Can you imagine your life without feeling tired, foggy, sick and bloated?
My name is Andrea and I am here to help you transform your stress and tiredness into natural, sustainable energy so you can make your vision for your life become REALITY.
I am here to de-mystify food, so you can easily make better choices to support your health and life goals.
So, back to that vision for your life…
- Can you imagine not having that heavy, achy soreness in your body dragging you down?
- Can you imagine a time when other people talk about their ‘afternoon slump’ and you think to yourself, “Hm yeah, I used to get that. But I don’t any more.”
- Can you imagine having more than enough energy to rock your job, work out regularly, pursue your passions AND socialise without worrying about the ‘payback’ on your energy levels?
- Can you imagine a time when grabbing a sandwich or ordering a pizza or craving sugary comfort foods doesn’t even register because you GENUINELY prefer the better way you eat now?
- Can you imagine feeling lighter? In your body and mind. Because your body loves the way you treat it and it gives that back in spades!
I am here to help you achieve what can often feel impossible when you feel the exact opposite of how you want to feel!
I have been where you’re at right now, and I know it isn’t pretty.
But my own journey back to wellness coupled with my formal training as a Certified Holistic Health Coach has enabled me to help hundreds of women like you to:
- Regain the energy you thought had gone forever… “well, hello energy, it’s great to have you back!”
- Banish that painful bloat and replace digestive discomfort with feelings of ease and confidence (I know you know what I’m talking about
- Use food to heal your symptoms and create vitality in every aspect of your REAL life without feeling denied or being chained to your kitchen!
- Make healthier choices feel like second nature… not like a diet or a challenge, just you being your most favourite YOU.
My Story: Why I Became a Health Coach
My name is Andrea and I am a holistic health coach.
I was drawn to help people improve their health as a result of my own personal health journey.
You can read the long version of my journey further down this page.
During my journey from chronic fatigue and unhappiness back to wellness and fulfilment, I tried many ways to improve my health and life.
Some were a success and some not so much.
But I never gave up, continuously tweaking my approach, learning about nutrition and wellness, and eventually learning formally to become a certified health coach.
Over the past 11 years, I have transitioned from a bloated, depressed, listless mess of a gal into a woman who fully embraces healthy, energy-giving foods and never ever feels denied. I have moved from being too tired to even do a full week at work, to having enough energy to work, study, build a coaching practise, exercise and socialise.
I walked the hard yards. And that means that, as my client, you don’t have to.
You can benefit from my experiences and knowledge, from my empathy and understanding of your unique situation.
:: I get it. In ways that perhaps not everyone around you does.
:: I get your frustration at wanting to live a healthier, more vibrant life but not knowing where to start.
:: I get the emotional impact that not feeling well enough can have on all areas of your life.
:: I get that it’s not just about the food you eat (or don’t eat). It’s about everything!
:: I get that, even though you really want to make changes, the prospect of changing is scary!
If you’re wondering what kind of person I am (you know, the person we all are when no one is looking) here is a list of what you would find ‘under the hood’…
- My first love was the jam doughnuts my mum used to reward me with for being an undemanding shopping accessory.
- My second love was Adam Ant. That love still endures, and no one can gargle Dog Eat Dog as well as me.
- I dance with my eyes closed.
- When I was a kid all I wanted be when I grew up was a pirate. If that wasn’t possible I would have settled for being Calamity Jane.
- I believe the county of Lancashire is the unnecessary apostrophe capital of the world.
- I find inadvertently rude town names, street signs and foreign words hilariously funny and take photographs of any I find.
- I always watch the end credits of movies in my quest to find silly sounding names (I often take photos of these too)
- I have an obsession with beards and my favourite pickmeup is to google the Beard & Moustache World Championship winners.
My Journey Back To Health – The Long Version!
I can’t quite remember my age when I first fell in love, but it was still the Seventies and I was still wearing hand knitted bobble hats.
