My name is Vanja. I’m 27, a graduate student, and I’m overweight. I’ve been some level of overweight my entire life. I went through life being the “smart one” not the pretty one. I hated gym class at school, often got bullied for my performance (or lack thereof), and overall had a pretty crappy relationship with food. I don’t remember the first time I went on a diet, but I’ve been aware of my size and the food I eat since elementary school. Things didn’t really change throughout high school and when I went to University, I steadily gained weight…. freshman 15 (okay 20), another 20lbs during my honours degree, and another 20lb in grad school. I’ve “dieted” before, (like subjecting myself to 1500 calories a day), and lost weight but never kept it off. At my lowest weight I was 175lb and at my heaviest 255lb. To say I’ve struggled, is an understatement.

At my heaviest and lowest point with my body and my mental health (grad school really did a number on me) I decided to start my health journey. I found a trainer and started going to the gym where I learned actually enjoy certain types of exercise but needed some external accountability. I did that for about a year and never lost a pound. There were some overall visual changes in my body which told me I gained muscle, but my weight didn’t budge. I was trying to eat “healthier” but I wasn’t tracking and honestly I know now I wasn’t eating much healthier at all.

Hitting Rock Bottom

Then my mental health spiraled and I injured my knee. Unable to go to the gym, and feeling pretty down about life, I decided to try and just be more mindful, by putting more vegetables on my plate, eating out less, and cutting out unnecessary liquid calories. It worked, I lost about 10 pounds over a 2 month period but I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. I was often concerned about whether I was “doing it right.” I desperately craved structure and counting macros sounded like structure, but the internet is a scary place and I had no idea what I was doing.

That’s when I reached out to Lindsey. I had been following Lindsey for about 2 years before I signed up for her Unblock Weight Loss call. She seemed super down to earth and a former classmate from my undergrad who I still followed on Insta had amazing success (Go Cleo! She had a post a little while ago and you should check it out. She’s a badass!). I booked a call on a whim and just went for it. I was honestly a bit nervous, but I had tried everything else, so I figured I’d take a chance on this.

Working with Lindsey

First, Lindsey is an amazing human, who cares about her clients and it really shows because she validates what feels like my crazy, but really is years of diet culture, and gives me some tough love when I need it. She’s also helped me realize where some of my negative thoughts around food come from because she’s made me reflect on the problematic eating patterns. I’ve learned a lot from working with Lindsey.

I’ve learned that I can eat so much more than I ever thought, and still loose weight!!  Gone are the days of 1500 calories, instead I can eat 1900 and shed weight! Before working with Lindsey, I honestly thought I was going to have to eat 1500 calories for the rest of my life to be thin and healthy.

Through working with Lindsey, I’ve learned that calories matter macros are also important. I now have a better sense of how to create balanced meals without cutting food groups. I’m still able to enjoy a bowl of pasta, a slice of pizza, a cookie (I ate one for breakfast today with my protein shake), as long as I plan for it. The biggest thing I’ve learned from counting macros is just how important protein is for the body. I knew I should be eating protein, but I wasn’t eating hardly enough. Adding more protein into my diet has helped me stay fuller, longer and maintain energy.

Tracking things has also helped me listen to my body better. I now have a better understanding of when I’m actually hungry versus when I’m just bored, or thirsty. I’m also keenly aware when I haven’t had enough protein – I’m far hungrier! That’s not to say that I haven’t made mistakes. I’ve binged even while working with Lindsey. Thankfully she’s been there to support me and get my head out of the “fuck it” mentality by helping me forgive myself and get back on track.

The Secret to My Success

This leads me to probably the big life lesson that Lindsey has taught me: You will make mistakes. In one of our first few conversations, she told me that healthy eating is a lot like meditation. Meditation takes effort and the reality is your thoughts will wander. But the goal is to be able to bring yourself back and centre yourself again. Healthy eating is the same way. It takes effort. You will stray and have a bad day…weekend…week. The key is to acknowledge it, reflect, and get back to it. Understanding this, has really helped me be able to release some of the overwhelming guilt I have around food. That’ s not to say that I don’t hold myself accountable. I just find that beating myself up for indulging too much one day, doesn’t help me be better tomorrow…and quite honestly, sometimes I need to indulge.

What I Didn’t Anticipate…

Overall, I have so much more confidence since starting this program and that confidence is radiating throughout my life. I’m definitely more confident in my body, but I’m just confident overall because I finally feel like I have some control over my life. I finally feel like I have some resilience and can bounce back from mistakes. I’m now trying to take this mentality into other areas of my life.

So… the long and short of it is: Lindsey is real, honest, and validating. You’ll come to learn that you can eat and loose weight, and that a bit of indulgence is okay! But above all you’ll learn how to invest in yourself and trust the process.

Vanja has been a client of The Nourish Company for three months. She has shed a total of 15lbs and continues to make massive strides towards her goal weight. During our time together, Vanja has uncovered and encountered mental, emotional, and physical setbacks and challenges that she has worked through with a determination and grace that is nothing short inspiring. She is simply a powerhouse of light and it’s truly an honour to be able to work with someone like her.