Someone recently asked me why I love food and health and why I want to study nutrition. My answer was fairly simple; I love food and the power it holds. I can’t think of anything better than helping people improve their health and consequently their lives by assisting them to change the way they eat.
And coinciding with the commencement of my course, in the midst of another person's new beginning, I have been given a taste of what that could be like. Of what really helping someone to make positive change in their life could feel like. And I must say it’s pretty amazing!
You see, I have a very dear friend who has been battling with her weight and her food choices for many many years. I’ve been there to listen to, and support her but have been careful not to ever push my ideas or values onto her. People have to be ready to hear the message they need to hear and the desire for real change needs to come from within themselves- not be thrust upon them by someone else. And I can now tangibly see how true that is. It’s hard to explain it, but it seems that something has changed in my friend. A switch has been flicked and her mindset has shifted. She has reached out and asked for help. She seems to be seeing herself and food in a new light. Its early days and we’ve only taken baby steps so far but it’s really inspiring and I can’t wait to see where her journey takes her.
Have a read of what she had to say on the weekend and see for yourself the infectious enthusiasm she has for this new path she’s started along:
Day 2: Why now? What is different? Has the switch been flicked? Is this it?
I have been listening to my own broken record for nearly 25 years! As the more years pass, the more bored of this record I get, it is a depressing record, a record that I know my loved ones hate hearing…over and over again…but no more than I hate listening to it…“this is it”, “I will do it this time”, “I am in the zone”, “I will never be this weight again”, “I am serious”, “There is no going back now”, I WILL do it”, “I have hit rock bottom, so this is it…no more!”…I hear the words come out of my mouth and I cringe, deep down knowing that I am full of shit and will be back eating donuts and Macca’s next week…do I care? YES…but caring has never seemed to be enough…even when I was diagnosed with severe hypertension and told that I would DIE of a stroke or heart attack if I didn’t control my weight. WTF! Once again, as I lay in the hospital having test after test, in tears, while my 4 and 7 year old cherubs were home concerned about their Mummy…the broken record started again…”This is it”, “I will do it this time”…”I have to…for my kids..for my future”…
I am 41 years old, 104.5kgs, now medicated for high blood pressure and have a doctor telling me I CAN FIX IT!...lose weight, move more, de-stress and everything will be ok… easier said than done!
Today is Day 2 and this is 6 months after I was in hospital…
I am a convenient food, fast food, processed, quick and easy food junkie. As a family, we eat really well during the week. Good brekkies, healthy lunches and basic balanced dinners…I am super busy, this is not an excuse…but the extras on the weekends and my need to eat Maccas and treat myself with donuts, Zig Zags and Coca-Cola is ridiculous. I eat when I am sad, when I am happy, to celebrate, to reward, to be naughty…I love food…I have never made any excuses for being overweight, I am an educated woman…I eat too much of the wrong foods and don’t exercise enough. It’s not rocket science. This makes it all very frustrating as I know what I need to do, but I just don’t do it….or do I?
Over the last 20 odd years I have had glimpses of success. Before I got married, I joined a gym and worked hard for just over a year, lost 18kg and walked down the aisle at 83kg, still overweight but feeling a million bucks. I maintained that weight for 2 whole weeks, then gained 15kg in the following 3 months, fell pregnant and 2 children and 8 years later, I am back over 100kg and have maintained 95kg – 105kg this whole time. In that time, I have tried many ‘diets’ & ‘detoxes’…up and down like a bloody yo yo!
I have known Leah for nearly 8 years, my first ‘real’ friend in my new country home. We met at mothers group and instantly connected. Although opposites in so many areas (she has style and is slim…hahaha), we had lots in common and were on the same page with many life & parenting issues. She has listened to my broken record many times and always showed concern and support.
If Leah and I were out and there were donuts & nuts in front of us, I always marvelled that she would choose to pick the nuts, a choice that I never would pick. I would laugh and joke “This is why I am fat and you are not... hehehe”. Ouch.
