I often describe myself as a student of life. I’ve researched my way through the years trying to understand my own personal challenges since my early 20’s so as you begin to walk this path with me, don’t be surprised if there are some parallels with your own experiences along the way.
We all have our challenges but it’s a complicated business sorting things out, where to find the information, what the choices are and who to trust along the way. I needed to work out which areas of my life to focus on more closely, to bring back balance. I want to live to 100 and beyond as a healthy, mentally vital, financially secure individual with interests and the love of family and friends and not least doing it all laughing and defying the ravages of time. Too much to ask? I don’t think so but let’s just say, I still consider I am ‘work in progress’.
It seems to me that many of us share the same vision, so it’s here that I have chosen to condense all the information I’ve acquired over the years into the key areas I’ve been researching which I call the 7 Secrets. Hopefully they’ll provide you too with a framework to build your own repertoire of secrets, to understand your own health and well-being more fully and to learn what help is out there for all of us along the way.
To add a little perspective, let me tell you my own story…
In my teens, I had tasted the first flavours of Indian cuisine (or so I thought) when the Vesta curry arrived on our supermarket shelves and like many home cooks my Mum enjoyed the occasional night off slaving over a hot stove producing what is still recognised today as a basic healthy meal of meat and two veg. Simple home cooking was what I was brought up on and I was extremely lucky that I had a Mother who had trained in Institutional Management during the war years, so she was very adept at meal planning, nutrition and budgeting for a family of mouths.
In my early 20’s my taste for a more authentic curry experience expanded to late night visits at one of the new curry houses springing up all over the land. Needless to say it wasn’t long before I realised I needed to keep my weight in check as my regular exercise classes started to fall by the wayside, giving space for a drink after work with my new work colleagues. At the time there were a plethora of new weight loss diets out there; The F Plan, The Hip and Thigh Diet as well as the more random Cabbage Soup Diet and followed swiftly by a deluge of others.
However, what I noticed was how difficult it was for me to lose weight. Everyone else just assumed I was ‘doing it wrong’ but it seemed odd I could only lose so little and it took weeks to achieve the same weight loss as my friends. This was my story for years.
During my 30’s I worked in IT Contract Recruitment which I loved but it was very stressful. I remember being told ‘you’re only as good as your next sale’. It was target driven month on month and I really felt the pressure so I worked late most days and then tried to cram everything else in late into the night. I was married by then and had a new house, a big mortgage and then Black Wednesday hit on 16 September 1992, when the UK crashed out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism and interest rates went up from 10 per cent to 12 per cent! It was around that time my sleep patterns worsened along with those of half of the nation. I’ve always been a night owl but things were getting out of hand with me on average sleeping for just 90 minutes most nights before waking then struggling to get back to sleep. Something needed to change!
In my mid 40’s I separated from my husband and the whole process of divorce and settlement unbelievably rumbled on for another 13 years. Five years ago I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease. Personally I feel the two are connected. Doctors say they don’t know why you get it and as yet, there’s no cure for it. Stress has been highlighted as a factor but I continue to research for the answer and fingers crossed, the cure. I also qualified as a Health Coach in an effort to give me a wider perspective on food and nutrition and it’s affects.
This led me most recently to revisit my weight loss issues and after a myriad of tests discovered that I am highly allergic to casein (the protein in milk) in addition to gluten and wheat. So it seems I’ve been feeding my body for 57 years with food it couldn’t break down easily. The changes that I made in cutting those elements out resulted in me dropping 18lbs in 10 days which was quite a shock and not least a wake up call to understanding how important it is to read the clues your body provides as a protest against the invader. They were all there but I wasn’t listening.
All of this has made me take stock, to step back and re-evaluate what I need to focus on and change now. I am no different to anyone else in trying to make sense of it all, so I really hope you choose to join me on this exciting journey of discovery.
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