When I first contacted Vania, I was lost. Overwhelmed by self-doubt and stuck in an intense
binge-restrict cycle, I felt like I had nowhere to turn and no-one to talk to. It was an isolating
I’d read about intuitive eating before and as a pro-active feminist I knew vaguely that diet
culture was an oppressive tool of patriarchal capitalism. But knowing or reading about these
things had never really translated into change in relation to food or my body.
Working with Vania has been life-changing. And I know that sounds hyperbolic but there is
really no other way to describe the night and day comparison between my life now and
before we started working together. I found her support invaluable as she guided me
through the steps towards eating intuitively, rejecting diet culture and recognising the ways
in which my own behaviours may contribute to fatphobia and discrimination based on the
size of our bodies.
I’m not saying this is an easy journey and I’m definitely still working on it but I have more
days were I feel wonderful about myself than not. After almost a year, I’m still having “a-ha”
moments about my eating behaviours and how they’ve served me in the past and are still
serving me in the present. As these moments come up I’ve now got the tools and resources
to approach them with openness and compassion, which is valuable beyond measure.
As a coach, Vania is kind and understanding. She manages to be non-judgemental whilst still
holding you to account to challenge the learned biases that underlie some of our most
disordered thinking. I appreciate her dedication and activism, as I’m sure do thousands of
other people in the Peaceful Eating Facebook group and beyond.
When I came to Vania my bingeing was out of control. I knew dieting wasn’t the answer but I couldn’t find a balance between all or nothing. I felt like I had tried everything and this was kind of a ‘last ditch attempt’. I’d read an article in the Huffington Post on her work and I looked at the website. It seemed like a big investment but I reckoned that I’d wasted enough money on slimming clubs, self-help books and bars of chocolate – this was money to do something proactive and positive, just for me. By the end of our first taster session I came away already feeling calmer. Vania shows no judgement, even over your most destructive thoughts and habits. Her kind, spiritual approach allowed me the chance to heal. I started to understand myself and my motivations in a deeper and more loving way, knowing that I was only a week away from another session. Along the way there has been laughter, companionship and a lot of tears but slowly, bit by tiny bit, food has lost its hold over me. Of course there are still times when the old thought patterns return but I have ways of returning to my centre and being kinder to myself. If you can, if you are prepared to really commit, then I would wholeheartedly recommend Vania’s method.
I have had body image issues and have been dieting for over 20 years. I was utterly unhappy, ashamed of myself, had no self esteem and I ended up in a destructive cycle of starving, bingeing and purging.
My work with Vania started a around year ago and the difference between where I was then and how I am now is nothing short of miraculous. Vania is highly skilled at what she does, as well as being kind, compassionate, caring and nurturing. And she gives you the tools to be able to be these things to yourself, which is something I’m sure a lot of us struggle with.
I never thought I’d feel the way I do now, about myself and my body. But here I am, accepting, proud and most importantly, living my life..something that was previously always on hold until I was this weight, or that size. I can’t thank Vania enough.
Honestly Vania I have no complaints or recommendations on ways that you could improve your service. You are extremely patient, knowledgeable and professional. Even from the other side of the world you have been accessible to me (via Skype, WhatsApp) and always reliable and honest. I couldn’t have asked for more.
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 (!).
My life changed when I began working with Vania a year and a half ago.
I am 67 years old. I have been working on my eating issues and size acceptance issues for most of my adult life. I have done dieting of every shape and color, lots of therapy, many workshops with people whose books I am sure that you have read, Overeaters Anonymous, Smart Recovery, given up, etc. etc.
Although I had heard of Binge Eating Disorder, I had never really identified with it until I did a little more research and it finally fit. I did some more therapy with a binge eating disorder therapist and found some Binge Eating Disorder Facebook groups.
There I found this beautiful “voice” that kept popping up in posts. Posts that sounded incredibly authentic, understanding and connected to a type of psychology that I had studied. This was Vania.
