I was a young teenager when my family immigrated to Australia from South Africa. It was a very challenging experience for me, and it’s not something I talk much about.
After saying goodbye to my home and friends, I arrived feeling very insecure about myself, my new group of friends and my changing body. All of this happened just as puberty started.
I found comfort in the structure of dieting. I discovered fad diets – every fad diet.
They brought me a false sense of confidence and control.
From there, I basically didn’t stop dieting for years. It wasn’t until after I was out of school that I found respite from it. Until then, I was buried in self-loathing. My body became my own biggest burden, and food became the enemy.
I was weight conscious, not health conscious. In fact, my weight would make or break my day.
I was obsessed with numbers – numbers on the scale and calorie counting. I visited every dietician in Sydney, and the numbers on their scale determined my self-worth.
I was living off diet foods, not health foods. Black coffee and cans of tuna were my staples – and even then I couldn’t really control my weight.
I was exercising twice a day because I thought that’s what would give me the body of my dreams. But it left me fatigued and depressed.
I found comfort in partying and drinking alcohol. In short, I was a mess.
But then, after school, I decided to study health and nutrition. It was then that I went deep into how the body works. I began to discover the powerful impact of food on health. I learnt how important good fats are for the body – the importance of digestion, liver health, hormones. I started seeing health in a holistic light. To be continued…