|I am just like you….
I am not perfect, I am still learning what works for me and what doesn’t from a health and nutritional perspective, because along my journey, I have discovered, diets don’t work, (who knew!), and hating your body with such intensity has you the gym 6-8 hours a day punishing your body to try and create the “perfect body”, is also not the answer.
I grew up in suburbia with an older brother and sister, mum and dad, a dog and cats, and grandma living around the corner. My father owned his own business so worked long hours, my mum started work at 8am so I was dropped off to my grandma’s house at 7.30am and was picked up at 5pm. My grandma had owned a bakery, so was VERY GOOD at baking yummy food! My Uncle lived with my grandma, was also a baker, but worked at Cadbury’s…..Needless to say, I was spoiled with lots of sweet treats (and LOVE!) when I was at my grandma’s, and my over-obsession with food began!
My parents were both overweight, my older sister was overweight, so by association, I just believed I was overweight and because I always saw them on diets, I thought that was normal and wanted to be on one as well, so would join the family on diets! Irony, my brother, tall and thin, unlike the rest of us, so did not join in the family bonding of dieting!
Of course we would drop a few kgs’, but of course, would put it straight back on, plus more once when we came off the diets. Surprise, surprise!
But that is what I remember about food and diets from my childhood. Yummy foods and treats and lollies at my grandma’s each day, combined with dieting with my family. Confusing messages would be an understatement!
In my early 20’s, when I was really battling obesity, I looked at the photo album of me and I just remember crying because it wasn’t until Year 9 (approx. age, 13/14), that it was clearly obvious that I was overweight / obese. The pictures of me in primary school, I was a normal weight, pictures of me at year 8 camp on a flying fox, tiny and having fun, but I distinctly remember feeling that I was fat.
My grandma was my life; the one person who to this day I believe loved me unconditionally; passed away at the end of year 8, so it is no surprise that my weight truly ballooned after she passed away.
The same year my grandma passed away, was the same year my parents lost the family business, and we were forced to move to a remote country town, away from my grandma and my friends.
By 16, I was 120kg and miserable. I hated myself and my life. I hated school because I was made fun of for my weight and I wasn’t doing well academically either. In early primary school, I LOVED school and learning and did extremely well, then other events took place and I never re-gained my love of school until I left in year 12.
At 16, I moved out of my home and lived with my brother back in suburbia. But on my 18th birthday, he leaves and joins the army, and I move back with my parents three months later and start a relationship with the next door neighbor. I was still 120kg and miserable and didn’t care that he treated me terribly. I continued to date him for eight years. You could say low self-esteem, but it was NO self-esteem.
I moved out of home at age 26, dumped the boyfriend, and left my first job that I had been in for eight years, and moved into the city and dropped 25kg pretty quickly.
At this point, I discovered exercise. I mean, 4-8 hours a day exercise, training in an un-air-conditioned gym on 40degree day’s type of exercise. I also discovered the “not eating diet”! Well, in all honesty, I was eating; it was at least one packet of chocolate bullets a day, and 1.2 litres of Coke Zero a day, which I did for close to 12 months. Did I drop weight, you better believe it! Was it healthy, HELL NO! Did I care at that point, NO! I dropped 15kg and was at my lowest weight I had been as an adult!I had a new man in my life as well, so life was good! Had damaged my body irreparably, but didn’t care, I was thin (although I didn’t “see it” because of the body dysmorophia! For the next 10 years, I continued to try diet after diet, same journey, lost a few kgs, put them back on.
In 2007, I met my personal trainer, who I am still with, and so my love affair with the adrenalin rush of exercise continued, but in a slightly healthier way. I was gaining muscle and my body was looking more defined, which just fuelled my diet mentality even more.
By 2009, I discovered a university Masters Program in Wellness and thought that would help my thirst for knowledge on health and wellbeing and help me understand how to drop the weight in a healthier more sustained way. It didn’t do this, but it did help me understand food, nutrition, and many other areas of wellness. What it also did, was ignite my passion for learning and understanding health and wellbeing to a point of knowing it was what I wanted to do with my life, I just didn’t know how to make the leap.
In 2013, over the Easter break, when I was bored, and still trying to work out how to transition my career from the corporate world into one I was passionate about, I discovered the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and knew immediately, that becoming a health coach, was my new career and my doorway to help heal others.
I enrolled immediately, and as soon as the course started, I started understanding diets, why they don’t work, how individual we all are and the importance of looking after ourselves as a whole being, not what we eat.
In August, I signed up for an online conference of which Marc David was a guest speaker. I had heard of him, but didn’t know a lot about him. After listening to him, I knew I had to under-take his certification program at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating (IPE). I applied in the August, and was gratefully accepted, and then everything fell into alignment. I understood my own journey and was finally able to make peace with my relationship to food, and my body.
Since beginning these amazing programs, I have completely transformed how I eat, when I eat, what I eat, and learned how to love my body. It has not been an easy journey, but it is one that I am grateful for every single day.