A WORK IN PROGRESS
My name is Patricia (Tricia) Paisis-Oakwell and I am a Level -5 Nutritional Therapist, Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor. I teach Freestyle Fitness Yoga, Aqua, Boxing, Circuits, HIIT, Stretch and Tone, Over 50’s and Body Conditioning.
As a nutritional therapist and personal trainer my job is to help other people reach their goals and live fit, healthier and happier lives, but it was not that long ago that I was having my own health crisis.
Back in December 2012 I was very overweight, stressed out and running my body on adrenaline. My husband and I were running 2 businesses that operated very long opening hours, 7 days a week. We were working almost 100 hours a week and had 3 small children under the age of 7. I was very overweight, had adrenal fatigue, high cortisol levels and insulin resistance. I was only sleeping 3-4 hours a night and hadn’t had a holiday in 7 years. I realised that if I didn’t take care of myself then I wasn’t able to take care of my family and that was very scary as they all needed me so much.
One day I woke up and my body said ‘That’s enough- I can’t do this anymore’. With an enormous amount of support from my husband and family I set about making small changes. I joined a gym and started making changes to my food to include the vital nutrients I needed to get through my day and my high energy workouts. Although our base diet had always been fairly healthy there was room to make improvements. As we had come to rely on quick easy meals like pasta, lots of bread, rice and potatoes. Sugar (even the natural ones) were a staple in our diet-(its hard to buy anything in the supermarket these days that doesn’t contain sugar.) Breakfast was quick and easy cereal or toast with jam and fruit juice and lunch was often sandwiches or wraps. Dinner was meat or fish with a lot of carbohydrates and a few vegetables. We enjoyed the odd takeaway-Chinese, Indian and Thai. Gone was the processed foods, bad carbs and ready meals/takeaways.I began eating a lot of whole foods , I started by swapping out the unhealthy options for more salads and vegetables. We reduced our sugar intake for the whole family and tried to buy local and seasonal produce. We swapped out our eggs, meat and fish for free range or organic as much as we could.
After a couple of months of exercising 6 days a week and eating better I had lost about 5kg (11 pounds). My weight stabilized but I was still carrying a lot of weight around my middle. My energy levels had not improved enough to keep me going through the long days.
In February 2013 I enlisted the help of an amazing Naturopath. She helped me address my digestion and hormone imbalances. Along the way, I discovered I had dairy and gluten intolerances and an addiction to sugar. The naturopath helped me create a new eating plan and worked to get my body functioning more efficiently. I ensured I was eating more regularly (3-4 hours) and focused on keeping my sugar levels balanced to avoid the energy highs and lows during the days and nights.
She explained to me ‘my body was a rundown old wreck of a car and we needed to rev up my engine to get it to be a Formula One racing car.’
I addressed the 5 key areas that needed to change- my diet and exercise, I increased my water intake, I reduced my stress levels (this was gradual as I had to break the routine of working all night due to the demands of our businesses) , and increased my sleep to at least 7-8 hours a night. I began to lose the weight and enjoy food again. Gone were the days of me using sugar to help me get through the long days. I worked on my mental approach to food to view it as fuel for my body and focused on getting my engine to run more effectively. I lost about 1-2kg a week (2.2-4.4 pounds) and by July I was down almost 30kg (66 pounds). I had more energy than ever before, I was running around playing with my kids, I wasn’t so tired and sluggish as I had been for as long as I could remember. My energy levels were growing and people began to comment on how good I was looking. I look back now and the extra weight and stress had aged me beyond my years.
So you see I call my body ‘a work in progress’ and instead of setting a different New Year’s resolution each year, I remember m the promise I made myself at the end of December 2012. I promised that I would always work towards a fit, healthy and happy life.
I now focus on great nutrition, a variety of exercises and a lot less stress.
I continue to nurture and nourish my body and mind to ensure that I live a long and happy life.
Read my next blog post about setting your own health and wellness goals.