being guided with these negative, limiting and toxic beliefs around my body and the food I eat. I would not say it out loud, because I was ashamed, but I constantly was accompanied with the thoughts.

These thoughts were limiting my life to a degree I was not aware of at the time. It sounds very hard, but it’s true:
I secretly wished I would not have a sense of taste, because then I would not crave for so much food. I truly believed my appetite was the reason for my binge eating, comfort eating…

It was very clear to me, if I did not know how something tastes I could not have the cravings for it, which means I would eat less, which means I would lose weight and losing weight was the only way to reach happiness.

And in my reality everything would be ok if only I would have the perfect body. I would find peace and ease in life, as soon as I reached a certain weight and fitted in a certain size.

“If only I would have the perfect body, everything would be ok forever!”

That was a very toxic belief!

The trick with our belief system is, the more power we give them, the more they become our reality. So in order to change the relationship with food we first have to become aware of our toxic beliefs.

So ask yourself on this point:

  • What beliefs do I have when it comes to food and body?
  • Do they lead to a relaxed relationship, to freedom?
  • Or do they always bring me to a point where I restrict eating?
Stefanie Grace, looking at a doughnut.

How Toxic Beliefs Can Affect Our Body:

Here’s a little secret: Toxic negative beliefs can cause greater damage to body, mind and soul than any low quality food!!!

Despite the fact that our beliefs become our reality, they do affect our body on a physiological level. Whenever we fear, get anxious, angry or fulfilled with hate our body reacts in a stress response and the sympathetic nervous system gets activated and dominates. We breathe more shallowly and faster (oftentimes without being consciously aware of it), our heart rate gets faster, blood pressure rises and insulin and cortisol in our body increases.

When the body is in this survival mode the metabolism shuts down.
When you’re being chased by a lion, you don’t have time to think about rest and digestion.

  • The majority of the blood gets pumped into the limbs, because they need to be ready and active in case we need to run away or fight.
  • Cortisol inhibits muscle growth and high insulin can cause dysregulation of the appetite,
  • and because the body fears for life it strongly holds on to every single calorie.

Imagine now you are eating/ not eating/ training/ resting in a constant fight or flight (survival response) mode.

No wonder why it seems so hard to lose weight, why we think we have a slow metabolism and an appetite which is out of control… It’s NOT your fault, it’s not because you are weak, or have less willpower than others. No, it’s the constant stress response you are in BECAUSE OF the toxic beliefs you have about your body and the food you eat.

“I am learning to take care and nourish
my body in a loving way.”

What Can We Do Now in Order To Change?

Simple. Get out of the stress response, activate the parasympathetic nervous system, the “rest & digest” mode of the body. When the body does not have to fear for survival, it can relax.

The heart rate and blood pressure regulate themselves, the breath is deep and slow and the metabolism runs at full speed. The body happily uses the calories and nutrients because it does not have to fear starving.

Using the BREATHE is the easiest way to get your body into a relaxed mode and out of stress response. Once you breathe like a relaxed person your body will notice and your brain will think “Oh I am breathing like a relaxed person I must be relaxed then”, and switches into relaxed mode, the parasympathetic nervous system dominates and your whole body physiology changes.

As mentioned before, first you have to become aware of this pattern, then catch yourself in these moments and decide to breathe deep and slow as long as you can/want/need.

BUT this has not yet solved the root cause of the stress response: the toxic negative beliefs.


Stefanie Grace happy in the kitchen preparing food

Again, become aware of the beliefs, and then CHANGE them. 

On a certain point, when we have ingrained some beliefs for many years, it is hard to just swap them into a positive statement. For example, if you have told yourself your whole life: “I hate my body”, it will be tricky to just change from one day to another into: “I love my body.” Because you just won’t BELIEVE it.

BUT you can start with a step in between and change “I hate my body” to ”I am learning to take care and nourish my body in a loving way.

