Now this is a story all about how my life got twist, turned upside down. I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there while I tell you how I came to be on your screen about to over-share.
I’m Victoria, a certified health coach, educator and speaker specialising in food freedom and body acceptance; mental health and eating disorder advocate; natural medicine student and chocolate fiend with big dreams to help women, like you, live the life they deserve and desire by healing their relationship with food and their bodies.
I have always known that I want to help people live happier, healthier lives but I would never have imagined that helping women ditch dieting and making peace food and their bodies would be how I would do it. Why? I was the QUEEN of diets, fads and detoxes. I was always doing sugar-free, gluten-free, meat-free, vegan, low-carb, high-protein diets - all in the name of health. Or so I thought or told myself. Despite being "so healthy" to the outside world, I was always berating myself for falling off the bandwagon, for going over my points for the day, not hitting my macros or for choosing cake over fruit. There's nothing healthy about that.
Then there's exercise...I was that girl obsessed with the new gym craze. I would train twice a day. I masked it as 'stress relief' and ‘health’ but in hindsight I was doing it to make up for what I’d eaten that day or to change in my body in order to be happier, healthier and more desirable. I had never experienced freedom around food and couldn’t remember the last time I’d been happy with my body, if ever.
So what brings me here?
So ridiculously passionate about helping women find freedom around food and accept their body as it is?
Because for nearly 10 years I lived with an eating disorder that at times felt like it consumed my life. I had a great life with amazing friends and family, good relationships, a successful career in PR and had done lots of travel – I was generally a happy, confident and outgoing person. But behind closed doors I had spent far too many hours feeling guilt, confusion, shame and sadness about the food I was eating, the number I saw on the scale and my reflection in the mirror. I didn't share this part of me with my loved ones or friends because a) I didn’t want to worry people with what felt like a superficial problem, b) I didn’t want people to think I was so obsessed with my appearance that I’d developed an eating disorder and c) I saw it as a massive personal failure and weakness.
Little did I know that my constant attempts to diet, my poor body image, my extreme perfectionism and the diet culture I was surrounded by were to blame for my eating disorder. This had nothing to do with vanity or weakness.
I realised that the problem was bigger than me and I needed professional help. In a moment of desperation, I was willing to do ANYTHING to stop feeling like I was in a jail cell confined by constant rules, restrictions, guilt and frustration. In that moment, my want to be happy and free was more than my want to be a certain number on the scale.
And so I started intensive therapy - the hardest, most confronting and transformative experience of my life. I had to unpeel all of the layers of my self-worth, body image, thought patterns around food and behaviours that had been ingrained since childhood, to rewire my brain and rewrite my story. In my first session, my psychologist said, "In order to recover from this, you cannot attempt to lose weight at all during this process." I burst into tears. I’d been trying to lose weight for nearly half of my life. It was all I knew and it was my safety blanket.
What was the alternative?
Well into recovery, I can tell you that the alternative is so f*cking liberating I want to shout it from the roof tops.
It is no longer having any rules or restrictions around food. It is honoring my body and eating what I truly want – sometimes it’s a salad, sometimes it’s cake. It’s no longer feeling guilty about what I eat or having a rest day. Finding forms of movement that make me feel good and come from a place of self-kindness rather than punishment. Looking in the mirror and not picking apart my imperfections. Having so much more mental space and energy now that I’m not consumed with my weight, exercise and food. It’s freedom, happiness and acceptance.
For the first time in my life, I have no desire to change anything about my body. Yes, I could be more toned, have a flatter stomach and smaller thighs but I know that I am so much more than my body and that any changes in clothing size or body weight has no direct impact on my health or happiness.
I found a freedom around food and acceptance of my body that I'd never experienced before. There are highs and lows on the journey and at times it can be messy but it's worth it, and I can hand on heart say I will never go on another diet again.
I’m actually just happy being me, as is. And so now here I am, obsessed with helping women like you, be happy being you.
Eating chocolate for breakfast. Dance battles. Disney show tunes. Music festivals and live gigs. Dancing. Saving birthday cards. Herbal medicine. Health stores. 90s hip hop. Trashy reality TV. Personal development books (there are currently 7 half read books on my night table). Brunch. Googling best brunch spots in new cities. Eating dessert before dinner. Dance movies. Rom Coms. Hot chocolates with pink marshmallows. Babies. Oprah. Vanilla smelling anything. Leaving unread notifications on my phone to annoy my friends. Yoga. Long walks on the beach. New York. Naps. RuPaul’s Drag Race.
People with no manners. The cold. Traffic. Noisy eating. Sci-Fi movies. Heavy metal. My alarm tone. How much time I spend on social media. Numbers. Hot chocolates with no marshmallows. The end of holidays. Peas. Judgmental people.