Live Naked: Embracing the dark side of wholeness

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It’s 9:30 in the morning and I sit tucked in a corner of a diner, hoping no one recognizes me as I put back a giant plate of commercial eggs, nitrate-filled bacon, and a big cup of cheap coffee. I’ve come from doing a TV slot promoting my book and explaining the importance of naked food. The irony doesn’t escape me. It horrifies me.

The naked lifestyle is all about authenticity and embracing the whole of who we are. Part of that whole is not always pretty. I like to put my best foot forward in everything I do professionally and personally. What happens when that goes awry? Is it possible to make room for the dark as well as the light?

In memoriam: Cynthia G Floyd, 1938-2011

Some context:

This summer has been an intense one for me. Book launch. Learning the media. Around the clock recipe testing to finish the manuscript for the cookbook follow up to Eat Naked. The passing of my mother. My wedding.

How did I arrive at that diner breakfast and why was one breakfast such a big deal? Well, it wasn’t just one. It was most meals most days over the period of several weeks. This wasn’t about comfort food sneaking into my 20%, this was life gone crazy. All of my usual self-care rituals – be they food, movement, or daily practices – went out the window. The fact that my face is on the cover of the book I was launching, a book promoting healthy, naked eating, was a contradiction that haunted me.

The hardest part was giving myself permission to be human, to create space for the intensity of emotions flowing through me. I like to have it all together – especially when the world is watching. How scary to witness myself make mistakes, miss deadlines, and rely on food crutches that are damaging my health.

But then: isn’t this part of the whole in wholeness?

If we’re to embrace a holistic lifestyle – and I do, wholeheartedly – then that means accepting the dark as well as the light. It means coming to peace with that part of ourselves that doesn’t have it all together, that we’d prefer to hide from the world. That side needs to be celebrated as much as the superstar in us does.

Debbie Ford wrote a great book called The Dark Side of the Light Chasers and in it she says, “Our dark side acts as a storehouse for all these unacceptable aspects of ourselves… These are the faces we don’t want to show the world… When we lock away those parts of ourselves we don’t like, unknowingly, we seal away our most valuable treasures.”

So what’s my treasure? Well, it’s still unfolding. Perhaps it’s a new level of understanding and compassion for those really struggling with their diet. Perhaps it’s a new appreciation of our inevitable and beautiful human-ness. Most of all it’s the recognition that an integral part of naked living is to embrace all of who we are – the parts we’re proud of and the parts we want to hide from the world.

What treasures are hiding in your dark side?

photo credit


  1. Susan Roth, BA, NTP, CTE


    I thank you for sharing these thoughts with us. Losing one’s Mother in itself, is enough to throw off a regular routine and lifestyle, much less all the other things you have going. My condolences for your loss. I am glad you are being kind to yourself, and I have no doubt you will be back on track soon. I have the hardest time eating right, when I am off my regular schedule, and it seems to have been off for most of the Summer. I am actually drinking caffeine again, and that will be the first of the bad old habits to disappear. I have no appetite, although when I eat, I eat good foods. Stress causes me to lose my appetite, which leads to other bad habits.
    The fact that even shining stars like yourself are human, and slip up once and a while, helps us all. By sharing your experience, you have helped many more people understand that eating and living right is a process, and it not all or nothing.
    Blessings, Susan

    • Thanks so much for the beautiful feedback, Susan. It means a lot. It certainly has been a wild ride. Even writing this post was cathartic – I’m already feeling much more on track. xx

  2. Love what you are doing with you very large talents. Please take up space, we need you full and radiant and whole . . .

  3. Jane


    Thanks for having the courage to share this, Margaret. We all slip, for one reason or another, but it doesn’t define us. I know the feeling of not feeling authentic at times, and of doing things in “private” that go against my “public” beliefs. I think that’s part of the struggle that shows that we are, indeed, human, but it’s also part of the process we need to go through to become our future selves.
    You’ve had a tough year, kiddo, and I’m sure you’ll be back on track soon. You are still an inspiration to many people, and I thank you for that!

  4. It must be the planets because i have had a similar identity crisis this summer, with my mother becoming ill, the passing of my grandmother, moving to a new city, my dark side almost got the best of me. I told my husband that if I couldn’t beat it back holistically through exercise that I would consider taking medication…something I have never done before for mental health, and rarely do in general. As soon as I said the words out loud I could feel the cloud lift. The darkness that had been lurking inside had been exposed and it was okay to let it out. I dove into exercise and within two weeks I was myself again. Thank you for this post. It is comforting to know that even humans that are actualizing their life path have moments where they slip. We learn so much about our light from our darkness. Shine on!

  5. Wow Margaret! You really do continue to amaze me!
    Your willingness to share your struggles & personal experiences to support others on the healing journey inspires me and opens my heart.
    Sending you appreciation, validation and support!

  6. I love it when others articulate so well what I’ve recently felt in my own way. Thanks so much for this thoughtful expression. I posted it on my FB page.

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