I wrote this blog, because so many women have been asking me if I can help them to change from someone who is eternally seeking to be "thin", trying every fad diet, wasting their lives looking for the next "skinny" fix, and are miserable in the meantime. They want to know how they can lose that mindset and get healthy and strong instead. I decided to write about my journey to health because I can relate to that place they are in, only too well.
I'm a TV host by trade but a fitness and health junkie by nature. My passion for all things healthy came after years of pushing myself to the limit whilst I was modelling. Being 'skinny' was the only thing I cared about. I confused skinny with healthy, and I wanted to look thin no matter what the consequences.
I wasted years planning how I would stay slim, every minute of every day thinking of my next meal. I tried every fad diet that ever existed, at one point I spent an entire year eating nothing but 3 so-called "slimming shakes" a day, which lacked any nutrition whatsoever. Needless to say all the while I was jeopardising my health and I was also jeopardising my happiness. I wasted so many years thinking I was FAT or at least not as thin or perfect as I wanted to be. I remember thinking "if only I could be skinny, life would be perfect". All those years I looked perfectly normal, but I was scared of letting go, scared of what would happen. I really lament those lost years. I wasted so much precious time worrying about my weight. All completely in vain.
I became interested in proper nutrition and exercise when preparing for a shoot when I was 35 (seven years ago) in LA. I wanted to prepare my body the good old fashioned way - with hard work, good nutrition and no airbrushing! I trained dam hard and ate well for the first time in a very long time. I discovered the "B" word. Balance. And these were the results..Toned and strong
I was shocked at how my body reacted to healthy eating and proper training! I had always assumed the less I ate, the better I would look, likewise the more i trained, the thinner I would become. Alas. The opposite was true.
I finally learned that in order to create the body you want, firstly you need fuel it properly! Fuel is the key to a healthy body and mind. Without it our metabolism suffers, as mine did. And we spiral into stressing out our adrenals, and ultimately chronic fatigue and low moods. I know. I've been there. Secondly I learned that I needed to train with weights, and not to overdo it at the gym. Balance.
Now, at almost 42 years, I am so mindful of my precious time on this earth. I know that now that I would rather be healthy, which ultimately leads to being the correct body shape anyway, but irrespective of that - be HAPPY! Like most people, I am on a constant journey and I'm learning every day. I aim now to make my next 42 years on this earth full of love, laughter, health and happiness. A day at a time. I'm living my dreams every day and on a mission to 'make it happen' and hope to take some of you on this journey with me..
So where was I going wrong?
- I drank far too much alcohol (But the worst kind. Binge drinking. Nothing for a week, then too much at weekends) Alcohol stays with you all week. It manifests in a hazy brain fog that you don't even know is there, and when you think about it, we are constantly in this haze if we drink every weekend.
- I used to beat myself up and my body too, for never really feeling perfect. I look back at photos of myself over the years, and I varied from skinny to perfectly in shape, yet I can only ever remember feeling like I needed to do more, push harder. I pushed so hard that my adrenal glands eventually gave in, my serotonin levels were depleted (the happy hormone) and I had chronic fatigue. All the while I actually looked exactly how I wanted to, yet the obsession to be perfect never allowed me to see it. Sound familiar?!
- I drank way too much caffeine. Sleepy mornings fuelled by caffeine, the spike and crash cycle began. I ended up exhausting my adrenal glands, and never really having any natural energy. (see my video on caffeine and its affects here
- I thought that low-fat, fat-free, diet foods and drinks were the way forward. In time I learned that the absolute opposite is true.
- I ate a lot of processed meats. In fact I ate far too much meat, and now know that excess meats cause acidic environment in the body for disease to thrive - moderation is key.
- I ate a lot of canned foods, which i now know are toxic and also drank lots of water from plastic bottles, which contain BPAs. Be careful of these. BPAs are toxins that can cause disease and affect fertility.
- I stressed my life away. Work, life, being thin. You name it, I stressed about it. All the while spiking cortisol levels.
- I over exercised. It was exhausting on my mind body and soul. My mental health was in jeopardy. If you don't take care of your head, nothing else will fall into place. No questions asked. You have to have a healthy mind before you have a healthy body.
How did I change?
- I gave myself a break first and foremost!
- I have learned that my body is a wondrous object that will fall into place if I allow it. A tough journey but one that is worth it.
- I don't self flagellate any more about a few extra pounds. Who notices anyway?! And if they do then they aren't focusing on the right things! Sure, it may be a little bit harder for me as I am in the public eye, and I feel a certain pressure to be a role model. But what kind of role model would I be if I was constantly unhappy?
- I don't believe in diets any more. No healthy lifestyle should include the word "diet". You should adhere to a longterm lifestyle plan. Diets suck. They are short term and won't last, leaving you back where you began. Only more stressed, depressed and most likely gaining weight, all the while messing with your head, raising cortisol levels and not going out for dinner Incase you gain weight. We'll be a long time dead!
- I don't eat processed foods if I can avoid them.
- I drink very rarely.
- I don't eat sugar / sugary foods, or white refined carbs. See my video on carbs here
- The foods I eat now are primarily whole foods. I try not to eat anything that has a long shelf life, or comes in a box/package. I get so frustrated with the label "organic" what is that anyway?! It's just clean natural FOOD! It's the stuff that is pre-packaged with labels that we should really naming and shaming "NON ORGANIC- PROCESSED RUBBISH"!
Some people think I'm crazy complaining about supermarket processed foods - as though that's the stuff that was meant to be eaten. As though supermarkets wouldn't sell us stuff that's bad for us. Let's get real here people. Supermarkets are solely there to make money! The owner probably lives off an organic grass fed super healthy diet with his profits!!
The bottom line is this... If you aren't TRULY happy with yourself, you cannot be happy with anyone or anything in your life. You have to please yourself first, and others later. This isn't selfish, it's the only way we can exist in a happy body and mind. We have become so accustomed to making those around us happy, wanting everyone to like us, that we have really neglected number one. Ourselves. So. Be good to yourself. Nourish your needs. Feed yourself well, take a break, travel alone, dance as though EVERYONE is watching. Care only what you feel and not what others think. Its a long road. I'm still on it, most of us are.
Above all, be healthy and be happy. We only get one chance at this life. It's not a rehearsal, go and live every second as though it's your last. There is no reason today can't be the best day of your life..
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