Who am I? Why should you trust me? How could I possibly know how you’re feeling or how to help you? Buckle up, because this story is a long one.
I grew up a very lucky child. My parents are wonderful, I never wanted for anything when I was growing up… except to be skinny.
I never understood how me and my sister could have the same parents, live in the same household, sit down to the same meals at dinner time… and yet I was the chubby sister. I remember doing sit ups before bed in year 6. I remember crying to my mum about the rolls on my stomach at age 12. The importance on how my body looked and the comparisons to others started very early on for me.
Fast forward to age 17 and I was the lightest weight I have ever been in my adult life (including to this day). I liked how I looked, but I fought for it daily. I’d learnt a little about calories, but had no clue about how many to have or even what nutritional value the food I was eating had. My days consisted of two slices of toast in the morning, a yoghurt and an apple at lunch, and then something random in the evening. I had a friend that was obsessed with her weight too and we unhealthily used to compare how many calories we had eaten that day, as though it were a competition for the least amount.
This was teamed with an unhealthy link to exercise which had me out running at 10pm at night because I categorically couldn’t sleep without going. I felt extreme guilt and anxiety if I didn’t attempt to burn off the food I’d eaten that day. 17 year old me had an eating disorder. One that I didn’t even realise I had until ten years later at 27 years old. Many people think of bulimia as people making themselves vomit, what many people don’t know is that it can take form in other ways, such as overexercising or exercising to earn your food. That guilt and anxiety I felt… is not normal.
The following years were teamed with raspberry ketones, waist trainers, electroconvulsive ab machines, low carb diets, juice diets, soup diets, you name it I tried it all. Including a stint with weight watchers and four years yo-yo dieting with slimming world.
Then, at 25 after an awful break up that resulted in me having to leave New Zealand very quickly (I had moved there for an ex boyfriend but that’s a different story) I decided that I was going to live the next year selfishly. I had given up everything I knew for someone else: a job in a school I loved, my family, my friends, even the little things like the car I loved. I’d spent all my savings on visas, flights and shipping all of my belongings (only to have to do it again unexpectedly). Going home was a chance to start over. This was my time… I was going to become the best version of myself that I could ever be, and I was going to do it for ME and ONLY ME.
At this point I was a large size 14 (basically a 16). I still have the biggest pair of work trousers I owned and if you hold them up to the light, you can see right through the seam because I had stretched them so much (clearly in denial of wearing the next size up haha). This miserable photo was the starting point.
So I started learning about nutrition, I changed my outlook on exercise, I treated myself well and gave my mind time to recover and rediscover myself. I entered a 12 week transformation competition in order to give myself some focus.
I promised myself that I would only go to the gym to “enjoy it”. All I had to do was walk through the door and I was allowed to leave as soon as I didn’t like what I was doing. This meant NO MORE RUNNING like the days when I was 17 and making my way around the neighbourhood. People talk about having poor relationships with food, but I had to build my relationship with exercise too.
I now see it as something I WANT to do, rather than something I HAVE to do.
That 12 week challenge lead to the photos below. I won second place in the competition out of 2000 people and won a trip to Bali.
Unfortunately, this is where I realised that mindset was such a major part of a transformation. I was in the best shape of my life and to the rest of the world I looked SO confident.
I had been taught how to change my body, but no one had taught me how to change my mind.
It never occurs to people that you might need help on how to handle success, but we do. It’s alright having the body you always wanted, but when you’ve spent a whole lifetime chasing it… how do you get your mind used to the idea that it’s done? What do you move on to? How do you give yourself the permission to finally be confident in your own skin? You wouldn’t think it from the photos, but I spent most of this holiday making the same comparisons I did as 10 year old me in year 6. We all need help figuring out that side to our journey too.
So I set to work on bettering myself and decided I wanted to help people with all three aspects that contribute to a confident sense of self. I already have a degree in Psychology, and I also teach the subject to secondary school children. The next move was to become qualified in nutrition. I passed with distinction from MacNutrition Uni and can now call myself a certified nutritionist (one that still enjoys a good Yorkshire pudding wrap I might add).
I can finally say I’m in a place where I’ve accepted myself. I still have things to work on without a doubt. Whether that’s just getting a couple of pounds off or having a word with myself about my self worth or beliefs. The difference is I don’t hate where I’m at right now whilst I’m doing those things. YOU CAN LOVE THE BODY OR MIND YOU HAVE AND WANT TO IMPROVE IT.
I don’t get on the scales, I don’t even track my food anymore. I’ve finally got to the point where I’m doing what my younger sister did naturally all those years ago. I am conscious of what I put in my body and I care about it, but that doesn’t mean I “eat clean” or limit ANYTHING. It means I enjoy my food and I look after my body. I make decisions on what is best for my health overall, and sometimes that’s a big old bar of chocolate (because health is more than what’s on the outside) and other times it’s a yummy stir fry or a salad. I want to teach you so that you have the nutritional knowledge to have the same freedom.
I don’t want anyone to be paying over and over again for fad diets that just don’t work. I know the feeling of not even believing they’ll work, but throwing money at them anyway because you’re just so desperate and you can’t understand why other people seem to make it work and you don’t.
I want to coach you through the last time you’ll ever have to diet.
The last time you’ll ever have to ask “why can’t I be like that”. The last time you’ll say “Why am I the chubby sister?” The last time you’ll need someone like me to help you.
Why not put your faith in someone who has been there, done that, understands how you feel and knows how to get you through to the other side?
Maybe one day you’ll have a momento of how far you’ve come too. Those trousers with the holey seams? Well, I’ve still got them.