But how did I become a nutrition and health expert, you wonder?
Well, it has been a long and transformational journey indeed! I was a child to a single mum with 2 jobs, so I could not spend much time with her. When she was at home, she was exhausted, overwhelmed and abusive. She spent hours sleeping on the couch, ordering me to be silent and not to wake her up. My life as a 6 year old consisted of walking on eggshells and escaping into books.
I became a typical overachiever so I could earn the approval of my mom, but that never happened, in fact, things have gotten worse every year. But it wasn’t all bad. My mum knew how to love me the best way she could. On good days, we would sit at the table and connect over a home cooked meal. We didn’t have much, so we relied on my granny’s garden and my mum’s creativity. And oh my, she was creative! The dishes she cooked were and still are, mouthwatering! And this is how food became that one thing that made me feel loved, made me feel connected and soothed my soul. Every time I would need the support or affection and be shut out, I turned to food which made me feel better instantly.
Eventually I became so obese that my PE teacher started being worried. Despite being aware of my state, I could not break the pattern which led to cycles of dieting and overeating and thinking about surgical procedures just to be able to reach a normal weight. My mental health suffered and I started losing friends, alienating everyone so they wouldn’t tell me I needed to lose weight. I even declined a state scholarship programme for university because one of the conditions was to join in their daily exercise and for that I would need to lose weight. My life was a real mess!
I remember one day, I was getting ready to go out and I tried to tie my shoe, but I couldn’t bend down, so I had to lift my leg up to reach the shoelaces. That’s when I realised I had to do something. As most people who decide to lose weight, I signed up to the gym and started on a low carb diet. I mean, everyone tells you to eat less and exercise more, right? This ended up in a burn out and consequently yet another binge. I felt like a complete failure! Luckily, I met a health coach who introduced me to the power of nutrition and after initial scepticism, I gained a whole different life over the next 12 months! I started being more confident in my own body, my health has improved and I started doing exercise for the first time ever and realised I actually really enjoy it. My energy levels went through the roof, I could focus better on my uni work, I managed a job, a leadership role at the uni and passed all my courses in time! I have gained a lot of confidence and started working on my mindset, which led me places I never knew I could go. Oh, and I lost 25kg (55lbs).
Over the next 10 years I completed a BSc, a MSc and a PhD in Biological sciences and became a mum to a beautiful girl.
My studies took me to Germany and then Scotland. I fell madly in love with a local handsome Scot, got pregnant and thought I was living my best life. However, as life often does, it sent me another lesson to learn – lesson about self love. Our relationship fell apart and I found myself heavily pregnant with no income, no family and no stability in a foreign country. I was scared and alone. I did not know what to do or how to go forward and fell into deep depression. I would not leave my bed for days, PhD was put on hold, I had distanced myself from the people I have known.. And I have returned to emotional eating.
I asked my mother for help but she couldn’t leave her responsibilities, so I found myself back in my childhood home, pregnant and single, full of shame. I stayed in the house as much as possible and would not meet people despite the fact I have not seen them for years. I felt like I had failed in life. I was 26 and have achieved nothing (according to myself).
The day I gave birth to my daughter, was the day something changed in me. And we often hear women say this. It’s a feeling that cannot be described. You become a mother. The protector of your own child. The lioness! After yet another conflict with my own mother, I took the baby and found shelter with my extended family. They gave me physical and mental space to heal and with their support, I managed to gather my courage and strength and come back to Scotland. It was just the two of us – my baby and me.
Despite all the hurdles in life, I was determined I was going to make my life better, make myself better, so I can become a stronger person – for her! I remembered what I have learned about nutrition and started implementing these simple daily habits into my life again. The 20kg I have gained during pregnancy have slowly but surely melted away. I started feeling more in control of my life. I started feeding my daughter the way I was feeding myself! The day she tasted her first broccoli and screamed with excitement, was my proudest moment!
But as you know, being a single mother in a foreign country isn’t the easiest thing as it is, let alone working part time and finishing your PhD full time. I longed for something to help me feel better mentally and physically but I could not do much without childcare. Whatever I tried doing, I was rudely interrupted by the baby, an important email or some chore that had to be done. I was drowning in responsibilities and lack of time. I caught myself losing my spark. Then it dawned on me – why don’t I gather a bunch of women in a similar situation, and get us all moving and talking about our situation and how can we make it better. Little did I know this was the start of my entrepreneurial journey.
Despite moving across three different countries, leading a busy life of a cancer researcher, a mum, a partner, an entrepreneur, I am now in the best shape of my life and am maintaining it with ease. I now understand the connection between nutrients, body function and mental health on a deeper, molecular level. My mission now is to help stressed, overwhelmed and tired mum entrepreneurs lose weight, gain energy and find their sexy again, so they can spend more time effortlessly playing with their children (or dogs), feel at peace with their body and pass the gift of health onto their families.
I do that by using my scientific knowledge to accurately decode nutritional studies and apply tested and proven methods in my coaching. I use a blend of personalised, balanced nutrition, mindset coaching and personalised exercise plans to cater for a busy and stressful life us mums live! I want our children to grow up with fully functional mothers – mothers that are present in mind and body and mothers who have enough energy to care, play and love their children. Because remember, we are all in this together!