The object of my affection was the perfectly jammy doughnut that my mum would buy me as a reward if I had been undemanding during the weekly supermarket marathon run.
When your age is still in single figures, the supermarket trip seems to last into eternity! That sweet sensation at the end of it felt like a very just reward. Even if my mum did seem rather too enthusiastic about scrubbing the excess sugar from my face with the paper bag it had been packaged in. Ouch!
I was what you would call a ‘sickly kid’. Always catching colds, wheezing with asthma, a nervous tummy, preferring to stay in and read than play netball. Our annual visit to family in Hungary was always fraught with dust and animal-induced asthma attacks and embarrassing loss of energy. But the traditional breakfast breads that my grandma served up were amazing! As a spotty-skinned teen, exam time was extra traumatic through hayfever-streaming eyes and constant sneezes.
I was never a sweetie sort of child, preferring cookies and anything bready for my comfort choices. Later, as an adult, I could happily exist for days of working on projects with just a loaf of bread and a toaster. With jam for the sweet cravings and with marmite for the savoury moments.
I had dalliances with crumpets and muffins, healthy phases with pitta breads and hummus and a brief affair with a bread making machine.
In 2001, as the twin towers were falling and the world was paralysed with shock, I was wrapped in a morphine-laced blanket in hospital with a rather nasty case of food poisoning.
For the next four years I never felt well.
Daily diarrhea made my one-toilet work environment VERY embarrassing! My constant fatigue left me hardly able to get up for work each day, and there was no energy left for fun stuff. When I was able to work, concentration was a big challenge and I could no longer commit a single statistic to memory. A thick fog had been cast on my life and it just wouldn’t lift.
My doctor told me I had IBS and chronic fatigue syndrome, told me to de-stress, eat more fibre and prescribed strong painkillers for the crippling migraines I had started to suffer with.
The painkillers only thickened the fog. And my attempts to incorporate bran into my diet were disastrous!
I became obsessed with food. I was convinced I wasn’t giving my body enough ‘fuel’ to generate energy. Looking back I was halfway right. I just wasn’t giving it the right kind of fuel.
Years of feeling totally depleted, constantly nauseous and in chronic abdominal pain felt like a lifetime. I became more and more depressed. Is this how my life was going to be from now on?
I felt disconnected from the people around me. Even the people I loved were trying to tell me it was all in my head. That I should just stop obsessing about myself, chill out and it would all go away. I felt completely alone, misunderstood by everyone, and I didn’t understand myself either.
After four years of painful and mystifying degeneration, one person listened to me. A friend came into my life and she believed me, because she had felt the same way. There was suddenly a glimmer of light in the tunnel.
She recommended a private doctor, and he believed me too. He suggested my problems could be caused by celiac disease, ran a blood test and advised me to cut out gluten immediately to see if I improved.
Within two days I felt better than I had felt in four years. The difference was staggering. Feeling even this level of improvement made me realise just how sick I had felt before. It had been so long since I felt well, I had forgotten what feeling well felt like. How sad.
My celiac blood test returned as negative, but I truly felt I had my answer regardless. In the meantime I had researched further and learned that my symptoms could be attributed to a gluten intolerance rather than the full blown allergy of celiac disease. I felt like I had been handed a life line and I couldn’t wait to get well!
The switch to gluten free pasta and bread seemed like a small sacrifice to make for wellness.
The next few years saw me regain some energy and restore some normality to my life. My bouts of diarrhea lessened and my work colleagues breathed a sigh of relief! But it wasn’t the full recovery I had assumed it would be. My low moods morphed into raging PMT and my memory and concentration levels were still frustratingly low grade. I still wondered if I would ever regain the level of health I had taken for granted a decade earlier.
2009 brought major life changes. I moved to a different county, a new relationship and a new job. But these shifts also caused me to let things go in taking care of myself. I was still fastidiously gluten free, but I stopped eating organic food, I started drinking coffee and my work became a lot more stressful. My health began to deteriorate. I was tired, irritable, stressed out and hostage to my hormones! Things had to change. I was losing sight of the real me again.
