UA-71620762-2My health journey – Tara Jackson

I was born in India, adopted at birth and spent the first 18 years of my life in Kenya. I then moved to London for my degree, which is where my health started to change for the worse. It was a total culture shock coming from an environment rich in tropical flowers and greenery, earthy ruggedness and warmth all year round to the cold, grey, harsh reality of this overwhelming city (or at least that is how it felt at the time).

I grew up eating real, whole food, mainly vegetarian and exercised daily throughout my entire childhood – where I was on all the sports teams. In London, I began to eat and drink excessively as I found comfort in the warm doughiness of baguettes packed with cheese, endless sweet and creamy coffees, muffins, pizzas, you name it. If it was a quick and easy white carbohydrate I was on it! I also chose to escape in bottles of cheap red wine – yes, being a student didn’t help. But it came too easily as a way to avoid reality.

My university years were a combination of bingeing and then jumping on the bandwagon of the next ‘lose weight quick’ celebrity endorsed diet, where I inevitably yo-yoed between losing a bit of weight and then gaining it all back plus more.

This way of eating continued as I moved into an office job. It was further enhanced by way too many after-work drinks and I eventually found myself with major digestive issues (which were so bad at one point I was taking taxis to work as I was scared to get on the underground for fear of an ‘accident’), feeling consistently tired, steady weight gain and general low self-confidence.

I knew my diet had a huge part to play in how I was feeling and what I was experiencing, so I would go through phases of healthy eating and cooking, spurred on by seeing a macrobiotic coach at one point, doing a short nutrition course and reading extensively around the subject – which I find fascinating. I would then start to feel healthier, happier and have more energy, but then as soon as I did I would have a ‘blowout’ and go right back to where I was. I always seemed to self-sabotage.

It was only when a family member got ill, I knew intuitively it had to stop or I couldn’t be there for support. I also needed to really think about what I was also doing to my body. I had to stop treating it so badly. I was also sick and tired of feeling like crap. I knew I could feel amazing in my skin all the time and I didn’t know why I was settling for any less.

So, I started to make some major changes – only eating real, whole foods, cooking most of my meals from scratch and incorporating yoga into my weekly routine. I began experimenting with food, exercise, meditation and more to find out what worked for me and my body, to make me feel great. At the same time I started studying to be a health coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). This was such a wonderful, informative experience that totally complemented my own changes I was making. You can learn more about my health and wellness coach training and approach here.

I have also worked with a number of coaches and healers to help me with my ongoing journey as I truly believe we are not meant to do it alone!

It certainly hasn’t been straightforward and I’ve had many moments of reverting to old habits, times when I thought there was no hope and many times when old patterns and reactions have arisen. But with gradual changes, and a lot of support from others, I’ve begun to trust myself by listening to the wisdom of my body – trusting my intuition and following it, eating and drinking the things that make me feel amazing, plus regular self-care based on how I feel – not some ‘to-do’ list of things I have to get done. And above all, I have learned to be kind to myself! So it that’s a day in bed with a good series and vegan pizza – so be it!

I feel so much happier and alive, and am so thankful this is where I am today.

If you would like to read more about my story and journey including the self-care actions and inspirations I used to get me to where I am today, please take a look my book ‘Embodied’ which came out in July 2019.