For all you lovely ladies struggling with your weight or food, I feel that now is the time to share my full weight loss story with you. I hope it instills faith and inspiration for you in your life! Enjoy...
For most of my life I have been interested in health. Sport ran in the family, I played since a young age and we grew all our veggies at home on the farm. I played netball since I was 8 years old, I played cricket in my local country home town, I swam in swimming club every Friday night, played basketball, touch football and I did all of this with love. Sport was all around me but my food choices and my self-image let me down.
In my teenage years, a family friend died of cancer and I remember thinking then that I wanted to have a full body scan every year to check my health and ensure that I was ‘ok’. The idea that our life could be taken away from us so quickly scared the heck out of me and I have until this day, always valued the gift of life. And from that point, my health would play on my mind.
That’s not to say that I lived healthily though. I went to boarding school and ate pizza and sausage rolls for lunch, with a packet of salt and vinegar chips or a paddle pop afterwards. I would then eat 2 minute noodles for dinner to avoid the awful boarding school food. None of these being healthy options at all.
During high school, I was always on the chubby side. In fact, even in Primary school I was too. I definitely wasn’t overweight necessarily at that point but I felt self-conscious every day and always compared myself to others. I had freckles which I hated and felt I wasn’t pretty enough, fit enough or ‘good’ enough and...food became my comfort (I'm sure you can relate!). I must say, I rarely binged, I didn't hide away with food often but I certainly did at times. I made poor food choices and knew that it was adding to my weight and my poor body image. It was a vicious cycle and I found this cycle extremely hard to break. Always resulting in feeling worse and not in control.
My plan was to be a physiotherapist leaving high school. Instead I studied massage therapy which I used for some years, but still not really knowing who I was and what I wanted to do and be. My internal passion for health and the human body continued to grow and I took the plunge to study personal training while I travelled overseas (why I chose to do it then is beyond me). To be completely honest with you, I think the real reason deep down for studying personal training was so that I would feel accountable to actually living a healthy lifestyle and I would finally lose weight. You can’t be an overweight personal trainer, right?!
Unfortunately, my little sub-conscious plan did not play out. At this stage I was living in Ireland, while travelling Europe with friends - drinking, dancing and smoking my way around the world. Yes I had fun, a hell of a lot of fun, but all the while my weight continued to go up, while my confidence continued to go down. I enjoyed drinking alcohol with friends and I enjoyed it even more as it helped me stop worrying about what others thought of me. Thankfully, I had and still do have incredible friends. Never did they judge me or treat me any different – it wasn’t them that created this lack of self-esteem within myself, it was me. My thoughts, my weight, my choices, my world.
The scare & decision to make a change
I remember going to the GP in Dublin after work one day and the GP asked me to stand on the scales. I was there to get a script for the contraceptive pill, which I'd been on for years. Never had I ever received a response like this; the GP said if I was any heavier she would not write the script for me! This was the hardest thing for me to hear and it confirmed my thoughts, that other people DO see me as fat. And I was scared for my health.
It took me a few days to wrap my head around this. I knew that I was bigger and I knew my clothes weren’t fitting, but had I really put on that much weight? This realisation ended up being the catalyst for change! After considering what life might be like if I didn’t make a change to my diet and lifestyle (which I visualised the scales going up and up and my health deteriorating), I decided then that I MUST lose 10kg’s. I had put 10kg’s on since arriving in Ireland and I knew that I would not leave Ireland unless I was the same weight that I arrived. I had determination, a time frame and I knew I also needed some level of support to do it.
One of many diets
So, along came Weight Watchers – the one thing that I thought wouldn’t deprive me of the things I loved yet would be strict enough for me to lose weight. I also joined the gym and made a commitment to go three times per week, along with going for a walk every single day. My focus was purely improving my food and movement - I wasn't aware of any other factors of health to consider.
I improved my food and moved my body more and with this, soon enough the scales started to go down and I knew that if I continued doing what I was doing, I would lose the weight. I felt more energetic, my mind felt on track, I began to feel more comfortable in my skin and my clothes started to fit better. I even tried pole dancing for fun and fitness – now that is tough and what a hilarious attempt! I was putting myself out there to reach my goal.
What didn’t work in my favour regarding food was counting points (!!!!!!!)! The amount of attention this required became obsessive and as a perfectionist, this didn't work well. In every meeting, there was so much focus on the number of points that I was consuming, rather than the quality of the food and the mindset around eating. What led me to having a weight issue in the first place was my attitude, belief and mindset regarding food, how I felt about myself and my developed habits. This was not addressed at all and after losing the 10kg’s (YEP, I did it!!!), the weight came back on! And it came back on with a vengeance.