Instead of “Food is the enemy” let’s say: “Food is nourishing me” and instead of “My appetite is bad”, let’s try: “I am learning to regulate my appetite.”


And always remember: if you don’t change anything – nothing will change.
It’s a practice and you just can not fail.

Thank yourself for taking the time to read, as I do.

Love & Light, yours Grace.

When Your Eating Disorder Becomes Real

women crying

Diagnosis: Bulimia With Anorexic Features


This blog post is a very personal story.
The reason why I still want to share it here, is to encourage you to reach out for support, for help, for guidance, in case you need, because you deserve to heal and you don’t have to go through it on your own!

I will start the story at the pit point of my life, when I reached the peak of my pain. The moment where the emotional leverage was big enough to make the decision to change. It was on a holiday in Thailand, where I’ve been traveling with my younger brother for a month. At this point of my life, I had no self-worth left for myself and overplayed my lack of self-confidence with a cute smile and acting happy all the time.

After years of dieting and telling my body, my self terrible things in the mirror, I reached a moment where I had no respect left for myself and felt like a complete failure. To still get these short moments of positive validation I literally gave my body away and met a lot of men during this time.

On these holidays I got sick after too much partying (including overnight stays). I got a severe bladder infection, but even then, I did not listen to the signs of my body. I did not care about this body anymore. I was craving for validation – for the feeling of being someone worthy for a short moment, I was craving for a quick fix. And so I continued with the life-style I was living, while ignoring the pain and the blood in my urine.

After some days I got some rest on an island, gave in and went to the hospital. My infection has gone very bad, I had to do a lot of tests and stayed in bed in the hotel for some days. One day my brother motivated me to go out to the beach restaurant in the afternoon to get some sun in my face. We didn’t talk much, we were just sitting there in silence slurping the fresh mango juices and watching the waves.
Without any expression I said to him: “Once I’m back in Vienna I will start therapy”. 
“That’s a good idea”, he replied.

Sick Stefanie Grace Therapy Eating Disorder
Watching The Waves Thailand Stefanie Grace

The picture shows me on the day I decided to start a therapy. I had a high fever and was suffering from a severe bladder infection due to my disrespectful lifestyle towards my body.

I really knew it was now or never - but something has to change.

Back in Austria I had to go to hospital again for more check ups and thanks good – everything was fine. I decided to go to a yoga class in a studio – until that point, I mostly practiced on YouTube from home. The teacher advised us to lay down on the mat and to close our eyes. “Watch your thoughts”, she said and so did I, but I could not hold them shut. It was so noisy in my mind and tears just came out of my eyes, I felt so much pain and so vulnerable.

I did not know where to go to get some help, but I knew I couldn’t do it on my own.
I was too embarrassed to tell anyone, so I googled in incognito mode “first help psychotherapy Vienna”. Thanks to Austria’s amazing health system – I got a lot of options with free first consultation – which was very important for me as a poor student.

On the day of my first appointment, I was very excited and scared at the same time.
I was afraid they wouldn’t take me or my problems seriously and send me away again. But at the same time, I was afraid that they would confirm I had a problem, whatever that problem might be. However, I went there, sitting in front of a stranger, who asked me what brought me here. I started to talk. Shared the story of my life, my feelings, my worries, with this woman I never met before and I remember it felt surprisingly good. To finally be able to speak out loud what was in my head and ingrained in my body. I felt anonymous and not judged at all. Of course, we have been talking a lot about my nutrition and the way I see myself as well and in the end I had to fill out an exercise sheet, where you could see women in different body shapes and had to select the body I thought was most likely mine.

Finally she told me that I made a huge step already to have called this practice, but they can’t keep me. They have to forward me to an Institute for People with Eating Disorders. For a moment my whole world stood still. I felt sick and wanted to vomit. The woman gave me some contacts from different institutes in Vienna where I could call and she sent me away.

