Unfortunately, my journey has not always been a path leading to health, fitness, and happiness. During my many years working eighty hour weeks as a management consultant to some of the world’s largest companies, I led a very unhealthy existence. My eating patterns ranged between uncontrollable binging and disciplined starving. I was over-stressed, under-rested, poorly nourished, and exercised almost never. My health suffered and I loathed the unhappy, chubby girl who was constantly sneering back at me in the mirror.
Today it never ceases to amuse me when people compliment me on my hard-earned physique , but invariably tell me how “lucky” I am because I have such “good genes.” I always smile and tell them the truth, that my genes are far from good, and that there is cancer, heart-disease and obesity in my family, as well as the cursed “thick-thigh” gene that I’ve been battling my entire life. The other big reveal? I was never exceptionally athletic until after I turned 40.
You see, contrary to what most people think when they meet me today, “thin” never came naturally or easily to me. My weight was the primary source of heartache for most of my life. Over time, my never ending yo-yo dieting and intermittent periods of starvation destroyed my metabolism, while the intense stress from my executive-level, 14 hour-per-day, non-stop job consumed my health, ravaged my figure, and crushed my state of mind. Food became my only source of emotional fulfillment, because time did not allow for anything or anyone else. It was both, my only source of pleasure, and simultaneously, my biggest cause of pain. I drank too much, secretly binged on terribly unhealthy food, and smoked a pack and a half a day. I actually believed that blackening my lungs would somehow help in regulating my appetite and lead to losing weight. It didn’t.
The situation only worsened and the cycle of secret eating and shame intensified. My insatiable and uncontrollable (or so I thought) emotional binges packed on the pounds… and the bigger I got, the more shame I felt… the more I became ashamed of my body, the less I wanted to socialize with friends or even leave my apartment. However, staying home alone led to additional gorging benders, so this vicious cycle continued... until I discovered purging, bringing a host of other problems upon myself, as well as even more shame and reclusive behavior.
My eating disorders and fervent self-loathing persisted throughout my 20s. I tried every fad diet and sporadically beat myself up in the gym, but, in the end, suffered terribly when the weight inevitably crept back on. I lost, I gained, and lost again only to return to my fat pants at the end of my diet-du-jour. What I didn't understand was that my biggest issues were lack of planning and consistency. My crazy, severely calorie-restrictive diets were temporary, as were my workouts, which always picked up for the summer months, only to fade away toward the end of August. I promised myself every day that I would change my life… tomorrow. Well, that tomorrow took a long time to come, and today, my biggest regret (and I don’t have many) is that I didn’t know then what I know now.
My journey to health and wellness began with the trifecta of my founding a health food company, my mother being diagnosed with colon cancer, and the birth of my daughter. As a general rule, when I become interested in something, the perpetual analyst in me becomes a relentless researcher. So I've read (and still read) countless scientific papers, articles and blogs on nutrition and fitness, and became increasingly fascinated by the human body, its functions, and
its optimal fuel. I became far more conscious of what my family and I were eating, started reading ingredient labels, and began buying mostly organic. I even started cooking to the surprise of everyone I knew, because I'd never been the type to spend much time in the kitchen, and much less actually enjoy it.
My transformation certainly didn't occur over night (of course, neither did my weight gain or health issues). Because it was a slow and gradual process, it gave me the opportunity to formulate healthy habits one by one, instead of shocking my system with many unsustainable lifestyle changes all at once. Today I have a new found passion for life. I am happy, self-assured, and resolutely positive 99% of the time. I am at the gym religiously 4-5 days each week (which is surprising given how much I used to loathe working out) and you’d be hard-pressed to find anything boxed or processed in my home. I drink whole milk, cook with grass-fed butter, and stay away from anything that says “non-fat" or "sugar-free." I also drink alcohol, enjoy eating out with my friends, and sometimes revel in foods that are not part of my standard meal plan… and yet, I feel healthier than I ever have before, my weight is stable, and for the first time in my life I am proud of the body I have earned.
The difference is that I have learned balance, and although wine and ice cream are still in my life, they are now the exception rather than the rule (whereas it was the opposite in the past). So if you're wondering what's the secret? There is none. It's simply about learning which foods to eat and how to achieve balance, and then like any other skill, practicing until you get really good. And that's exactly where I come in.
You see, the best parts of this journey are knowing that:
1. My daughter will not inherit the food issues with which I've struggled all my life. I am leading by example and giving her one of the biggest gifts by teaching her the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods, showing her the importance of reading ingredient labels and understanding what's in your food, as well as ensuring that a love of sports and fitness is ingrained in her.
2. It led me to a brand new career, a career of which I am proud and about which I am passionate for the first time in my life, because I get to help other people who are experiencing the same struggles as I once did, and guide them on their own path to health, weight loss, self-acceptance, and happiness.
I feel incredibly blessed and grateful to be able to assist in the transformation of and have such a positive impact on so many wonderful people’s lives. I truly hope that you will allow me to help you, too.