As a life coach, I believe that I cannot expect you to open up to me, if I do not do the same. So here is a raw and honest share of the twists and turns of my narrative that led me here with one wish - to see you light up and leave you with sparks flying.
Picture yourself surrounded by the snow-capped ranges of Ushuaia, the famed "end of the world" at the southern most tip of Argentina. Some of the worlds most breathtaking scenery at your footsteps, and your partner, the person you love most in the world right there by your side. Adventure right? Now imagine looking down at your incredibly capable body, the body that is carrying you through this landscape and becoming stuck in tunnel vision pulling at your shirt, poking at your stomach, wishing it wasn't there, cursing it for being "too big", "not flat enough" and cursing yourself for eating too much. You put half your granola bar back in your bag, the only thing you've eaten all day and the only thing you plan to. The wonder of the world around you and the company you keep no longer matters.
This was my life for almost 4 years. Calorie counting, excessive exercise, restricted eating and intense body shaming. But I am here to tell you there is light.
The experience of my disordered relationship to food and exercise whilst travelling the world led me to the revelation of the non-negotiable need for self love. This has allowed me to completely change my priorities from following the expected path to following the path that makes me happy. My endless pursuit of ‘perfection’ - be it in my body, my career, my relationships - was stopping me from even realising, let alone creating, my best life.
I grew up as the books and brains of the family, and was always praised for my academic achievement. I am a perfectionist and damn good one at that! I am fiercely dedicated, so I've always equated my self worth with top grades, or a career working up the corporate ladder, a mindset that was ruled by never being enough.
Yet where does one channel this energy when you’re on the road with nothing but a backpack, no work or study to excel at? I chose my body. So while hiking those glaciers in Argentina, walking the Inca Trail in Peru, and camping down the West Coast of the USA, I was living off cereal bars and packing hand weights everywhere I went.
On my return home, a doctors’ warning and the concern of my mom, fiance and friends, started me on a path on health and wellness. Though I'll be honest, my initial start was half-assed. I wasn't committed. I buried the problem by diving straight back into the world of digital marketing, a career which I already knew no longer served me. But the fear of quitting kept me in a loop of freelance media work and simultaneously studying fitness (at 300% of course!) which left little energy to find the missing piece of the puzzle = love.
I've come to realise just how important love and kindness is in everything we do, and without it we suffocate our ability to be courageous and go after what we want.
Courage can be intensely frightening but equally liberating.
In 2015 I was suddenly offered an opportunity to relocate with my husband to Denmark (yes, through all my body bashing that fiance who traversed the world with me, stuck by me through the much more difficult terrain of my self discovery!!). I took this as an opportunity to take back all that mental energy and throw it into a self development journey supported by a therapist, books, podcasts, retreats and meditation. And I found the key. The way out of being a complete control freak. The way to look at myself in the mirror and say "dayum girl!" for all the RIGHT reasons. The way to make a piece of cake literally a piece of cake, not an evil slice of sticky sabotage that defined my self worth. The way to be proud of my own awesomeness.
Self Belief. Just the way you are. The realisation that you are worthy, loved and fricken' awesome just the way you are, without proving anything.
I'm now enjoying what I love to call a ‘bento-box’ career. I wear many hats as a fitness instructor, copywriter, life coach and writer. Yes it comes with uncertainty, less security, less financial independence, and often an intense crisis of ego! But I am still fiercely focused, this time on my mission to help change our culture into one that values, accepts and encourages self development without being hippy woo-woo. This is something even the most kick-ass superwoman can practice without compromising the strength of her personality.
As a fitness instructor I am part of an industry that I know sets impossible standards and thrives on competition and comparison. But I love it and I feel it’s my duty to help bring fitness back to an act of self power rather than self perfection. Our bodies are the only ones we’ve got and they are remarkable. Our mind and bodies are linked like superglue. No matter how much you try you can't split the two apart. So here I am - to guide and support you to believe in yourself unconditionally, and to love and respect yourself so hard you shout it from the rooftops!
Only then will you release your spark, from the top of the world to the end of the world, and everywhere in between.