I started training as a Nutritional Therapist in 2014 when I was 42. Before that, I led marketing teams, first in a financial services company and then in an IT services company. So why the career change?
Well, first you need to know that I haven’t always been interested in nutrition. I’ve always loved food, but not necessarily the right sort of food, or in the right amounts. As a result, by my mid-thirties, I ended up over seven stone (100 lbs) overweight and worried that I may be eating myself into an early grave.
Determined to take control of my health, I set about losing weight. I didn’t know the things I know now – about blood sugar control and about hormones such a ghrelin and leptin, that impact your appetite – but I soon discovered that most diets work, as long as you follow their rules.
With so much weight to lose, I found myself using one method until I got bored and then switching to another. It took a long time, almost 5 years, and along the way, I learned that the most important tool to ensure success was accountability. For example, for much of the time, I worked with a local Bath personal trainer – Zoe Jackson of PlanBe. Later, I joined Vibe Fitness and worked with the trainers there.
I also learned that there is no one ‘perfect diet’. What works for one person at a given time, may not work for another, or may not work the following year.
By the time I hit 40, I’d more or less reached my goal and I’d finally got the fitness bug. I could already run 5k – it took me almost a year to get from ‘couch to 5k’! – and whilst volunteering at the Bath Half, I resolved to run it myself the following year. Then a week later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This, as you can imagine, rocked my world. A month later I was in surgery and this was followed by a course of radiotherapy.
I was definitely worried that I might die, but I remember that my more immediate concern was that I would lose my running fitness – something that had taken over a year to achieve! Six weeks after surgery, I was back running and relieved to discover my fitness hadn’t suffered unduly. And I did run the Bath Half the following year, just as I had resolved to.
During my weight-loss and my cancer treatment, nutrition became a real passion and I soon realised that I wanted to help others improve their health through nutrition. So I decided to study for a Nutritional Therapy diploma with the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London. It’s been a long journey but I’m so excited to be here in Bath, helping people discover the healing power of nutritious food.