The weight & disappointment crept up
After arriving back in Oz and moving to Melbourne, the weight was creeping up and every week I kept saying to to myself, I’ll start on Monday. I tried short-term diets, weight loss shakes, soup diets, weight loss tablets (thanks commercials for telling me I would lose 6kg’s in 2 weeks!), I tried a 2 week bootcamp blitz’, 7 week challenges, online meal plans – you name it, I’ve tried it!
It felt like such an uphill battle, with little hope and I was directionless with which way to go and what to do. I would lose weight and it would come back on, but no wonder, I was looking for a quick fix and I wasn’t prepared to put the time and effort in. I was hoping someone would hand me the magic bottle and the kg’s would shred off just like the commercials promise. The easy option then was to do nothing and I had no chance of failing if I did nothing.
The moment that changed my life
Until one day, and I remember this as clear as day, was when I stood on the scales before work and I was the heaviest I have ever been! I stood there in shock horror, thinking WTF have I done and how did I not know that I was this heavy? Or did I and instead I chose to be ignorant, thinking it will be fine?!
So many thoughts went through my head while standing on the scales that morning; “No wonder I don’t have a boyfriend”. “How much weight do I need to lose?” “Shit, this is going to be so bloody hard?” “Can I lose weight anyway?” “How on earth do I do it?” “I’m not really that unhealthy!” “I can’t stop going out for dinner and having nights out.” “Will I lose friends by being unsocial?” "This is going to take sooooo long!" “How much am I willing to sacrifice to lose the weight?” I still had great friends and family, I was still enjoying life...what would losing weight do for me? "Do I want it enough?"
This was the moment that changed my life! And I can say that with absolute certainty. I thought about all the benefits to losing the weight and how that would increase my confidence in public, how I would be excited about getting in my bathers, how I may even feel attractive and hopefully find a partner. I thought about feeling as though I fit in, rather than standing out because of my size, that I would get fit and feel fit! The fact that the healthier I become, the happier I would be in all areas of my life, to live a long life and enjoy it!
With these greater reasons for losing weight, I chose in that moment that I would lose 15 kg’s to start with and I would do it the ‘right’ way. I didn't know exactly what the 'right' way was but I knew that it would require exercise, cutting back on alcohol and take-away food. That I would have to start making healthier choices when dining out instead of ordering battered fish and chips and drinking ciders all night. It would take time to do it the natural way and I was determined that I would not put the weight back on. I was scared, I had no idea how long it would take but I was sure that it just had to happen. My health and my happiness depended on it.
I made the decision to start the next day and that I would lose half a kg per week. I knew from what I had read that this was a realistic amount, which would still allow me to enjoy some foods that weren’t healthy, yet to remain mostly on track. I sat down and wrote in my phone what I would weigh every week in advance, to the point of knowing what I would weight 3 months and even 6 months ahead of time. This was exciting – to see that number knowing (hoping) it was only a few months away. Yes, a few months felt like a lifetime when I thought about what I had to change and “What if I fail?” “What if it doesn’t work?” I knew though, that I would get there.
I did not do this alone though. For me to successfully lose the weight and keep it off for good, I had the idea that I should be vulnerable and share my goals with other people. This scared the life out of me, yet it excited me in a way that was motivating (this was definitely the motivation ad accountability I needed). In the past I had kept my weight loss goals to myself so when the weight would come back on, I was the only one that knew about it, therefore I only had to worry about what I thought of myself (which wasn't good). The problem being, in those days I didn’t think very highly of myself and no one was there to support me or cheer me along, because I hadn't shared my goal with them. No one was there to kick me up the backside when I needed to get moving.
This time was different
I told everyone that I worked with, my boss even joined my bootcamp and couldn’t believe how determined I was. They all asked me each week how much training was going, they loved seeing the new food that I brought in to work. They stopped asking me if I wanted a second coffee for the day and they respected when I said no to biscuits and cake. Mind you…I allowed myself to have it every now and then, just not every time like I usually would.
I told my friends and family members and the support was phenominal. They always asked how it was going, they commented and said how great I was looking and they saw me glow each week as the scales came down. I even influenced some of them to make healthier choices.
Believe it or not, I lost half a kg each week just like I had planned, until I got closer to my goal. I had heard it was normal to plateau closer to your goal weight and it did happen but I allowed it to happen and didn’t beat myself up about doing anything wrong or no doing enough. I knew this was part of the journey.
