Have you ever hidden chocolate wrappers in the bottom of your bin so that no-one would find them because you are so disgusted at how much you have eaten? I know I have!
I’m Abby and I’m a health coach and Mum of one. I’m the founder of Vitality Health Coaching and I help busy Mums to lose weight without dieting or relying on willpower.
Today I am going to share with you a story about myself and how I used to eat chocolate every single day just to get me through the day…
People who have known me for a long time often chuckle when I tell them that I’m a health coach, as I spent 12 years working for a chocolate company and I LOVE chocolate. As you can imagine, working with chocolate every day was hard. I remember asking the lady who interviewed me for the job if it would put me off chocolate and she told me no, but I didn’t believe her – it had to! But I soon found out she was absolutely right.
Before I had children, I thought life was stressful – if only I’d known! I used to use chocolate as my crutch to help me deal with stress and give me energy – not realising that it was that which was causing these issues in the first place. I used to hide chocolate from work in my handbag so that I could eat it as I drove home, I’d find myself falling asleep whilst driving the car and wonder how I’d gotten home. All day I’d say to myself “I’ll be good tonight and go to the gym”, but I’d be so tired that I’d park up and take a nap in the car park instead… In the evenings I simply slumped on the sofa, watched TV and drank wine as I didn’t have the energy to do anything more productive.
Once I had my son I ate chocolate every day and wondered why I couldn’t shift my Mummy Tummy. I was tired, exhausted even, and found myself using chocolate to make myself feel better… Until about two minutes afterwards when the guilt would set in. Then I’d wake up the next day even more tired and bloated and was so miserable about how I looked and felt that I’d reach for more chocolate to make myself feel better.
I found myself always grumpy with my family because I wasn’t happy with myself. I would lie to my husband about what I’d eaten that day and would be too ashamed to tell him that whenever my son slept, despite having so much to do, I napped too. I became less and less productive and more ashamed of myself. Ten months later and I was still wearing my maternity clothes…
My wake-up moment came when I happened to read an article about the effects of the maternal diet on children and I realised how much damage I was doing to my son and what a poor role model I was. I knew there had to be a better way. So, I stopped eating my beloved chocolate.
I know what it’s like to juggle the demands of a job, home, family and if you’re lucky a social life (and not just your kids one!) But I am now able to control my eating, I have the energy to exercise, and I now go because I enjoy it not because I should. I make healthy meals for all my family and can get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes again.
But do you know what? I’m not perfect. I’m still a work-in-progress as is everybody you meet, despite what they might tell you! I’ve learnt what my triggers are; the ones that cause me to make unhealthy choices. I know how to get myself out of a rut that day, not think “sod it” and worry about it a week or two later. I’ve found a balance that’s right for my life, not everyone else’s.
If I have a few bad night’s sleep, (which we all know happens when we have young children), or I don’t look after myself properly and take some time to myself to relax, I find myself making poor choices. But to balance that I ALWAYS find time to exercise most days of the week, I plan, shop and cook nutritious meals for all my family and I have found out what foods work for me.
That keeps me in the clothes I want to wear, allows me to feel confident on the beach, reassures me that I am the best role model that I can be for my son and allows me to look in the mirror most days and not flinch at how I look. I realise now that you don’t have to be perfect with your eating all the time to achieve this. Sometimes doing your best really is doing enough.
Abby Booth (BSc Hons)
Health and Wellness Coach