I set up an “exploratory conversation” with Vania. After we talked, I felt an incredible relief. Together, we began talking every week, “unpacking the spaces” between what I already had learned/knew and what I had not healed, did not understand and needed support and guidance around.
I did not need more information. I could have written many books on eating issues! I needed a non-judgmental person who could help me explore myself and feel safe doing that.
A step at a time. Two steps forward and one step back.
But when I stepped back, Vania’s arms of love and support were always there, asking, listening, suggesting a way if I wanted it. She is an amazing being and amazingly gifted. The magic began to happen.
Little baby steps, little awarenesses, allowing, more allowing, more trust in me and in my body. This process did not happen in my head. It happened in my heart, thoughts and core being.
So here I am – the same size. I may or may not ever have that change for me. I’m accepting of that.
I eat when I am hungry. I eat wonderful, nourishing food and sometimes not so nourishing food. When I do the latter, I can feel it in my body…no shame, just learning. My husband has just been diagnosed with lymphoma – and I’m not eating to numb my feelings! It’s always my choice – to be aware or not.
But, I have the choice. It is totally mine now. I choose to feel good naturally most of the time. I am happy, peaceful and do not need to look for answers any further.
Vania is a gift. Please work with her. You will never, ever be sorry.
You are simply the best. With your help I have found my way out of ED, emotional eating AND I have found mindfulness, meditation and overall love for my own body and self. Thank you for doing this for me. It has taken a long long time but all the work, commitment and patience bring the results :-). Your support and blogs in the Facebook group supported me for the entire time, during my ups and especially during my down times where I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now, 2 years after, I can not only say that I have defeated my eating disorder but I also have learned to love myself and to take care of my body. I am a completely – very happy- different person now. Oh and I just started my own blog (yeah my writing is still very messy so I’ll have to find a more structured way), a meditation and yoga journal. I’d be happy to have you pass by http://www.flowingcarol.com … It probably wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t “met” you two years ago in the Facebook group!
I am pleased to say that I have been binge-free for some months now and I very rarely have any thoughts where I put myself down for not doing as I “should” have.
I don’t often think about food unless I am hungry and I listen to my body’s needs about what type of meal would serve me best in that particular situation.
I regularly enjoy “joy foods” but in much smaller quantities than I did. I have the occasional over-indulging but I don’t dwell on it and put it out of mind straight away. I don’t try to head to the gym to work it off or punish myself. I explore my feelings and educate myself that what I have eaten was more than enough and perhaps the next time I can half the portion.
This has all been possible after working with Vania.
I have learned what triggers used to cause my sugar binges/ orthorexic/ anorexic mentality and what I can do to try and reduce these and most importantly start living my life normally again.
At first and for several months it was extremely difficult to get out of diet mentality but with Vania’s support I was able to let go of many things but one thing in particular that had turned my life upside down – dieting.
I have also learned about the real me and people around me and can now place boundaries around how much help I can offer to others without putting myself last.
Working with Vania has been an absolute pleasure and forever insightful. She is a fantastic individual who is humble, patient and genuinely caring who understood each problem I encountered throughout my 6 months of working in a non-judgmental way. This for me was extremely important given that I had already had a bad experience with another therapist who did not understand my problem and labelled me as “depressed” without listening to me.
I learned a tremendous amount not only about dieting but about myself, others around me and life in general and I will never forget the support, guidance and reassurance Vania gave me at a time where I felt completely stuck in my life.
What I have included in my testimonial is not an exhaustive list of what I learned during my time of working with Vania however I have listed some of the most important lessons that I learned during my work with Vania.
The experience of letting go of diet mentality was harder and took much longer for me to do but now I genuinely feel free from the prison of my own actions and thoughts and I do not think I would have been able to overcome this without Vania’s help. Thank you very much Vania…as I embark upon a new chapter in my life (married life soon), I will always remember what you have taught me xxx
The reason why I was interested in working with Vania was what I noticed on a Binge Eating Disorder Facebook page! I just felt the way she answered questions and responded was intuitive, knowledgeable, understanding and empowering. Her responses resonated with me and made me feel better about myself and what I was going through and I hadn’t even spoken to her! I did some research and found her Peaceful Eating website.
