detaching my worth from my body changed my life -
and it can change yours too.
I've got to tell you the truth - even though I'm a coach, I haven't got it all figured out. I've made heaps of progress in my healing journey over the years, but I'm still doing the work. The thing is, it's pretty hard not to be affected by the messages of the world we live in. Diet culture and patriarchy are still at large, which means that I've had to be mentally resilient everyday to protect the healthier self-image I've developed over the years.
Let me take you back to how it all started. I remember, when I entered my pre-teens, I started becoming self-conscious of my body. I was a larger-bodied little girl and I started waking up to this fact. I didn't feel comfortable wearing shorts and I felt so uncomfortable wearing a swimming costume. It's pretty sad when I think about it because I was literally only 11 years old. Unfortunately, my story isn't unique - there are so many other little girls in the world living through these issues.
A few years later, in high school, I went on my first starvation diet and over-exercising stint. It was me and a group of other girls. We would get up at 5am before school to go running on the astroturf. During the day, I would hardly eat. I remember one day, at dinner in the boarding house, my friend called me out for only eating a couple of cubes of butternut for dinner. I even turned pescatarian because I was convinced chicken was making me gain weight.
The turning point for me was after returning from a trip to India in my first year of university. I ate so much on that trip that I gained a substantial amount of weight. Looking back, I now have the wisdom to know that I was eating emotionally. I consistently ate beyond the point of comfortable fullness, and each time I did it I couldn't understand why I was doing it. I didn't have the knowledge and the tools to decode the cause of my emotional eating. When I got back to South Africa, I felt so uncomfortable with my body and I decided that I HAD to make a change.
I bought a weight-loss exercise and meal-plan and got down to business. This was in 2017. I was pretty excited at first and I truly felt that I was taking back control of my life. In the first few months of my weight-loss journey, I felt so empowered. I was falling in love with nutrition, as I was educating myself about it online. I was falling back in love with my body as I started discovering how much it was actually capable of.
But this weight-loss honeymoon phase didn't last long. After a few months, I started noticing that I was hungry and tired all the time. I forced myself to do intense workouts even when I was exhausted. I was tired of not eating enough food. I was constantly thinking about my mid-week cheat snack and weekend cheat meal, and I was bingeing on the weekends. My self worth was at its lowest, I felt disgusted every time I looked in the mirror and I was holding onto the false belief that everything in my life would be fixed when my body looked like the 'after' photo bodies on Instagram. Not to mention I was totally depressed and anxious at the time. Yikes.
Things started changing for me when I decided that my mental health, joy and feeling good is more important than having the perfect body. I had fallen in love with health during my 1 year weight-loss stint. But I learned the hard way that fitness and clean eating obsession, or orthorexia, is not health. It's just a socially acceptable form of mental imprisonment and idolisation of sexual attractiveness. I wanted out. I pivoted from weight-loss to holistic self care. I still continued working out and prioritising my nutrition, but this time I focussed on partnering with my body instead of working against it. I listened to my body and took time to get to know it. I learned that mental health is equally, if not more important than physical health. Relationships, work, spirituality etc became a bigger part of my definition of wellness.
To top it off, I came across a book called 'Fat is a Feminist Issue', written by psychotherapist Susie Orbach. It was written in the 90s, but its message is still extremely relevant. This book was instrumental in helping me to change my life. It opened my eyes to the social factors that made me, and other women, buy into the weight-loss myth and start repairing my body image. At this point I started believing that I am not my body, and that my appearance does not define me.
How I started sharing this work was by realising that so many other women are caught in the trap that I was caught in. I had realised that advocating for my mental and physical wellbeing could give me the confidence to heal from inherited limiting mindsets about what's possible for women and to be bolder in pursuing the life that I want. I started writing my first personal development blog, which later became a holistic self care blog. Now I continue to share my message self-worth, peace with food and body on Instagram and with my private coaching clients. Since re-committing my life to God, God has also called me to be more vocal in talking about how coming to Him can help us return to the shameless-ness, perfection and grace in which He created us.
As long as patriarchy, weight stigma and diet culture prevail, the world will need more and more women sharing this work with their communities. Thank you for stopping by to read my story, please share my website with a sister in your community if you've been touched by what I've shared here.
Learn practical tips and tricks to end the war with your body, ditch dieting, break free from binge and emotional eating and find true peace with food.
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Daily affirmation and support to heal from body image issues, recover from disordered eating and re-claim your time, energy and holistic wellbeing.
I received my certification as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
Before specialising in wellness, I received a Post Graduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship and a Bachelor in Commerce Specialising in Economics and Finance, both from the University of Cape Town.
Introvert or extrovert?
Anything with 70% + cocoa
Yes, my 2 year old baby sister!
Interests (other than wellness)
Art, singing and entrepreneurship