*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.
Q and A with Kezia, Warwickshire, England
“The doctors told me I might never walk again. When you’re faced with that kind of news, you have a choice—accept what you’re being told or try and do something about it.”
Q: Tell us about you.
A: I’m Kezia Thomas, a recovered chocaholic and chronic dieter/binger, who used to have no body confidence, completely failed at willpower, and spent the majority of her life obsessing about what/when/how much she ate and what other people thought about it. I left that life behind me and I’m now running a business showing female entrepreneurs how to lose weight and keep it off so that they can feel confident being visible in their business.
Q: What were your younger years like?
A: I was brought up to believe that the only option for me was to get good grades at school, go to university, and get a degree so that I could get a well-paid job. But university never appealed to me, so although I worked hard at school and got the grades I needed, at 17, I moved out and went to London with a dream of becoming a freelance writer.
I assumed that in London, the opportunities would be easy to find, but the reality was very different! I, then young and not well connected, ended up struggling to find work or pay my way, and after two years, I admitted defeat and asked my parents if I could move back in with them. My family reassured me that I’d tried my best and that the best option was to find a real job. So, I did. But I never stayed in anything for long; I was unfulfilled and unhappy, but I didn’t know what to do about it. I overate on a massive scale just to fill the void, managing the inevitable weight gain with all manner of diets and exercise regimes. On the outside, it looked like everything was fine, but behind the scenes, I was barely holding it together.
By my late twenties, I was working in a company with good prospects—settling for the options I felt were available to me. One day out of the blue, I got struck with an illness that later led me to lose my balance at the top of a flight of concrete stairs, and the fall left me almost completely unable to walk.
Q: How did the accident change things for you?
A: It was a real low point in my life—I was still young and suddenly, I could barely move, let alone exercise. It scared me senseless because my regimen of diets and workouts had always helped me to keep my weight down, and suddenly, that wasn’t an option for me.
The doctors told me I might never walk again. When you’re faced with that kind of news, you have a choice—accept what you’re being told or try and do something about it. I refused to give up, so I started learning everything I could about my body to find out what I could impact. I became fascinated with the science—of nutrition, movement, and the power of the mind. I began to understand that my negative relationship with my body had been affecting me for years, well before my fall. I learned how I could maintain my weight through changing my eating habits. And I slowly formed a better relationship with food. How I was eating became as important as what I ate—I started to see a shift.
When I felt my confidence coming back, I found a way to start my recovery from my accident. I put up a pole in my living room and used it to pull myself up so I could overcome the pain from the pressure in my hips and legs. 18 months later, with the help of a physiotherapist and my own brand of unconventional muscle rehab, I wasn’t just walking, but I was learning aerial gymnastics.
Q: How did this lead you into running your own business?
A: Using the pole had given me strength and confidence, I wanted to share that. So, I trained and set up as a fitness instructor. The only problem was, I started to feel super self-conscious. I was worried my body wasn’t good enough for people to take me seriously. Potential clients wanted to see lots of photos and videos…and I didn’t want to be on camera at all. It made it almost impossible to market my business because I was always making excuses not to do the things I knew I needed to!
It drove me crazy, and it was a massive waste of time and energy.
I’d lose the weight, but it felt so difficult, and keeping it off was a nightmare. I’d starve myself, then binge-eat to relieve my stress…and all the while, I was telling other people how to get fit and healthy! I felt like a fraud, and I was so full of anxiety. I realized I needed to take stock and look at things more closely—why was my eating getting out of control again? I had to make another shift to get things back on track for good.
As an entrepreneur, I was under all sorts of new pressures, and I was going through it all on my own. I’m a real high-achiever and was utterly convinced I could do it all…so I kept pushing my needs aside to give more and more to the business. It took me a while to realize the truth: I am the business. If I’m not looking after myself, I’m not looking after the business. If I don’t feel confident in my body, I can’t show up and be visible in the way I need to be to promote myself—I can’t network effectively, I can’t do live streams, I can’t put myself out there to attract new clients. And it didn’t matter how many courses I took on getting visible, doing PR, or making money online because I had so many issues with how I felt about my body, I never took the actions I needed to.
To make matters worse, because I was constantly shaming myself for not being able to deal with this one area of my life, it spread into everything outside of work too. My self-doubt, embarrassment, and lack of confidence…it grew into this huge and terrible anxiety that was taking over my life. I knew it had to stop. I needed to do something differently. I’d figured out the what and how with my eating, but I realized there was something else to look at. WHY was I so obsessed with food and my body?
I started to get curious in a way I never had before. I started to dig deeper, underneath the symptoms of my struggles (the shifts in my weight and insane sugar cravings) and find out what the real problem was. The emotional issues: the lack of self-worth, self-love, and self-trust. They were what was really holding me back. When I discovered the real reasons I was overeating, that was when everything I’d learned before about what and how to eat began to work for me in a big way. Losing weight became easy...even pleasurable! Keeping the weight off suddenly wasn’t a problem: it happened effortlessly. I didn’t even have to think about it anymore—it happened as a happy side-effect of the other things I was doing in my life. I’ve never looked back, and it’s exactly why I am so passionate about helping other women make the same changes for themselves.
Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know?
A: Be tenacious. Keep moving forward after every push back, be consistent with whatever you’re doing and give it a chance to work for you. If you believe in what you’re doing, don’t give up. This is your life, and if you allow your own fears or other peoples’ beliefs to scare you or pull you away from your passions, you’ll never feel like you’re living it to the full. Go out there and make mistakes: learn from them. Know that the next time, you’ll do that thing 10 times better.
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Thoughts, questions, or comments?
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