I went to bootcamp 6 days a week, sometimes twice in a day, I started becoming super fit and went on to join a Crossfit gym, to tone up and push my limits. I still ate some less than healthy meals on weekends, I drank alcohol every weekend, some nights until 2am with friends and I usually stopped for a kebab on the way home.
I too worked full time while studying full time and I had no idea what it was like to implement rest. My life was running on adrenaline the whole time without even knowing it, as it felt good yet to always be busy but it then just became my norm. Little did I know what this was actually doing to my body. Yes, I was losing weight and feeling more comfortable in my skin, but my poor adrenals, immune system and reproductive system were tired and overworked. The weight loss was there, the health was not.
Why was I over-exercising? Why did I feel the need to work so hard in all areas of my life? And what was I trying to prove? These were the questions I started to ask myself. At this stage, I had FINALLY reached my goal weight, yet I wanted more. Why was I not happy with my body? I wanted to lose another 5kg’s and I continued with this goal at the forefront of my mind, continuing with the same food and lifestyle. Why did I want to lose more?
I was studying a Bachelor of Counselling while this was all going on in my life and it forced me to look at my own inner dialogue and what the reasons were behind my crazy busy life. I realised that when I created my meals, I was still SO focussed on how many ‘points’ and calories they may be – all deriving from my diet experiences years before. I realised that I was creating my meals with as few calories as possible so I would be in a huge deficit at the end of every day, then on weekends I could drink as much as I wanted to. This calorie counting was obsessive and it was a major focus each and every day. I was thinking about food and calories all the time.
No one was coaching me on the importance of listening to my body, managing stress in a positive way (without food), how much water I needed to consume and the quality of movement I should be doing according my own body’s needs and current state of health. I didn't have a coach to dive into the reasons why I was making those food and lifestyle choices to begin with and guide me to create easy sustainable long term change.
I became aware that even though I was definitely more confident than I had been in the past, I was still very insecure and criticised my body in some way every time I looked in the mirror. The calorie counting and food focus was tiring!
Studying counselling, learning about the mind and having to increase my own self awareness, was the next turning point in my weight loss journey. I realised that if I really wanted to love myself, love what I see in the mirror, feel comfortable out in public, find a partner, be genuinely happy and show up and be 100% me, then I needed to work on who I am inside and my relationship with myself, rather than focus on the exterior and the scales.
This was hard! Man it was hard! I continued to weigh myself but I did it once a week instead of daily. I started to allow myself a day without bootcamp and instead I went for a walk – this was more enjoyable than I anticipated. I started creating meals that were really yummy and not just focused on the calories but instead, focusing on the flavour and good quality food. I looked at food as something that provided me with energy, nourishment and vitality, rather than something that would just help me lose weight. I found more of a balance and it felt good.
I started to slow down and enjoy moments where I had nothing to do. I drank 2 litres of water each day and changed my beer and sugary alcoholic drinks on weekends to vodka lime & sodas (I still love these, my favourite boozy bev!). When I dined out, I made the decision to continue my healthy eating as this is what my body wanted, so I chose salads, stir fry’s and slow cooked meals instead of fried food. I did this knowing it would be hard but I chose a lifestyle approach to weight loss as I felt it was going to help me keep the weight off for good.
I started to shift my thinking about myself – yes it is possible!
It takes time, it took a lot of time but I did it. I started to purposefully find gratitude in my day, for things that I did. I praised myself on the small things, instead of always judging. When I received a compliment, I said “Thank you”, instead of shying away with embarrassment. I chose to really enjoy who I was, who I had become and what I had to offer the world.
My professional life took me into a counselling role, after graduation and this at the time, was my way of giving back to the world to help improve the health of young people. I was truly passionate about this however after a few years, I began to realise it was not enough, or where I needed to be. There was something missing and I felt I wasn’t able to give my absolute all. I knew the importance of food, how it helps and hinders our mental health and I knew that this, along with other principals of health are what I wanted to help people with. Everyone was telling me I should be a nutritionist, naturopath, dietician....you name it. My passion was glowing, I just hadn't found the training or course that resonated with me 100%.
As I was seeking to progress my career path, I then found sought a holistic health coach to see for myself as I needed some extra support for my own health. I knew so much already by this stage about holistic health as I had spent countless hours learning and I was always informally coaching friends and family members on how to improve theirs, yet I needed more guidance for myself.
This is when I was introduced to the incredible holistic lifestyle coaching experience and ever since, this is what I live and breathe every day. As a client, I became aware of all the things that hindered my weight loss ability in the past, along with why I was never feeling my best. I learnt the importance of taking a whole mind-body approach to health and suddenly everything made sense. I wouldn’t have become aware of this had I not seeked the support of a holistic health practitioner. This is what I had been needing for many years.