So, another first consultation, another time sharing my whole story and many more tests to go through in the “Institute for People with Eating Disorder”. The psychotherapist told me at the end of the consultation the diagnosis: Bulimia with Anorexic features. BOOOOM – Again, the world was on hold. But this time, I felt a huge relief as well.

It felt so good to finally know what was “wrong” with me. To finally feeling seen, feeling felt and understood.

Of course it was not the first time that I had thought that I might have an eating disorder. I knew my eating patterns were different from others, but I just couldn’t fit myself into a box. I studied nutrition and knew all the symptoms of the different eating disorders, but none of them fit my profile. My therapist then explained to me: we are all different, symptoms are different and you can have traits from several eating disorders at the same time. Well… that made sense. And there I was, diagnosed with an official eating disorder. I felt like someone put a stamp on my forehead.

I always thought Bulimia is when you vomit, but I did “only” vomit maybe 5 to 10 times, so I thought I’m not bulimic. BUT bulimia describes as well the fact of compensating calories, however you do that. And that was something I mastered in life: if I ate dinner, I didn’t allow myself breakfast, if I had cake I had to go for an extra run, if I overeat I took laxatives and so on…
I also had the idea in my mind that you have to be life-threateningly skinny to be anorexic. BUT anorexia also describes the constant habit of seeing yourself in a very different way, mostly as too fat, being incredibly afraid of gaining weight, hating your body and no longer having a connection to one’s own body.

I felt relieved because I knew I finally would get help. 


I was proud of myself, that I took the step to ask for help, to overcome my fear of not being taken seriously and finally would receive professional help. My healing journey began and I went to therapy once a week. Added Yoga classes in my schedule again and learned to take care of myself in a respectful way. This also meant taking a step back from party life and social contacts.

The journey was tough, with lots of highs and lows, sometimes I doubted my way and a lot of times, I doubted myself – but I never quit.

Stefanie Grace resting on the beach

Healing needs time and you have to be ready for it.

You need to allow yourself to feel vulnerable and reach out for help, because you don’t have to do this on your own. When your car is broken, or you put the wrong fuel in – you are also reaching out for an expert or to someone who knows how to fix it. Same goes for your computer, the electricity, and the water system in your house. There is an expert for every field. So why do you think you have to solve your mental and physical problems on your own then? 

After years of healing, getting to know and to love myself, I made it my mission to help others on their journey to find peace in their bodies and create a loving relationship with food.
Life can be good and enjoyable! – You deserve to heal.
And you deserve to feel good in your skin, that’s your f***ing birthright!!!!

I really hope I could emphasize a little bit more, how important it is to speak out and reach out for help you need. Thank you for taking the time to read and thank yourself for taking the actions that are required. If you feel the need to talk to someone – I am here to listen.

Woman looking happy into the camera - Stefanie Grace

How To Turn Self-Hatred Into Self-Love & Bodypositivity

Ligaya practicing self-love

Do you love yourself?

Are you able to look into your reflection in the mirror – into your own eyes – while saying: “You are beautiful!
Or is this something you would never believe? Is it easier for you to say the opposite, because you believe it more? Telling oneself “I’m not good enough”, “I don’t like my body”, “I am too fat”, often seems easier, than doing the opposite.

There was a time, where I only could tell myself, how much I am disgusted by this body. I told myself all the things I don’t like about this body. I spoke it out loud, while looking into my own eyes – “I hate this belly, I don’t like this body”.

I am not enough. Picture infront of the mirror.

Consequence of Negative Self-Talk

Many times we don’t realize, that we nourish our inner critic while doing this, so it grows bigger and bigger and without even knowing we cultivate self-hatred by telling oneself over and over again, that this body is not good enough, that we are not okay as we are – and in the end – we manifest self-hatred and self-hatred becomes our reality.

My body is not good the way it is.

