The School of Balance in many ways began many years ago, before I even thought about health, relaxation and fitness in the way I do today. As a teenager I was always bigger than my friends, and through college I didn’t think twice about consuming vast amounts of chocolates and crisps. This combined with stopping a lot of the sport I was playing at school, plus drinking more alcohol meant I put on weight. My weight then fluctuated up and down throughout university and beyond. I tried various diets, including detoxing, Atkins and Weight Watchers, all for very short periods of time as none of them made sense to me. At times I’d be more conscious of my weight than others – I remember going through a stage of going into a blind panic if someone else wanted to cook for me in case they used too much oil – but much of the time I just accepted that was the way I looked. It was ‘my lot in life’ and that was that. As silly as it sounds it just didn’t occur to me that I could do something about it.
By the time I graduated, finished travelling and was working in a corporate job I slimmed down and was around a UK Size 12/US 8/European 38 (delete as appropriate!). I did a bit of exercise and ate a reasonable amount of fruit and veg, but I also ate a lot of cakes, chocolates and biscuits and drank alcohol and caramel latte’s with abandon. It was rare a day went by without having a sweet treat of some sort.
When I hit 29 it occurred to me that although my size wasn’t too bad, the amount of refined sugar I was putting in my body couldn’t be healthy, and certainly wasn’t a good starting point for thinking about my future family. So my challenge started – to be the fittest and healthiest I’d ever been by the time I was 30. I had one year. It was around this time I it occurred to me that maybe I could be one of ‘those people’, someone who was fit, healthy and lean. As daft as it sounds until then it really did feel like that was for someone else and not for ‘people like me’. As I started to get stronger and fitter I realised that the only difference between the me that was sat eating cake and chocolate on a daily basis and the me that was getting leaner was that I was out there doing it, I was going after what I wanted. I was taking action!
I freely admit that to start with I probably went too far in the other direction and at times got a little neurotic, until I found My Balance. I realised this one day when my partner asked for a drink out of my water bottle. I actually bristled as I watched him drinking out of it, as it meant I wouldn’t know precisely whether I was on track for my target 3 litres of water, crazy really! For me this was a real turning point and helped me to find My Balance. I see it as a pendulum, sometimes you go from one extreme to the other, in my case eating anything I wanted to tracking every mouthful, to find your sweet spot in the middle. I don’t count calories, weigh food or constantly deprive myself. I do occasionally indulge in red wine, cheese and chocolate – life’s too short not to.
In parallel, I was pushing hard to achieve in all areas of my life. I worked hard and I played hard. I rarely let myself have any downtime. People kept telling me I would burn out and that I didn’t have to Do It All, but I couldn’t hear them. I didn’t understand what the alternative was. I was very sucessful in my corporate life, the youngest person to ever reach my role and I was achieving. I worked in a very male dominated environment which had it’s own pressures and being young in additon was too much for some people. I felt like people were waiting for me to fail so I stepped it up and worked harder to prove them wrong. This all came to a head when I picked up a relatively minor infection which was the straw that broke the proverbial camels back. My body gave up on me. It started a domino effect of health problems which mainstream medicine couldn’t get to the bottom of. I hit rock bottom and started to believe there was something seriously wrong with me. I could barely get out of bed, my hair was falling out and I was in constant pain. It took about 10 months to start to turn a corner. I am now grateful as although I am likely to have life long effects of the illness it was this experience that opened my eyes and made me realise that health and fitness is so much more than nutrition and exercise. As much as pushing yourself to be your best is the way to achieve things that you didn’t know were possible. Rest and relaxation is the only way to be able recover ready to push harder. Professional athletes understand the importance of training and recovery and I believe this concept extends to every part of life.
The School of Balance is here to provide you the pathway to a healthier, fitter and more balanced you whether thats in weight loss, relaxation or another part of your life. The end of crazy crash diets, the end of deprivation, the end of high stress 24/7 and the start of a sustainable and balanced future. It sounds good doesn’t it?