I am a qualified psychotherapeutic counsellor and therapist, currently in the final year of an MSc in Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy. I’m running my own private therapy practice in South and West London and volunteer for Cruse Bereavement Care charity as part of their mental health team.
I was always slim and rarely thought about my weight as a child and young adult. In my twenties, I experienced a couple of years when something just didn’t feel right. I started to gain weight and, as I did so, I tried to diet but that seemed to only cause more weight gain, as I would binge eat when I ‘fell off the wagon’.
After putting on 3 and a half stone in 9 months I felt miserable and my self-esteem was eroding away by my sense of failure. I was depressed with no energy or interest in life. I began to resort to purging behaviours to control the weight gain and as a form of self-punishment.
I struggled with this for a further two years until a routine blood test at the GP showed a hormonal imbalance. After investigation, I discovered I had a tumour on my pituitary gland affecting the production of several key hormones, including my thyroid hormones. It took me another couple of years after having surgery and beginning treatment to come to terms with the changes in how my body felt and looked. I let go of my demands that my body should be a certain way and developed a sense of love and appreciation for everything my body does and how hard it works to keep me as healthy as possible. The result of this was to feel better, stronger and more energised than I had for years.
Today I am so thankful for what I went through and for everything my disordered eating has taught me about myself. I am left with an understanding of the pain, struggle and confusion of disordered eating, and out of this has grown my desire to ease the suffering of others in similar situations.
Our relationship with food is rarely just about food. Figuring out what else food is representing is the first step in gaining some power over the sense of feeling out of control around food. Having a difficult relationship with food can often leave us with a sense of failure, as our resolve to just stick to that diet crumbles and then frustration and self-punishment kicks in.
When you work with me, I will treat you as an individual, seeking to understand your unique experience. My role is to help you make meaningful connections about how your relationship with food is influenced by your emotions, beliefs and circumstances. When we develop healthy relationships with ourselves, our bodies and the world, we can find it much easier to make better choices that enhance our health and create the changes we wish to make.