Like many journeys of personal development, mine has come full circle
An extended path of unlearning and relearning what once came very easy
Here's how I came to the work I do today...
Recently, I found a note in my grandmother’s loft that I had written to my parents as a 12 year old:
“Please stop putting sweets in my lunchbox, I don’t think they give me the nutritional value my body needs."
This really made me smile. It reminded me that despite many ups and downs, nutrition and wellbeing has always been a passion of mine.
Growing up in Austria with an active, outdoor lifestyle, and with parents who were generally tuned-in to healthy eating, I was privileged to have experienced a strong connection with my body from the very beginning.
You may assume that becoming a Health Coach can be credited to this time. In a lot of ways yes, but ironically not quite. The years of school exams and career preparation drew out the perfectionist within me, which meant academic and professional achievement became my only real measure of personal success.
My career was my anchor – the thing that got me motivated, got me inspired to make an impact. The thing that made me feel like ‘me’.
This achievement-based mindset took me far and helped me to realize my teenage dreams of leading an international life. For over 15 years I’ve been working in senior communications roles that I’ve truly loved. Ones that have allowed me to work with many incredible people and to live and work in amazing cities such as London, Bangkok, Brussels, Vienna, and now my beloved Zurich.
Here’s the only problem: when we’re solely focused on a thriving career we often lose sight of other things that matter… most commonly our health.
After living too long in a fast-paced space of mind over matter,
I became physically exhausted
I was diagnosed with gastritis, leaky-gut syndrome and several food intolerances, which saw my energy and health decline to a state that really brought me down. At first, I got angry. Then frustrated. Then completely deflated. ‘Pushing through’ was no longer an option. This was a giant wake-up call.
Unsurprisingly, I came at this as a problem to be solved; bringing my deeply ambitious mindset to winning against myself.
“Ok, fine!” I thought. “I accept that my body needs my attention. I’ll surrender… BUT not only am I going to get better, I am going to become super well. I will become the healthiest version of me that I can possibly be.”
I studied to become a certified Nutrition Trainer back home in Vienna. I proudly implemented everything I learned which allowed me to change my life around while remaining in a career I loved.
No, this isn’t the end of the story. Balance was a lesson that still needed to be absorbed.
Life became a rigid practice of health-based regimes, from one extreme to the other; becoming way too strict – and probably a little obsessed with clean eating. This meant I rarely felt the glow and joy that I knew ‘healthy’ was supposed to be.
Did I get back my physical health? Absolutely. It was this healing journey through food that totally transformed my life. The learnings from that time make up the core elements of my coaching practice today.
There are times when we do need short-term imbalance to achieve long-term harmony in our general health and happiness. However, knowing when to come back to centre is extremely important.
This is something I hadn’t yet learned.
I reached out to one of my nutritionist teachers for help. After hearing my frustrations, she lovingly smiled and gave me a baffling answer:
“Sometimes you have to forget everything you’ve learned and let your body lead the way. It always knows how to heal itself.”
Her message left me shocked and a little outraged. Why did I invest in all that learning if the answer was simply to “go with the flow”? Despite my confusion I took her advice. I released some control and started to ask myself “What does my body need to heal?” Sometimes what I really needed was more carbs, or something sweet, to stick to my diet or to ditch it.
Here is where my life-changing path to intuitive eating really started to form. A practice that allowed me to balance my theoretical knowledge with intuitive guidance, i.e. listening and responding to the signs of my body.
The most fascinating insight was that the more I asked that powerful question “What do I need?” the more surprising and multifaceted the response was.
Answers that weren’t related to food started to arise....
“I need more time for myself" ... "I need to see more of my real friends, and be less of a social butterfly” ... “I need to cut back at work, prioritise better and be more productive” ... “I need to stop dating that guy”
Today I understand that intuition doesn’t have a lens. We can’t switch it on for one area of life, then shut it down in another. At the time, it felt kind of scary, but slowly I followed the guidance.
And guess what? I truly started to glow – physically and emotionally.
I started to feel happier, more fulfilled and infinitely more whole. I started losing my need to control, and actually started enjoying the unknown. I got more comfortable with setting boundaries, and it felt really good to uphold them.
I started bringing more of my personality and wider interests to everything I was doing. I stopped playing roles aimed solely at fulfilling other people’s expectations. I started to inspire and support friends and colleagues to do the same. This was revolutionary.
I spent most of my early adult years trying to figure out “How can I fit in? How can I be better for others? What do I need to do to get their approval?” In the course of this personal transformation journey I gradually flipped that question around. I began wondering which choice, opportunity, experience or relationship was the right one for me, i.e. whether it would fit in with what I needed and whether it allowed me to be my happiest, truest and healthiest self. If it didn’t… I let it go, in a gentle and friendly way.
It soon became apparent that building a strong, intuitive relationship with the food I ate didn’t just restore my health in the physical body. It was the key to unlocking something even more profound: a state of being and creating where I could nurture environments and relationships that made me feel whole, fulfilled and more joyful.
This wider understanding of health and wellbeing led me to where everything finally clicked: the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) from which I graduated as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. The IIN training confirmed what I had slowly learned and embodied… that food and exercise aren’t the only ingredients to nurturing prime health.
To get the balance that most of us are searching for, we have to consider the role that our work, relationships and general lifestyle play. This is the balance that today I help my clients to achieve.
I passionately support people with a food-first approach; guiding them to build a deep, intuitive relationship with what they eat.
I believe that the relationship we have with our body is what everything else is mirrored on.
Once this foundation is truly in place, I support my clients to take this philosophy further: extending this life-changing approach into every aspect of their life.
It’s in this way that I can help you to rediscover your true needs, so you can create what you desire: holistic health, greater balance and a life that's full of joy… and maybe even some miracles.
Ready to make your health & wellness a top priority?
I offer a range of coaching, mentoring and consultation packages that will get you quickly moving towards the health and life you desire.