In consequence of this depression and anxiety arise. Our self-value, self-love and self-esteem are diminished or gone and the frustration grows bigger. We find ourselves in a negative spiral without a way back out.
It sometimes seems impossible. 

But, let me tell you, there is a way out! It can be a long and sometimes hard journey – but it’s definitely worth it going.

Self-Love First. You Are Enough.

Selflove Picture of Ligaya, Stefanie Grace

Tools To Change Negative Self-Talk And Self-Hatred Into Positivity and Self-Love

Here are some tools to change your negative self-talk into positivity.

Start a journal
Reflect on your day, your feelings, your actions and thoughts. What are your triggers and how do you react to them? Why do you feel how you feel?

Be kind with yourself and practice self-compassion
Start talking to yourself like you were talking to a child or a beloved person. You would never be so hard on someone else like you are with you. Practice being kind towards yourself as well, show compassion and always remember to be more patient.

Practice meditation
Meditation helps to get your mind clear. Find calmness in meditation and start with positive affirmations while combining them with your breath, e.g.: breath in “I am” breath out “enough”. Meditation is a great tool to bring yourself back to this present moment – out of the past and back from the future. Notice the sensations in your body, the feelings and emotions which arise – what are the thoughts, the actions which led to those emotions?

Find your ways of self-care
Take care of yourself and find your tools of self-care. Some people need to go to a yoga class or a run, others feel the need of a bubble bath in the candle light. Maybe you need a long walk in the forest or a dip in the sea? 
Self-care can mean to enjoy a cup of tea while reading a book, crafting something or painting a mandala. 
Everyone has a different way – try some and find your way.

Feel your body
It’s really important to rebuild a healthy connection towards the body again. Best way to do this, is to feel the body. Close your eyes and touch your body very gentle. Like you would caress the body of a beloved person. Feel the silhouette of your body and the touch on your skin. Appreciate it and respect it. It is your home, your only one and it’s a good one, just the way it is. Give yourself a hug.

Start with positive affirmations
Tell your reflection in the mirror that you are beautiful the way you are, that you are enough, that you love yourself. And always remember: it needs time to overwrite a manifestation, it needs time to manifest a certain believe. And most important, it needs you to believe this new believes!

After many years of telling yourself one thing, its not done by simply telling yourself ONCE the opposite. You need to say it over and over again. You need to hear it over and over again. You need to say the words, hear the words in your voice in all your confidence!

Let me know if you have experienced negative self-talk and self-hatred and how you are/were handeling it?

Thanks for taking the time to read,
Love & Light, Namasté yours Nini

Social Media vs. Reality – Do You See What I See?

Full body picture Stefanie Grace

"A Picture Tells More Than 1000 Words..." Does It?

There is this saying “a picture tells more than 1000 words” – this may be true in some cases, but when it comes to the topic “‘social media vs. reality” I can’t fully agree with it. I feel more like: “one single picture hides more than 1000 details” – you don’t see the whole reality. 

With all the different filters, lightings and angles our reality gets deceived. Only with the right pose, you can already hide a lot of what you don’t feel like sharing on your social media account. Because of that, it is getting harder to tell, if a picture of a body we see, corresponds to reality.
With this post I want to bring a bit more reality and authenticity to social media, by showing you some details you don’t see. 

Full body picture Stefanie Grace

Some Insights and Details of My Body Which You Don't See on One Single Picture...

The picture above was taken in a great lighting, with a good camera. Afterwards I changed the contrast and the highlights. While the picture was taken, I exhaled, contracted my abs and of course, positioned my pants a little bit higher, to highlight my waist.

Here is my reality and insights of other angles and poses.

The view over the body from above. view of my body from above

The image of the body is changing a lot, depending on the angle you look at it. (I used to hate looking down to body like this).

Spare Tyres of Ligaya Stefanie Grace spare tyres when I sit relaxed

When i sit relaxed on the ground, I'm not showing my abs, I'm showing my spare tyres (they have been with my all my life).

