When I first sought Vania’s help, in March 2016, I was feeling pretty desperate. Two years before that, at the age of 28, I had started my first diet. I had experienced a few big changes in my life recently, and the diet became a but of a project, a new hobby. I felt so excited by it, I was running and following a calorie-controlled meal plan, and it felt so easy for the first few months. It wasn’t a huge weight loss, but enough to get me hooked, and enough to get a new wardrobe. It wasn’t many months in before I started to binge. It started small, but over the next year it grew to become my biggest shame and biggest secret. Sneaking and hiding food was a regular occurrence, all while maintaining the outside persona of a super-healthy, super-active, super ‘together’ girl who had it all going for her. I compensated for the binge-eating with exercise and further restrictions, and started learning about clean eating. Mid-way through 2015, around my 30th birthday was my lowest point. I couldn’t have anything sweet in the house, I couldn’t enjoy my food, I was running most days, my relationships were suffering. I started to reach out through Facebook groups and podcasts, and learn about anti-diet philosophies. I surrendered to all my cravings and gained back the weight I had lost pretty fast. In March, with my wedding 6 months away, I was struggling with the weight that I had gained, and still feeling quite out of control with food, and I found Vania. She appealed to me because her blogs implied that she could relate to my story. In our ‘discovery session’ over Skype I talked so much so quickly – it was such a relief to talk to someone about it and she made me feel really safe. For the first 3 months we spoke every week. The biggest difference was how quickly I felt that she ‘got’ me, how she remembered things I had mentioned in previous sessions, and how quick she was to offer support when I was struggling. But at the same time, I didn’t grow to feel dependant on her. She truly helped me to help myself, in a very gentle and loving way. She offered so much support in the weeks before and up to my wedding.

Over the last six months our sessions have been much less regular, but I still am very much aware of her presence in my life. Even my new husband will sometimes ask ‘have you talked this through with Vania yet?’

As we are coming up to Christmas, the peace I feel around food is immeasurably different. My house is full of party food and sugary food, and yet I feel calm and grounded. I can hear my body when I’m making decisions about what/when/how much to eat. I have zero interest in feeling uncomfortable with food, and the ‘sugar addiction’ I was trying to solve has completely disappeared, and my old likes/dislikes with food have returned – I hate dark chocolate, avocado and porridge! (even though I convinced myself that I loved them for months, because they were ‘good’ – ha!).

I owe Vania my sanity. I truly never thought I would be able to write the second half of this story, and was afraid of what the future would hold. But as it turned out, I was the person I wanted to be at my wedding – happy and peaceful and engaged in the moment, and my husband loves how much more relaxed I am, and that I’ve got my boobs back (!).