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...
Unexpectedly, I found a note in my grandmother’s loft that I had written to my parents as a child:
“Please stop putting sweets in my lunchbox, I don’t think they give me the nutritional value my body needs."
I know what you’re thinking… what a strange child! It really made me laugh, but it also highlighted that my natural desire to do and ‘be’ better developed when I really young.
Growing up in Austria with an active, outdoor lifestyle, I was lucky to have been initiated into the joys and lessons that nature always brings. This gave me a solid connection and presence with my body and surroundings.
However, the years of school exams and career preparation drew out the perfectionist in me, which meant academic and professional achievement became my only measure of 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 17 years I’ve been working in 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 to myself. I was forced to accept that my health and wellbeing my attention. I surrendered… BUT I’d also had an agenda: to not only get better, but to become the healthiest ‘me’ I could possibly be.
I studied to become a certified Nutrition Trainer and proudly implemented everything I learned. However, balance was a lesson that still needed to be learnt.
Life became a rigid practice of health-based regimes. I became way too strict with what I put in my body. Did I get back my physical health? Absolutely! But I rarely saw the glow or felt the joy that I thought this ‘healthy’ state would offer.
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."
Despite my confusion I took her advice. I released some control and started to ask myself “What does my body need to heal?” Sometimes sticking to by diet was the right thing to do, on other day ditching it was exactly what I needed.
The most fascinating insight was that the more I asked this powerful question “What do I need?” the more surprising and multifaceted the responses were.
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 an agenda. We can’t switch it on for one area of life, then shut it down in another. It felt unfamiliar to be guided in this way, but slowly I gave myself the permission to trust the insights that were surfacing.
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 to me.
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 I gradually flipped that question around. I began wondering which choice, opportunity, experience or relationship was the right one for me.
It soon became apparent that understanding my relationship with food 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 a state of 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 an intuitive and nurturing relationship with themselves.
Once this foundation is falling into place, I guide my clients to extend this approach to other aspects of their life, enabling them to draw in experiences and relationships that make them feel amazing.
Sounds like something you’re craving for yourself? Stick around and explore…