Cellulite of Stefanie Grace cellulite on my thighs

You wouldn't see them, when I'm standing. But when I sit down and sqeeze my thights they pop up!

Stretch marks on the butt of Stefanie Grace Ligaya stretch marks on my butt

A nice pattern on my skin (as my partner use to say) Kind of body art.

Scars and bruses on the shins of Ligaya Stefanie Grace scars and bruses on my shins

The side effect of training jiu-jitsu, jumping around like a monkey the whole day and the habit of not being able to leave wounds like they are (I can't help myself, I really like to scratch).

Don’t let social media deceive your reality.

See YOUR Reality. Appreciate and Respect Your Body as It Is.

I had a time in my life, where I hated the reality as it is. I didn’t like my body at all. I edited every picture I took and deleted every picture, where I wasn’t happy about the reality. Due to my eating disorder I was struggleing with, I didn’t see myself the way others would see me. I was comparing myself with everyone else and everytime I did, I lost the competition. My body never was good enough.. 
I worked a lot on my mindset, with my body and my self image. With all the appreciation and all the gratitude I was cultivating towards my body – for everything it can accomplish – I cultivated respect and love towards my body. 

Now I am able to see and feel the reality and actully like it. And of course there are days, on which I don’t feel 100 percent happy with my appereance, but I also always know why I feel this way – may it be because I had pizza the night before, may it be because I am bloated, because I have my period, or antything else – and this is Ok too, because I see and accept the reality, rather than deniying and hating  it. 

Realize Your Full Power, Your Full Potential and Find Joy and Selflove in Being You.

Stefanie Grace in a yoga pose laughing

Realize Your Full Power, Your Full Potential and Find Joy and Selflove in Being You.

I was thinking for a long time what my first blog post should be about… Yoga? Fitness? Nutrition?… they are all equally important to me and after starting and deleting a text again and again for a couple of times I decided that my first blog post should be about my big WHY – the big question what gives me the drive, what motivates me, what I want to share with you in my work as a health coach…

Stefanie Grace Ligaya is doing Yoga oudoor

"I Support and Inspire Women To Realize Their Full Power, Their Full Potential - To Find Joy and Selflove in Being Themselves".

I know there are many women, perhaps too many women, who haven’t reached yet their full power, who haven’t  realized their full potential. 

But what is holding us back? 
I think there are many reasons and we all have different dominating ones, but a lot of times the feeling of not being good enough is the one, which occurs with all of us in some way. We feel we are not enough in what we do, in how we are, in our appearance. We always find something that diminishes our value, even if others see it in a different way. We put ourselves second, not first. It’s hard for us to say no, to stand up for ourselves. We only see the things on our bodies, we don’t like instead of complimenting ourselves for the things we do appreciate about ourselves. 
And because of that its hard for us to accept compliments and even to accept love.

I invite you, to look at you and to ask yourself – “Do I like, what I see”? 
I invite you, to touch your body and to ask yourself – “Do I like what I feel? 
Ask yourself in what kind of relationship are you with your body, with you? 
And then remind yourself, that you are enough, just the way you are.

Change is Growth
Years ago, I was hunted by the feeling of not being enough. My body never was good enough, everything I did, was not good enough. I struggled with my self-image, the way I see me and with an eating disorder. I reached a point in my life, where I thought that I would never be able to change the relationship towards myself. Change felt impossible…

But after working a lot on my mindset I’ve learned, that change is possible. Even tho, change is never comfortable, because it means you have to go out of your comfortzone, the zone where you feel at home, where you feel save, because its familiar. But after you did this step you will discover a new comfortzone and step by step you are growing – and this is a beautiful process. 

I dedicate this post to all the beautiful women out there who can relate to those feelings – have faith in the process and look forward to discovering yourself in a new way. Get to know yourself better, and learn to love yourself exactly as you are, in your full potential, in your full power. 

Get out of your comfort zone and grow.