I have followed Leah’s wellness journey from the beginning, watched her make some amazing changes to her life and turn her long term love of food and health into “Life’s Pantry”. I have listened to her remarkable stories as she researched and educated herself about food. I loved hearing how passionate she was, how committed she was…the more she learnt the more changes she implemented and I was often left thinking, I could never do that! I could never eat like that…
Leah has researched, educated and built a health blog called “Life’s Pantry”. I love it and support it and we have had many discussions about how she can help me. “Thanks so much Leah, but it’s just not for me…I fully support you, but I’ve got this…” I have always thought that…I don’t need help, I can do it on my own…deep down thinking, “I hate seeds and nuts, I hate all the foods she eats”... If I just eat less and move more…I don’t need help…oh god, there goes the broken record again. How depressing…
Leah is a huge fan of That Sugar Film, a film that I have heard all the rave reviews and listened to her share the information from it. Could all this really be true? Despite being a clever cookie, I grew up in a world of Weight Watches and diets that were filled with low fat processed foods. If it said Low Fat on the packet, then it had to be good for me…right? I foolishly believed the corporations selling these products as healthy. So, to discover that the many years of me cutting out fat, counting fat grams & calories and devouring low fat snacks and meals may not have been helping me at all was alarming.
Leah’s words are always with me…”If you need me, I can help, I want to help”. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for her to listen to my broken record, to see someone she cares about hurting, overweight and unwell.
Ok…I need help. I can’t do this on my own. How can she help? How can she help when I don’t like half the healthy food she eats…eeek…awkward!
I am completely honest and open with her and READY. Her support, her guidance, her knowledge, her BELIEF in me is motivating. We have had a few ‘sessions’, lunch and coffee dates that have been leading me to this point. One of the first things I needed to know (as a food lover) was…Can clean eating, wholefoods etc taste nice? Anything remotely like this I have tried has tasted like crap. Day 1 was yesterday. Lunch with my new “food coach”, a plate served up with so many foods that I would NEVER prepare myself. Salmon with roasted macadamias and pepitas, coleslaw with homemade mayo, salad, avocado and quinoa. Looked amazing on the plate and was DELICOUS!
I was shocked, excited and scared all the same time. She explained how easy it was to prepare and all my “I’m too busy” excuses flew out the window. We sat in the kitchen and discussed some simple changes I can start with. We drank coffee and had a date/nut slice that blew my socks off with FLAVOUR and sweetness. She will teach me about clean foods, wholefoods…foods that will result in me ‘fixing’ my blood pressure, losing 25kg (I know…daunting) and extending & improving my life…all through food…pretty powerful stuff! She will not push, she will not pressure. She will educate, she will inspire, and she will find a balance for me as she knows that I choose not to cut out all the crap. She will help me find foods that I will enjoy and that will nourish me. Enjoying this type of food is vital to my success and she believes we will find the balance.
I came home after our ‘session’ and finally watched the movie that everyone is talking about! Geez, how could I have been so naïve about food? Maybe it isn’t as easy as eat less and move more. It is however about the types of food I eat and this is what Leah will help me with. I do need help and she can help…I won’t need to count calories or fat grams, I will eat full fat again, I will significantly reduce my sugar intake, I will enjoy what I eat, I will feel and see the changes…she is positive and this is infectious..
My ‘journey’ has begun (man, I hate that word, but it is the one that best describes it). I have so many barriers…baby steps…I am confident that small changes will help…there is so much more I could write, but this is already a novel…so it’s time to sign off and wish myself LUCK, LOVE & HEALTH and HAPPINESS….
See what I mean? How great is that?! This is an amazing step in her life and I am so privileged to be helping her to take it.
We’ve kept in close contact these past few days and I am wrapt to report she is still well and truly on track, cooking and eating like I have never seen her do. It hasn't all been smooth sailing but she is committed and giving it her all. I can’t believe that with my course under my belt, I could do this on a daily basis; help people in this way every day. I know people who have made a career out of their life’s passion but never thought that could happen to me. Now I think it could and probably will!
So here’s to new beginnings – all of them, vast and various, that life has to offer!