Before I worked with Vania I was stuck. Although I had made efforts to stop dieting, I still carried that mentality with me. I was binging a lot, confused, frustrated and it all seemed rather hopeless! I was having some very dark days indeed!
With Vania’s help I have learned to find space between my thoughts and actions. I have learned how meditation helps with this. I have learned more about self-care and how essential and simple this can be. I have learned about Intuitive Eating and really how to tune in to my body and listen and importantly, I have learned to recognise my hunger signals and how to find satisfaction. I am still working on this but feel empowered and set free to try things, make mistakes and still be ok. I have learnt to breathe! I have learnt to be much kinder to myself.
“It’s a practise” is what you will hear from Vania. Gone are the days when I am so hard on myself and things have improved immeasurably for me. I am no longer binging, although if it happens it’s no big deal and is there to teach me something. I am much more able to stop eating when I am full and I found learning about the brain and how it works fascinating! I am much more free of thinking about food
non-stop and I feel like less of a failure and more of a human being that I ever have before.
I never felt like there was a timeframe with Vania. We went at my own pace and every session I came away with such rich, personal learning. I am so grateful for that and I miss her!
If you would like to be more at peace with food and yourself, I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Vania’s expertise. She truly is an amazing person to work with and I consider myself so lucky to have found her. She has such knowledge and sensitivity. She seems to have the ability to get to know who you are and has a real skill and thinking of what would work best for you. She makes herself available to you and was able to give me advice and guidance between sessions if I asked.
I have struggled with an eating disorder for most of my life. In my mid 40s I had read every book, installed various Apps and visited numerous websites on BED, to no avail. I came across Vania’s facebook page and website and took a ‘leap of faith’ and took up the invitation to have a discovery session.
Vania has since supported me on my journey to develop the self love and respect that my life was missing. Through practising mindfulness and meditation, I am conquering my issues with food. The Skype sessions helped me immensely; I had never before opened up to anyone about my eating disorder. Vania is non judgemental and caring in her approach and provided me with the expertise and guidance to work through various challenges.
I never thought that I could escape that vicious binge cycle that I was caught in; it was all consuming – I am so grateful that I took that initial ‘leap of faith’.
Overall you have helped me to come to a better place within myself – your service has been wonderful, personal, heartfelt, thought through – as have you. Thank you.
I went to Vania because she showed up in my life at the right time, when I decided I had had enough. I was fed up with my obsession with weight, diets, and the never-ending roller-coaster of self- loathing that came with them as a bonus, that for over half of my life eroded any traces of self-respect and acceptance. Vania showed me in a kind, clear and encouraging way the path to live in the present moment and to self acceptance, which makes it possible to find a place within you where the chase for being thin never led you. I am so grateful I know how to free myself from the prison of my negative thoughts. They will keep coming, because I’m human after all. But now I have the tools to challenge them. Thank you so much, Vania!
