On June 25th, 2008, I made a decision that changed the course of my life forever. I went on my first ever “diet.” Little did I know, that within 3 months, I would be half of the body weight I was when I started (from 65kg to 37kg), unable
to concentrate in university exams, and unable to do anything but be preoccupied with food.
Despite the fact that I had 100% insight into my anorexia, I had no help, no understanding, no
brain power and know no how on who to get help from or how to get out of it.
I was embarassed of my situation, but at that same time, I didn't know who or how to ask for help.
On my 18th birthday, I sat by my register at my workplace and wept for over an hour, because I didn’t
think id be able to make it to 19.
It took me collapsing on my bedroom floor to call a support line for help.
I didn’t want to go to hospital, and I didn’t want to avoid social events, I didn’t want to hurt my family,
I didn’t want to miss my best friends birthday and I really, really didn’t want to die.
Within 2 months from collapsing on the floor – what appeared to everyone on the outside, was that I was happy and lively again, and no longer anorexic. Correct. I am one of few that is fully recovered, without treatment. Happy is, and was an understatement - everyday I wake up with the thought process that I am lucky to have had a second chance at life. Why? because 20% of people with Eating Disorders die, 9% of Anorexics die because of medical complications, Anorexia has the highest death rate of any psychiatric illness and 1 in 5 of those deaths is suicide. But the repercussions from not receiving correct/any help, not having a better understanding of self awareness, nor the understanding on how to stop the negative way of thinking about myself, meant that for the next 7 years, I battled a variety of other eating disorders behind a closed curtain. Yo-yo dieting, healthy in the week, drunk and uncontrollable on the weekend, detoxes, only clean eating – anything you can think of, I did it. I went from exercise bulimic, to having binge drinking issues, to having food induced depression, back to resorting to alcohol to control body dysmorphic thoughts, to extreme anxiety, to orthorexia, to depression and throughout it, there would always, always, be waves of binge eating disorder - which would socially, physically and emotionally, debilitate me.
On going complications
With the pressures of the fitness industry, the on-going unaddressed body dysmorphia, the up and coming models on the cover of magazines – I wasn’t sure how to handle it all. In 2015, after coming to terms with a serious bout of depression and relapse to binge eating, I needed to educate myself on getting out of my thought patterns for good, to find and out source help, to gain a real support network, and learn about techniques to improve what I call the five factors of health (nutrition, training, recovery, sleep and self awareness). At this point, I found powerlifting - a sport unlike gymnastics, unlike running and unlike bodybuilding. It was a sport that emphasized strength and skill, rather than body composition, or being lean and light and most importantly, a sport with no pressure or focus on appearance.
I have been an Occupational Therapist and Coach for 6 years in different places and different cities. It is 10 years since my Anorexia, and there are still significant health issues that I am left with from the decision I made in 2008. Pre-diagnosed osteoporosis, low fertility count, relapses of depression, binge eating relapses, a lack of self confidence behind a camera, the want to still hide in large oversized clothing, and still, body dysmorphia – although I am a really happy person, the fact that I get called confident and intimidating all the time, baffles me – because I wish people knew how hard it was for me to get out of bed some days.
M, M & M
In the past 4 years, I learnt about Neuro Lingustic Programming. A way of thinking which has helped me change the way I think, to be able to snap out of bad habits when they do come back along, know when to call for support and learn how to stay positive and keep chasing my dreams. The fact is, with NLP, I’ve self-learnt it all. Because quite frankly, all it is, is learning and implementing ways to change your routines, your habits and learning to interrupt old thought patterns to create new habits, and a different way of thinking. It's taken effort, hard work, and daily commitment to improve myself, whilst continuing to educate myself about how I can help and improve myself, and others. These techniques have taught me to maintain control (or better control) in life challenges, to stay positive, to get out of minor relapses quickly and to always keep pursuing my dreams. My company, FitSnax, started from a small idea in my parents kitchen in the city of Perth. At 24, my idea came to life, and within 6 months, I went to being a wholesale business with employees and 20 stockists - without any financial outsourcing. The grind, the dedication and the passion it took to make the work (needless to say the 3 other jobs I was doing to try support it) took nothing but mindset and mind power. The techniques I have used to be able to achieve my goals over the past 10 years, including being able to reduce negative thought patterns, breaking bad habits quickly, learning to not be on a constant diet, learning to feed the body for fuel and even to living in New York City before the age of 30, is what I educate and work with people on in my Mindset series.
It's kind of funny, that I am writing my story as I stare directly at the Empire State building.
For the past 6 months, I have been re-vamping my online services. The reason being, a lot of people out there are still being sucked into the world of social media – the detoxes, the teas, the low calorie diets. My goal is to educate, and to help create a sustainable lifestyle for people, by improving the five factors of health – these are Nutrition (macros), Training, Recovery, Sleep (muscles) and Self Awareness (mindset).
My services aren’t just how to count macros, but also how to create sustainability in your life. How to rid bad habits, how to think like a champion, how to implement changes in your day to day life to benefit you and those around you. Unsustainable diets and fads cause guilt, restriction, poor training, poor sleep and do nothing but affect how you think, and what you think about yourself.
There is so much more to life than being obsessed with food.