At the turn on 2017 I wrote an article which outlined the body transformation I’d experienced during 2016. This was a fundamental year for me and one that I class as a breakthrough in terms of finally getting to grips with a battle with binge eating I’d fought since childhood. Throughout 2017, I worked hard on my mindset and was thrilled to write another article at the turn of 2018 sharing how I’d maintained my weight and become fitter and stronger as a result.
Now as 2019 dawns, once again I’m able to report that I’ve maintained my healthy lifestyle for another 12 months, something that I never take for granted and certainly something I must graft for. 2018 has been about so much more than diet and fitness, however. It’s been about breakthroughs on a whole new level. A year that has seen my whole life turned on it’s head and the emergence of ME, my true, authentic self.
At the start of the year I was undergoing treatment for PTSD and been officially diagnosed with historic eating disorders. Realising I had mental health conditions was both a relief and a curse. A relief because there was a reason for feeling what at the time felt topsy-turvy and a curse because it was coupled with a dreaded feeling of ‘what will people think?’. Mental health has such a stigma attached to it and working in professional services, this was a concern. One is expected to be so ‘together’ and at times I felt anything but.
I have come to accept that having period of times when my mental health suffers does not make me any less capable. In fact, I now see the diagnosis as a blessing, perhaps even an awakening as it’s been the key to the kind of step-change I could only have dreamed of.
I bravely took the decision to self-publish a book I had written the previous year. It had taken only a few short months to write ‘Enough’ and I was filled with trepidation about ‘outing’ it. It’s part memoir and part self-help and whilst I knew it would benefit so many women and men, there was part of me that was frightened to put it out there. Learning to self-publish was the first hurdle and one that was filled with learning. I am pleased I took on the challenge because Enough has become a best-seller, is up for a business book award and has led me to write for several newspapers and magazines as well as to produce a children’s book and a mindset journal for women with an amazing designer Kate O’Shaughnessy. Enough was published for audio and I recorded it myself, an experience that was more difficult than it sounds. None of these things were part of the plan at the start of the year!
So, what has this experience taught me? Firstly, that I can achieve anything I set my mind too. I set an intention to write a book and I saw it through to completion. It was more than goal setting, it was about facing fears. I worried incessantly about what people would think if I wrote a book. I feared hearing the ‘who does she think she is’ or seeing the looks of disapproval from those who didn’t agree. Whilst I have experienced some of this, mainly from faceless trolls online, it hasn’t been as bad as I thought. Facing fears seems to be so much more meaningful and serves to teach us a great deal more than staying small and playing safe with goals that don’t test our limits.
I have done anything but play it safe this year. I’ve put myself through swimming lessons at the age of 40, following a scary experience jumping from a high platform into freezing water during an obstacle race. After a lifetime unable to swim, terrified of water splashing on my face, this was not exactly a goal I relished but it was another opportunity to face my fears and grow.
I then faced the fear of the unknown. I decided to step out of the security of my full-time job. A role I’d worked for years to achieve. A very interesting moment led me to this decision. I’d always told myself that when I lost weight, I’d be truly happy. I’d lost the weight and was wearing a size ten and yet was not feeling the rush of happiness I’d expected. I felt confident of course, but not what I would call happy. I’d learned that happiness is a choice and whilst I knew I could wake up and choose happy, I also knew I had to assess all aspects of my life to ensure they were contributing to that choice. The epiphany moment came when I evaluated who I was being, and this led to the realisation that at work, I wasn’t being truly ME. I also didn’t feel passionate about the work I was doing. I knew I needed to make a change and so I decided to move into a role where I could be authentically ME and in doing so, help others. I left my job and set up my own business as a Mindset Mentor, coach and speaker. All incredibly scary and yet the most rewarding thing I have done to date. Seeing the impact my work has is all the recognition I need. I now have a job that doesn’t feel like working and whilst I put in the hours and work hard, it always feels like a joy. It’s like life has become lit by a rainbow.
The momentum of this change led me to face my ultimate fear, the fear of failure. I’d stopped using kettlebells in 2017 after a few months of training with a coach. He’d said I could be good at it but because I was so afraid failing, I stopped using them altogether and played it safe with weight training on my own. This year I decided to go for it and in May started training for a Kettlebell Pentathlon. I picked up Silver in the British Open and this drive me to enter the Kettlebell Half Marathon at the British Championships. I won gold and set a new UK record with 383 reps in 30 minutes with a 16kg kettlebell. I had no doubt in my mind that I was going to get a medal at the championships. The laser focus was incredible. Failure was not an option. I didn’t allow it to get a look in and it won’t feature in February when I compete for a place on the England Team.
As my body and mind have transformed, I’ve retired the actress and accepted I’m enough. Coming from this baseline, I can happily improve and flourish.
I’ve discovered that overcoming fear is more powerful than simply setting goals. I’m completely out of my comfort zone, learning as I go, feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
It’s easy to lose momentum and motivation when results aren’t immediate, or everything feels hard. Whilst I can’t see the top of the mountain and appreciate the view, I keep putting one foot in the front of the other, no matter how scary the journey becomes. I am learning, I am growing and whilst my body is smaller, I am playing bigger. Bigger than ever.
Happy New Year all.
If you would like some help in 2019 check out my coaching offer or Mindset Gym via my website