With perfectly pedicured feet, all smooth like a baby and my favourite dark cherry red nail polish glistening away, ready for a summer of Havaiana flip flops and rubber strap suntan marks, I would look down to see how pretty they were.
Or so I thought.
The only thing I could see was this hugely inflamed belly and when at it’s worst, I could hold and rub it like I was pregnant! (And you can imagine the “dear in headlights” look on Rob’s face when he first saw it at it’s extreme! Or maybe it was scared confusion!) It was so ridiculously severe. And I was so damn miserable. With such extreme bloating, I was also exhausted, depressed and I was so disgusted at how I looked that self hate was like my best friend, who day by day sanded off just a little bit more self esteem.
And I struggled so much with my weight, never being able to shift those pounds, that bloated belly or those beloved muffin tops.
And I tried everything. I removed all sugar, carbs, gluten, dairy, alcohol, acidic foods – and all other things we love! I felt like the only thing I could have was cabbage soup. I would do the juice cleanse, the 3 day liver detox, the raw food only, the Paleo diet, smoothie cleanse, the 7 minute cleanse (if there was one!!), colonic irrigation’s and on top of that I would be exercising my ass off and doing squats like my life depended on it hoping that it might just be one giant fart that would make it all go away.
Unfortunately not. Not only did it not help, but the only thing it was doing, even if I saw a slight improvement, was masking what the real underlying problem was (which my wise body had been trying to politely point out to me for years!)
I had reached burn-out.
My nervous system and adrenals were in shatters. My immune system had packed her bags and hit the road a long time ago and left behind a backed up GI track with weight gain. I was anxious, irritable, an absolute stress case and so unbelievably exhausted. And I had been, for a long, long time. The years of punishing my body like this resulted in “chronic” stress, exhaustion and depression all wrapped up in a nice box called burn-out.
It was during the years when I was the successful corporate woman who wore Superwoman nickers and did it all. I worked all day and all night, always going that extra mile for my customers. I slept little and would wake up in the morning to go to the gym, sprinting my pants off on the treadmill as I only had 30minutes for exercise. I would eat at my desk. I travelled so much that myself and the flight attendants were on first name basis and my points were going through the roof! And while I thought that the high intensity exercise along with superfoods, raw foods, juice cleansing and paleo-ing would keep me healthy and energized for my oh-so-busy life, I was so bloody wrong. It was actually putting more stress on my body because I was not nurturing it with the nutrients it needed and I was just running it into the ground. And this “restriction” mindset when it came to food added more stress again. What was even harder was the fact that I am an emotional eater. So all of this physical and emotional stress, exhaustion, food restriction and detoxing at one point or another would send me straight to the Nutella jar, double dipping with the spoon like a mofo. Joy!
So I stopped. I stopped everything. I took 6 weeks off work (and looking back this was no way near enough time to recover what I had put my body, mind and soul through) and I got help from an amazing practitioner Tanya Lee who works at Heal’r to help me recover from the ground up. Because simply trying to sleep it off, exercising and eating the right foods was not going to get me back to a picture of health. Without the help of someone like Tanya to work on the fundamentals of what was wrong emotionally, physically and mentally, sleeping, exercising and eating well is only a short term bandaid – until I would burn myself out again.
I cannot thank Tanya enough for the support she gave to get me back to a picture of health and the support that she continues to give. During my recovery, Tanya was supported me with the following:
- Getting rest, sleep and slowing down
- Grounding myself so that I could reconnect to my inner self
- Stress coping mechanisms including meditation, mindset, breathing exercises and how to prevent stress
- How and why I emotionally eat and what my body and mind were trying to tell me.
- Learning how to eat properly and intuitively and nurture my body with wholefoods.
- Supporting my recovery with herbs, vitamins pro-biotics
- Exercises to help keep me moving and relieve my body of the stress, from walking, to basic yoga poses, to basic pilates exercises. It was important to NOT go running like a maniac to “release” the stress because the high exertion of exercise would have put my body under more stress with the condition it was in.
- Supported me with mindset challenges such as guilt in all aspects from food to work.
And some of the best advice during this time – simply do the things that you LOVE, the things that give you energy, the things that make you smile and your heart smile even more.
The change in my lifestyle, health and mindset was incredible. And although it took much longer than 6 weeks (a good year at least), it was well worth the journey. During my 6 weeks where I was actually off work, the stress started to dissipate, my energy started to boost again, the bloating was gone and the weight just started to balance out to my natural weight – with no crazy restrictions, no calorie counting, no detoxes or superfood only regimes. And there was no needing to gobble Salt N Vinegar chips to find inner connection….
And even though I still get problems time to time, when the stress starts to take a swing at a few trigger points of balance and bliss, I am so much more aware of it happening and know how to overcome it, with mindset, meditation, wellness, nutrition, yoga and sport
And for the first time in a long time I feel happy, connected, strong, living my life in a body I love, nourish and respect.
And I feel flipping amazing!