1. You hold the space
2. You encourage
3. You create a safe space
4. You help me understand that my feelings/fears are manageable.
5. You help me create a path from fear to acceptance by questioning, challenging, validating, honoring, empathizing…
6. You offer another perspective when I can’t find one
7. You gently guide me
8. By naming what I may be feeling and thinking, you help me remove the shame and stigma I attach
9. You offer small, manageable alternatives, stepping stones
When I reached out to Vania for a Discovery Session I was binging regularly and consumed with thoughts about food – what and when was I going to eat, it was my joy and has been for many years. I tried every diet, read books, etc on how to lose weight and spent thousands on therapy to stop eating. I tried practicing mindful eating and was about to give up as it wasn’t working. I decided I will just be fat the rest of my life. The blame voice was constantly around. And then I found the Peaceful Eating website and after going back and forth to it several times and reading all the information there I sent an email to book a free one hour session. Afterwards I felt a strong connection to Vania as someone who can relate to my eating struggles. Each week we talk by phone and sometimes I have very manageable homework to fill out about different aspects of my relationship with food and my feelings. She also often sends meditations that help me connect to my body. They build on one another and at some point I truly got it that my body needs me. I never really understood or felt that way, my emotions and my inner voice ruled. Because I have made that connection, I now care about what I put in my body and how I take care of it. I am so much more aware of all that is around me and the feelings of hopelessness and blame have diminished. Vania believes this is a “practice” and this makes so much sense to me. I am practising mindful eating and it is working, I now nourish my body with food that sustains me and gives me joy and I no longer binge eat. The realization that I needed help to change was when the turnaround began. I couldn’t ask for a better coach than Vania, she is caring, compassionate and best of all I feel safe sharing all my feelings with her.
Before I met Vania I’d had a lifetime of eating emotionally, yo-yo dieting, always being conscious of food around me and how other people were eating and what they were eating; body conscious, and of comfort eating. Vania has helped me enormously become “peaceful” around food and I feel really proud of the steps I’ve taken and the journey I’ve gone on and am continuing on. Vania has a lovely warm style, but is firm, she picks you up on things, and makes you question yourself, when appropriate, but always done in a nice way, coming from contribution and love. She helps you see the issues from a completely different perspective using tools that are simple to understand and comprehend. I haven’t weighed myself for months – and I’m very comfy with that! I’ve stopped comparing myself with other people and I’ve started to enjoy the social functions for what they are, rather than being completely focused on the food on my plate! If anyone has been struggling with food for years, I would urge you to contact Vania – she helps you see that it’s not the food that’s the issue, but the emotion behind it, and it’s THAT you deal with and so you then become PEACEFUL with food. Thank you SO much for helping me Vania – it has been a privilege and a pleasure knowing and working with you. Much love. Xxx
I certainly have taken it on board and have peacefully lost over a stone now I’m glad to say. I haven’t denied myself chocolate, biscuits or cream/meringue with fruit and I haven’t gone as far as exercising either! It hasn’t been difficult with the right mindset. Whenever people notice the weight loss I always mention Peaceful Eating so your ears might have been burning! You may well be the butterfly that flaps its wings Vania!
So the bit that most people are interested in: I lost a stone in the two months I worked with Vania. But that isn’t the whole story. The whole story is about what I found; and that is an ability to be honest with myself and approach my eating and my life with peace and respect. Vania is a wonderfully caring coach. She challenges and supports, and the tools she has to hand are incredibly valuable. You will find what works for you. But it’s not magic – you actually have to do the work. However if you do the work the effects will go way beyond your waist.
I have sought support from Vania a number of times over the past couple of years, and each time she has responded quickly and willingly. Without question, she has an ability to listen and hear beyond just what I’m saying. I have found our interactions to be incredibly helpful, and the time we’ve had together has been used wisely and purposefully. She has listened to me, questioned me, and given me bold support with what she’s seen, support that is wise and insightful and without a doubt, loving in intent. In return, I have always come away from any call with Vania feeling empowered, stronger and clearer in myself. I would happily recommend a conversation with Vania.
Working with Vania is a very gentle and non judgemental process. Vania firmly guides you to find your own answers and question your thoughts. Vania creates a safe space for you to feel what you need to feel. I have gained so much benefit from our coaching and would highly recommend Vania to anyone who wants to end their struggle with food or anything for that matter!
In a mere 7 sessions, Vania has already enabled me go places that 4 years of psychotherapy did not touch. I feel held, supported and safe. Nothing is too deep or daunting to touch. She is a warm, sensitive, mindful, humourous, insightful woman. I relish my sessions as I know each week some form of transformation will take place. Our work together is invaluable.