It was 2017: I was recently single, facing up to my post-traumatic stress disorder from sexual assault, was two and a half stone heavier than I knew was healthy for my body and had no idea where I was going career wise.
It was crushing. It was terrifying. It was overwhelming.
Where on earth do I go from here? Can I ever truly feel happy or confident again?
These questions swirled around my mind like a hurricane.
There was just too much going on, too much that I had to try and sort through, too big a mess for me to see clearly.
I sat down and talked it through with my family. How could I move forward the way I wanted?
First of all, what were my aims?
I wanted to deal properly with the past trauma and move forward stronger, happier and more openly. I wanted to lose the two and a half stone of self hate that had accumulated over the past eight or so years since the assault and get back to my happy, healthy weight I was when I was 19, just before it had happened. I wanted to heal my broken heart and finally find my true life partner whom I really deserved. I wanted to do something I loved in my career. I wanted to know if I could ever truly love myself.
All a lot to try and do. Still massively overwhelming.
So where to start?
The career stuff I parked. I wasn’t ready to see where I wanted to go or how I could get there, yet.
I couldn’t see myself trying to date anyone anytime soon, so that I put to one side for now. I needed to focus on healing myself before I could even think of being with anyone else.
I started Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to finally face my trauma of the past and tackle the mounting self hate I had for myself.
I focused on my nutrition and exercise. I set myself two goals that I had to stick to every day no matter what:
First things first, value myself through eating and nutrition. This had been one of my biggest areas that I had struggled with. I had been punishing myself through food since the assault without consciously realising it. All because I hated my body for what had happened to me. This had to change. Now the focus was keeping track of what I ate to relearn balance, making sure I stopped the harmful binge eating habits of self hate. This was no diet. This was no short term, quick fix. This was a life long change. This was going to be a slow, sustainable process. Moderation and self love please!
Secondly, I challenged myself to do 10 to 20 minutes exercise a day that I enjoyed. This may not sound like much of a challenge to some but at the time this was, as it meant I had to carve out a little time each day just for me and actually do focused exercise, which I wasn’t too keen on.
I had always wanted to be one of those people who loved exercise and found it just so rewarding. I wasn’t. I had dipped in and out of various online programmes over the years but never stuck to them for more than a week or two. This was my chance to try. I took it.
I started to do Suzanne Bowen Fitness barre online every morning. It was great for me as the programmes were pre-determined so I didn’t need to think about what to do each day, I just needed to follow what she did. I didn’t need any fancy gym equipment either, just me, the back of my sofa, some weights and a mat. All in the safety of my own home where no one could see me sweat or jiggle as I struggled along, shaking, trying to keep up.
I was doing my new plan: therapy, nutrition, exercise, repeat. Come rain or shine. Come dark days and better days. It was hard but I kept going. “Trust the process” my dad kept saying to me, especially on days when I felt like nothing was changing, nothing was improving or I was going two steps back.
Trust the process. Keep going. Trust the process. Keep going.
By the end of 2017, I had finished therapy, reworked my mindset, my confidence had soared, I had reached halfway in my body goal and decided to quit my job. I knew what I wanted to do with my life: I wanted to help build people up, like I had done for myself, I wanted to make people realise how awesome they already are and be filled with authentic confidence, as I finally had! I started my own coaching business which I never thought in a million years I would ever do. But clarity had come.
By sticking to the process and making it one I actually started to enjoy and dare I say love, clarity came.
By the end of 2018, I loved myself and was finally treating my body and mind right. I found my true career calling and was enjoying the massive challenges of having your own business. I achieved my healthy body goal and actually became the girl who loves exercise (spin class anyone?). I challenged myself and achieved more than I thought I could. I knew who I was, what I wanted, didn’t play games and fell in love with my true forever one.
Trust the process. Keep going. One day at a time. Trust the process. Enjoy the process.