I started comfort eating and gaining weight noticeably around the age of 5 when I experienced my first big life change, and I embarked on my first diet at the age of 11 which quickly became a habitual way of relating to food. Years of chronic dieting and a body perfection complex ensued until I felt completely trapped in the cycle of losing weight, gaining weight, food restriction, binge eating and extremely low self-esteem. I slowly started to lose my zest for life and noticed my sunny, optimistic disposition changing to one of pessimism and eventually deep internal depression.
For all of my life I have been ashamed of my short legs and chubby knees. I endured many Summer’s in my knee length shorts and ¾ pants but inside I was just dying to throw on a pair of mid-thigh shorts with a pretty blouse and sandals! I spent years dieting thinking that being thin would give the confidence to wear those ‘short’ shorts but even when I was at my skinniest…I could’t pluck up the courage. It was only when I started my embodiment journey that I realised that I had fallen prey to media conditioning which teaches us to compare our bodies to one version of what is considered a beautiful body and I had then decided that because I didn’t match this version of beauty, that I should hide my body from the world. It didn’t take me long to realise the insanity of this thinking…and that just as my personality and intellect is unique, so too is my body. In this realisation I was able to accept and love my body for the first time in my life and I immediately went and bought myself a pair of mid-thigh shorts and have been proudly wearing them ever since!
The wonderful thing about my food and weight journey is that dieting consciousness (whilst painful and destructive in many ways) actually connected me with my deep interest in food and nutrition science from a young age and enabled me to build a solid body of knowledge in the field through my curiosity and desire to be thin. As far back as I can remember I had an equally deep interest in people and this led to a successful career in the recruitment side of Human Resources which is predominantly about understanding and analysing others. In essence I was building up the perfect skill set to prepare for my sacred purpose as a Nourishmint Wellness Practitioner!
Around my mid-30s I became completely exhausted of the dieting hamster wheel, and particularly of the disappointment and shame that goes with the inevitable weight gain that comes after a long, dry, hungry dieting period. On the practical side my wardrobe couldn’t take any more clothes (one set for each size of every season) and on a deeper level I started to feel a strong sense of calling to understand and live out a more purpose-driven life that wasn’t centred around how I looked but more so around using my talents, strengths and bringing something of true value to the world around me.
It was around this time that I completed my first Coaching course through Results Coaching Systems (affiliated to the Neuroleadership Institute) and became certified as a Life Coach. Soon thereafter I stumbled across the Transform your Relationship with Food online programme through the Institute for the Psychology of Eating founded by Marc David. No such thing as a coincidence I say! It was like someone switched the light on… a big, bright, shining, nourishing sunlight entered my consciousness and in fact my whole being. At the time I might add I was heavily overweight and the first thing I learnt on the programme was that this was OK. And that this was in fact giving me pause to PAY ATTENTION… to what I was eating and to the nutritional content of my thoughts, and the impact of my psychology on my overall metabolic functioning and sense of wellbeing.
I loved the work so much that I decided to add the Mind Body Nutrition Coaching certification to my coaching toolkit and through these studies I was reconnected with my absolute fascination for nutrition and psychology. Both Coaching methods combined provided me with the ideal outlet to express my care for others and genuine interest in seeing others live out their best life.
In August 2018, Nourishmint Consulting was borne, which I have since renamed Nourishmint Coaching. Nourishmint Coaching is centred on my own wellness philosophy which I refer to as Nourishmint Consciousness supported by a structured, results based coaching methodology comprised of Mind Body Nutrition, Eating Psychology & Neuroscience Principles.
My mission is to lead others to a place of wholeness (intrinsic wellness) by teaching them about the sacred language of their own body’s wisdom, approaching health and weight challenges, not as a life sentence but as a doorway to personal growth and transformation.
I am currently enrolled with the Akasha Institute of Embodied Leadership, studying the Sacred Feminine Medicine Wheel, Womb Medicine and the principles of Divine Feminine Leadership. My vision is to incorporate these teachings into my coaching methodology and equip women with a sacred set of tools to empower them in today’s modern world.
When I’m not exploring the mountains of Cape Town, I can be found at various Self-Empowerment Workshops, browsing through crystal shops, exploring shamanic healing therapies and spending time with my nearest and dearest. My personal mantra is to relentlessly pursue my own healing and self-development as a means to serve the rest of humanity at my highest potential.
Q. What are your daily self-care rituals?
Meditation morning & night, Gratitude Journal, Yoga, Fresh Juice in the mornings
Q. How do you Self Care?
By sticking to my rituals, being true to myself, letting others know what I need.
Q. What advice do you have for women struggling with their body image?
Choose to see your body as part of your unique self-expression and then rather than judge it because it doesn’t measure up to an image we have been conditioned to believe is a beautiful body, embrace it in its absolute uniqueness and bring forward the best it has to offer through good nutrition, moving in a way that feels good and dressing it up to match your personality.
Q. What would you say is the best way to make changes towards a healthy lifestyle as a starting point or first step?
Understand your reason for wanting to make these changes…if the reason is only skin deep (ie. linked to your appearance and how others see you), chances are you will falter. If the reason is linked to an intrinsic desire to feel well and be the best version of yourself, chances are, you will succeed.
Q. What inspires and motivates you? What drives you?
Feeling well and connected to a strong sense of purpose is a primary driver for me. I strive to be a loving guide for others to find their truth in life…and I use the language of eating psychology to enable this.
Cindy is the founder of Nourishmint Coaching. Nourishmint Coaching teaches women an empowered approach to weight & body image challenges, by adopting a wellness philosophy called Nourishmint Consciousness, which is built on mindfulness practices + mind-body nutrition & eating psychology principles.