I got a new job working for a natural health company and my new boss was an inspiration. He taught me that inflammation is the cause of many chronic diseases and that ‘empty’ starchy carbohydrates were a major contributor to this inflammation.
I realised that although I wasn’t eating gluten, I was still eating ‘gluten-like’ products such as GF bread and pasta, white rice, mashed potato, etc. These were helping to keep me in a state of internal inflammation and my gut wasn’t healing. They were spiking my blood sugar, causing me to ‘crash’ and rely on coffee and chocolate to get me through the lows. It was time for another audit.
I was pretty pissed off that not only did I have to renounce the gluteny loveliness of soft, doughy bread in favour of stiff GF varieties, I also had to reduce my intake of staples I had known all my life!
I felt like I had done well, worked hard to remove gluten. I had earned my Blue Peter Badge. But it wasn’t enough. Whaaa!
I threw myself into cutting out those evil ‘starchy carbs’ – no rice, no potatoes, no bread, no pasta. I felt horrible! My energy levels plummeted further. And ohhhhh the constipation! Although my symptoms got slightly better after a few weeks, they didn’t go completely and I was miserable. My body felt just as out of kilter as ever. This really didn’t feel right.
It was at this point that my quest for a deeper understanding of good nutrition led me to IIN. A whole year of studying every major nutritional theory from leading figures in areas of health sounded fascinating. The school’s principle of bio-individuality really resonated with me. I had come to the realisation on my own that not one way of eating or living fits everyone.
With the knowledge I have gained at IIN I have learned to make healthier choices in my life.
I have integrated healthier, whole carbs into my gluten free way of life.
I have learned ways of preparing healthy foods to maximise nutrient intake.
I have added healthy forms of fibre to regulate my digestion and blood sugar.
I have been inspired to get creative again in the kitchen.
And I can honestly say that the way I eat and live now is more interesting, satisfying, tasty and has transformed my health from barely getting through the day to excitement about what the future holds.
Through healing my gut, my energy has returned and my cognition too. It’s wonderful!
I have noticed that as the healing continues, my food intolerances are downgrading. Foods I once had to avoid such as chickpeas are now part of my regular diet (which is awesome cos I love chickpeas! I could eat chana bhaji right now, forever).
I can also tolerate low levels of gluten these days. Don’t get me wrong, I NEVER voluntarily eat gluten. But there have been times when I’ve discovered after the fact that what I have eaten contained some gluten and I had little or no symptoms. This doesn’t encourage me to reduce my diligence, but it sure makes me feel good about my body’s capacity for healing.
Interestingly, other health concerns that you wouldn’t associate with gluten have also improved or disappeared since I have put healthier choices into my life.
- No asthma
- No hayfever
- Lessened PMT symptoms
- Dramatically reduced menstrual pain
- No migraines (used to get them at least every 2 weeks)
- No muscle aches (just the act of sitting down used to be agony in my knees)
- No cold sores (used to get them frequently)
- Two colds in five years (used to have an almost permanent cold)
- No nervous ticks (yes, used to have those)
- No more hair loss by the handful
It’s been more than a decade since I first got sick, and seven years of learning, experimenting, learning again, and so on.
These days I live a life full of energy and positivity, a world away from the sick and lifeless lost soul that I used to be.
Now I use my decade of experience, the dietary knowledge and coaching techniques I am learning at IIN and my creativity to help other people transform their health.
Many of my clients are dealing with their own unique combination of fatigue and digestive symptoms, and I am perfectly placed to help them find their own ways of improving their health.
These days I am often that one friend who understands and can turn on the light in the tunnel.
If you feel that a health coach could help you achieve your health goals, no matter what those are, please contact me for a free, no-obligation Health Discovery Session.