I was accepted into my nutrition course around the same time I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (I was diagnosed August 2015 at age 24). When I graduated, I wanted to create a space where women can find balance within their lives through nutrition and wellbeing. I went through many ideas within diet culture before discovering my true passion with a non-diet approach to diabetes management and weigh-inclusive care after reading the Laura Thomas book about intuitive eating, Just Eat It, and attending a workshop with AHEI, a NZ based social enterprise that do intuitive eating workshops around the Waikato.
That led me to start Find Balance: a non diet, weight inclusive nutrition clinic. We focus on helping women heal their relationships between food, their bodies, and themselves. I discovered that I love being able to truly help women to break away from diets and find real balance, and that it feels good to share details about myself and my diabetes. Find Balance assists people without diabetes in a clinic setting but it also allows them to see into the life of someone with diabetes and become more educated.
I had a lot of imposter thoughts when first launching: I’m not skilled enough. I won’t get any clients. I can’t do this. I had, and still have, anxious thoughts about not having enough clients to run a business – but that all seems so silly when I sit down and think about it, as none of those worries have come true. Our brains are hardwired to look at the negatives to keep ourselves safe – survival mode! – but what kind of life is living in the safe zone?! I learned to trust myself and believe that I can do anything I put my heart into. I encourage others who are thinking of starting their own businesses to stick to your values and your passion: Remember your “why!” It’s so easy to get sidetracked, but being able to bring yourself back to why you are following through with your idea is a great reminder!
Trusting myself and my body is one major thing I’ve learnt since living with diabetes. When I was first diagnosed, and still a wee bit now, I was hyper-focused on how much insulin I was taking (my total daily dose), and was obsessively checking my blood sugars 24/7. I was constantly comparing my insulin amounts and my numbers to previous days or to other people’s stats. I’ve slowly learnt that together, my body and me are trying our best, and if that means high numbers and more insulin one day compared to another, that’s okay! There’s no reason to judge or feel guilty; I need to just trust my body and myself and inject and move on.
My long-term goals are focused on education and dismantling diet culture, and I want to be able to support the diabetes community in any way that I can. I am the only person in my family with type 1, and when I was diagnosed I did not know a lot about diabetes. I would love to expand and educate the general public as well as people with diabetes on the non-diet approach, aiding them in breaking away from diet culture and trusting their own bodies. I would also love to educate adolescents around dieting in order to break the disordered eating cycle before it begins. I’m hoping to see the diabetes community be more open to a balanced approach to managing diabetes. Whether this will be with workshops or podcasts or another approach, I am not too sure yet, but I’m confident in the process.