I’ve always had a tricky relationship with food and my body. Growing up I was the chubby one in the group and I remember that my parents were always on diets and trying to lose weight. Over the years I became very much an all or nothing eater and would either be “good” (which usually consisted of cutting something out or restricting entire food (groups) or bad (where I would eat everything I could lay my hands on). Needless to say I didn’t achieve any lasting results but I continued on in this cycle regardless.
I’d started to develop a bit of a love affair, or perhaps obsession, with health and fitness but it wasn’t until I moved across the other side of the world that this love affair became my career (previously I had been in the corporate world in Customer Service and Marketing).
Within 3 years I had risen through the ranks of the health and fitness industry from Personal Trainer to Studio Manager and then to Studio Owner. Eight months after fully fitting out and establishing my own personal training studio however I watched it burn to the ground, as a result of a wok fire in the neighbouring Chinese restaurant. While I did relocate the business and kept it running for a further 9 months, I came to the realisation that it no longer made financial or emotional sense, so I shut it down.
Throughout my experiences as a woman struggling with weight, working in the corporate world, moving to a new country, establishing myself in a new industry and progressing up the ladder, and starting a business and dealing with the aftermath of that business burning down, I have faced many different pressures and used many different behaviours to try to overcome them (such as binge eating, binge drinking, over exercising, over working and procrastination… to name a few). As a result my body started to respond by putting on weight (even though my eating and exercise hadn’t changed), I had periods of extreme fatigue, anxiety, bad digestion with constant bloating and no period for 2 years. I applied everything I knew and had learned as a personal trainer but still my body continued to deteriorate.
I embarked on a journey of discovery to try and figure out what the hell was going on, trying all the different therapies and supplements you can think of, which naturally cost me a lot of money and time. Eventually however I realised that all of my issues were stemming from one thing… my mind. I’ve always had a very driven personality and put a lot of pressure on myself to be the best and finally it caught up with me, as it caused me to work ridiculous hours, have very little sleep, push my body physically on a daily basis and never be able to switch my brain off. It wasn’t until I addressed this that my body started to restore itself.
I then began to notice how so many people around me were also facing these same challenges to some degree. I realised that as a personal trainer I had often simply been helping people put a bandaid over their real issues and although I was always trying to help them at a deeper level by understanding their behaviours, I hadn’t appreciated just how integral this was in order to create real change and optimum health and performance until I experienced it first-hand.
Stress and its relationship with weight loss. How can we fix it?
Notice how you and your body respond to different situations; notice what causes you stress, notice what makes you happy, notice who brings something positive to your life and who does not, notice how you feel when you eat, notice how your energy changes throughout the day, notice how you feel and perform in relation to the amount of sleep you’ve had – just notice, and document, as much as you can. Next identify patterns and then start to understand what is affecting you both in a positive and negative way. If you feel bloated and over tired after a session at the gym, maybe that’s too hard for you right now. If you feel wide-awake in the night-time, perhaps your adrenal glands are over worked (a common sign of consistent high stress levels). If you feel excessively bloated after you eat maybe your body needs something different at this time, or maybe you need to eat in a different environment.
Our bodies are extremely intelligent, they have ways of communicating to us what’s really going on, and so by tuning in and listening you will be able to guide yourself towards the optimum health (and waistline) you’re striving for.