that all bodies are inherently valuable and worthy no matter their size, shape, colour or ability.
that health and wellness are not a “look” or a particular lifestyle.
that health and wellness are available without having to follow a diet or exercise plan, or be a certain weight.
that having a peaceful relationship with our bodies, no matter how they look or act, is possible - and available to everyone.
Truth be told, I didn’t always believe this.
Growing up I was in an average-sized body. Not fat or thin, just average. I learned from a young age through living in this culture (and in particular being female), that appearance was important - like really important. I learned there were “better” ways of looking, and those “better” ways included being in a thin (and never aging!) body.
I learned this in subtle ways from family members who were always on diets and wanting to lose weight. Who would openly admire and appreciate those whose bodies were thin and “beautiful”.
I learned this from friends and acquaintances who complimented people that lost weight, but were silent with those who gained weight (or worse, would make negative comments about them behind their backs).
And I learned this from a culture whose television and movie narratives always had thin and beautiful people as the “winners” - successful in life and love, and portrayed fat people as miserable, unhealthy, and the butt of others jokes.
So I did what I thought I needed to do to be “successful” and healthy - I pursued weight loss.
And - it worked! I became thin and “fit” and received many compliments. People admired me. I got attention from guys who before didn’t give me the time of day. I felt like I had finally “won”.
I still felt insecure.
I had a deep fear of gaining weight.
I got frequent colds (and literally felt cold).
I was afraid of certain foods and eating “bad”.
I couldn’t truly enjoy a meal (as I was mentally counting calories).
I compared myself to others who were thinner than me.
I would obsess over the number on the scale.
I was very stressed out (but didn’t know it, because isn’t it normal to worry about these things?)
At this point, I realized that the story that thinness and beauty would bring happiness was a lie.
I don’t believe it was a coincidence that it was around this time that I was deepening my own spiritual exploration.
I was a yoga teacher, had developed a daily meditation practice, and had twice attended Byron Katie’s School for The Work (a method of self-inquiry), and was regularly practicing and facilitating The Work with others. I had also become certified as an Integrative Life Coach through The Ford Institute.
Instead living my life by a set of external ideas of how I “should” be, what I “should” look like, how I “should” eat, I started listening more to my heart and body, and learning to more fully trust myself.
Then everything started to change.
I became an advocate of the Health at Every SizeⓇ paradigm and started practicing Intuitive Eating. I tossed out my scale and all diet and exercise plans and starting eating and moving based on how it felt to me.
Was the journey easy? No. I’d be lying if I said it was. Stopping the pursuit of thinness goes against the grain in our current culture. Facing the fear of weight gain and losing external appreciation is scary. This is brave work. But it can be done – and we don’t have to do it alone. With the help of a coach and putting in place support systems, I was able to make great strides in finding balance in my life, and accepting my body.
So yes - I gained all the weight back. I’m now living life back in my average-sized body. And while it’s true that I don’t receive as many compliments as when I was thin, what people do tell me is they notice my happiness. But even their appreciation isn’t as important anymore, because that desire for appreciation from others is slowly being replaced by something else - appreciation from myself.
As a Life Coach, I now focus on working with others on accepting and trusting their bodies.
I work one-on-one with...
those who are ready to stop hating and judging their body.
those who are ready to end the constant pursuit of weight loss.
those who want to find balance in their eating and exercise.
those who want a life of health and wellness that works for them.
and those who want to live a free and joyful life on their own terms, in the body that they have.
I am honoured to have coached and witnessed the growth of clients who have shifted their lives from one of body insecurity and dissatisfaction, to one of more freedom, happiness and trust. You can read my client’s stories here.
In addition to coaching, I present to groups on the subjects of body acceptance and the Health at Every SizeⓇ framework as a pathway to health and wellness.
A little bit more about me...
I am passionate about creating a kinder world where people have agency over their bodies, and where size-diversity and inclusion is the norm. A world where we honour and respect each other’s differences, while realizing that we are more the same than we are different. I am constantly learning and growing. I value honesty, integrity, and authenticity and strive to live these values in my coaching and in my daily life.
I am so grateful for the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, and Michael Singer, which have been instrumental in my own body acceptance journey, and continue to light my path of self-realization.
My professional training includes:
Degree in Health Studies and Sociology from McMaster University
Certified Integrative Life Coach, trained by The Ford Institute
Certified Yoga Instructor
Experienced facilitator of The Work of Byron Katie
Currently in-training to become a Certified Body TrustⓇ Provider