Since this experience, I started seeing food as something that is so incredible, that quality is key and that organic is what we have had for thousands of years – it’s not a new fad! I started to really understand my body and know what it needs each day to thrive. I recognised the importance of water and not just drinking enough but how crucial the quality is and understanding why. I learnt that too much of something good is not necessarily a good thing, just like my over-exercising and perfectionism. I knew how to cope with my emotions and feelings with lifestyle practices and positive daily habits, rather than choosing food or social alcohol as my answer. What a gift this truly was! This holistic, natural approach changed my life and it changes the lives of many.
One thing I will say about this whole weight loss journey of mine, is that it took me a lot longer than it could have and I definitely didn’t look after my health in many ways as mentioned before. No one was there to show me the way as I set out to do it myself. I didn’t even know about weight loss coaches at the time, instead I navigated my way through a confusing weight loss world and used trial and error, plus hours and hours of research to see what worked for my body. My weight loss could have been a hell of a lot healthier, quicker and more enjoyable! I am however very grateful for the experience as I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, so I wouldn’t be the women’s weight loss coach I am today without that deep personal experience.
The holistic health coaching that I experienced as a client was incredible. I had been to GP’s who couldn’t see any reason why I wasn’t feeling my best yet I knew something could be done, other than popping the recommended pill. When my health coach took a thorough health and lifestyle assessment and sat down with me for an hour asking questions about all areas of my health and life, I actually felt like I was being seen for the whole me. We identified that my body was exhausted from years of living on adrenaline, my menstrual cycle went amiss for over a year partly due to the exhaustion, I had mercury toxicity from supermarket and canned fish (I thought this was healthy) and I was still a perfectionist with my food. Years of dietary thinking and fast paced living caught up with me once again and I had to step up my game to make amends.
This process is what led me to reach that next stage of health, understand how to keep the weight off permanently, understand the power of the human body and mind further more, and feel completely in control of my choices and my health.
My True Purpose & Passion
I fell in love with this approach so much that I decided (more so it was a light bulb moment or an awakening) that this was what I was going to help women do for the rest of my life – to show them how to improve their health through natural principals that takes into account all aspects of them, while guiding and supporting them every step of the way. I completed my Holistic Lifestyle Coaching training and set forth to help women transform their body and their mind.
In time, this then naturally progressed into my true passion of weight loss coaching, where I now devote myself to helping women achieve permanent weight loss and body confidence through a powerful holistic approach, with online group coaching and one-to-one coaching. The results these ladies experience are truly life-changing.
I know how confusing and overwhelming weight loss can be, with so many diets and ways of eating to choose from, but it is not all about the food. In fact, our eating is just a by-product of our mindset, beliefs, habits and lifestyle. This is where the gap is in the weight loss world - looking at the underlying causes and the sustainable long-term approach is key!
My purpose each and every day is to simplify the confusing, to inspire women and instil hope; that what feels impossible is actually possible! And it truly is! With real food, a mindset shift and lifestyle practices, some clients even state that it is easy!
So today, 9 years later, I can proudly say that I have kept every one of those 22kg’s off and I even went on to lose a few extra without it being a goal. Weight loss was a by-product of my healthy, happy approach to life. Most importantly, I am completely comfortable in my own skin, I feel proud of everything I have achieved with my health and most of all with my life. I look at food as a way of providing me with life-giving energy required to be the best version of me.
Yes, there were and still are times where I judge myself, criticise what I see and do, and think that I’m bigger than I should be, but I allow those thoughts to come and I just let them go. I let them go, knowing that those are the thoughts of my over-weight younger self, they are not what I honestly think of myself today. I am more than my physical appearance and so are you.
Today, coaching women worldwide to end their weight loss struggle, achieve permanent weight loss and body confidence is incredible. I myself still practice all principals of weight loss and health that I preach. I practice self-love, daily gratitude, eating real food, living according to my values, eating when hungry, coping with my emotions in a positive way, moving my body daily, reducing toxicity, being aware of my thoughts, breathing properly and being me! There are also so may more and they have become an easy enjoyable lifestyle. I also commit to showing up and being my true self every day. It is my greater purpose that drives me to continue this way of living and one that gives back to me tenfold, through the happiness and vitality that I experience each day.
Can you relate to my story?
My business and my passion is all about helping women to end their suffering to weight issues, overcome barriers, develop body confidence and realise their full potential. I would LOVE to hear your story, what you're finding the hardest about losing weight, your relationship with food and/or yourself, or your own weight loss and body transformation journey. Any stories are welcome.