I think it’s fair to say that like so many people, I’ve got a bit of a chequered history when it comes to my health....
A bit about me - and how I ended up here!
I think it’s fair to say that like so many people, I’ve got a bit of a chequered history when it comes to my health.
I’ve struggled with body issues since my teens and my weight has fluctuated wildly over the years. I’ve been everything from a size eight to a 16, and it got to the point where I lost faith in my body’s ability to regulate itself. But how could it when I was confusing the shit out of it with that all-too-familiar binge/starve pattern?
In short, I was really angry with my body, and kept blaming it for the many diet and fitness mistakes I was making.
For so long, I shovelled down crap-filled, processed food, bottle after bottle of wine (and whatever other alcohol I could get my hands on) and dipped in and out of exercise (mainly out). Yet, I was still resentful that I didn’t look like a Victoria’s Secret model.
Whether it was down to chronic low self-worth, the cruel, misleading diet industry or my simple lack of basic nutritional and exercise knowledge, I was unable to get my body to a place of balance where I could feel happy and accepting of it.
Where was I going wrong? Erm…
Rather than work with my body, I fought against it. I fed it rubbish food but expected to feel well. I worked out infrequently but couldn’t grasp why I didn’t have a six-pack. My mood was low and my anxiety was high, and even though I was a functioning alcoholic and often lived on take-aways, I was in denial about the very obvious link.
My brain was being starved of the fats it needed to function properly, and my body was a bruised barrel of water retention and chronic inflammation. I was stuck in a vicious cycle of craving and exhaustion. My enthusiasm and motivation were on the floor, and I was so miserable I stopped caring about how I looked.
As well as being clearly overweight (I could only hide it under chunky jumpers for so long), I was emotionally battered and found it hard to think straight, let alone formulate a plan to get me out of the mess I was in. The more rubbish I ate to comfort myself, the worse I felt, and yet I didn’t know how to stop.
After so many years of severe self-abuse, I was officially sick and tired of being sick and tired. I felt so unwell I couldn’t motivate myself to get out of bed to clean my teeth, let alone go for a run, as my doctor kept helpfully suggesting. In fact, the only place I could stagger to was the kitchen cupboards to load up on sugary foods in the hope they would give me quick energy.
Instead of taking responsibility for myself, I went to see a series of doctors and experts and expected them to ‘fix ‘me. It was only when I realised that I could only be healthy and lean if I wanted to be that something finally – finally! – switched in my brain.
I had to make a decision, and it involved some seriously tough self-love. Did I want to be an overweight, tired mess forever? Or did I want to be lean, positive and full of energy? Come on, which would you choose?
Thankfully, I dug deep and I chose to start being kind of myself. That meant cutting out inflammatory ingredients like sugar and bad fats, as well as anything processed, and replacing them with fresh food, good fats and intermittent fasting. I also made some amazing, game-changing discoveries in the shape of supplements and nootropics.
Once my energy levels improved I was able to start exercising properly (and I discovered all those people who told me I would have more energy if I started working out were right, dammit). Without wanting to sound like a w*nker, as a result of doing those things I was able to transform my life from being terrible and toxic into one that is positive and fulfilling.
It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination because we all have those everyday stressors we can’t avoid, but now I’m able to navigate my way through them, instead of lying in bed for days panicking.
These days I’m a better mum, a better wife and a better friend - even to myself (I realise that’s a bit Hallmark, but I’m going with it). By treating my body with respect and putting really great stuff in, I have found a way to stay in shape and feel great while still eating the foods I love (hello, cheese).
You can read much more about my journey (come on, you knew that word would crop up somewhere) in my new Number 1 bestselling book, It’s Not a Diet. But I felt it was important to give you a bit of background info on how I went from the picture on the left 😱, to the picture on the right 😀.
When I look back now, I can see that I put my body through hell at times. I feel so grateful that it’s been able to heal as a result of the protocols I’ve followed, so it’s still able to support me in the incredible way it does. Now I want to help you to do the same.