Welcome to Nourished Sweetly! I’m Sheelagh — a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Intuitive Eating Counselor in training. I’m also a whole foods-lover, anti-diet crusader and self-love advocate.
But I was once none of these things.
Throughout my childhood and into my teens and early twenties I dealt with a lot of anxiety. And somewhere along the way food became my support system. At the beginning food was there to distract, food was there to sooth, food was there to numb. This didn’t seem to be an issue as a child when I was a very active competitive synchronized swimmer. But when I stopped swimming, the pounds started to creep on.
In a society and environment where thinness was so valued, I was deeply impacted by negative comments sent my way. This, compounded with my already present anxiety, deepened my focus on food. But now, instead of just using food as a delicious distraction, I could focus on manipulating it to alter my body, and, I hoped, my anxiety and sense of self-worth.
Obsessively planning my meals, counting the calories consumed and burned — it was a welcome distraction from my stresses and anxieties. I lost weight, the compliments flooded in and it seemed like food obsession and weight loss had brought me what I wanted. But they hadn’t. Not really.
Because my body wasn’t meant to be that small and I didn’t have the mental energy to keep counting and restricting and depriving. So, the weight slowly started to come back. I would go back to calorie counting, I would go low-carb, then vegan, then paleo. I counted macronutrients, I did intense exercise, I would eat excessively clean — then, not being able to take it anymore, I would devour every treat I could find in my kitchen.
I would step on the scale and if it dropped I would feel on top of the world, but if it had risen I would feel terribly, and ultimately, eat more to console myself. I was constantly alternating between being a “perfect eater” and eating whatever I could get my hands on. The cycle seemed never-ending.
But it did end. I found Elyse Resch and Evelyn Tribole’s book Intuitive Eating and it struck such a chord with me. I resonated deeply with their scientifically-backed message of learning to get back in tune with your body, saying goodbye to the “food police” and genuinely learning to have a healthy relationship with food. Still, with a decade-worth of the diet-industry in my brain and a lengthy history of disordered eating, it took a long time before I was able to finally make peace with food and my body.
Slowly, bit by bit, I took one step after another. I gave up my scale, I stopped calorie counting, I quit making lists of foods that were “good” and “bad” and cutting things out of my diet because a magazine headline or diet book told me I should. I started listening to my body’s needs and cravings and not judging what it told me it wanted. I gave it homemade salads and stews when it needed them and a chocolatey treat when it wanted one.
I found whole, nourishing foods that I actually loved. I stopped eating rice cakes, sugar-free yoghurt and 100-calorie snack packs that never filled me up and started eating warming veggie-filled curries, energy balls made of nuts and seeds and dates and massive salads heavy on the dressing and All. The. Avocado. I also learned to eat homemade fries, chocolate chip cookies and dairy-free ice cream with true enjoyment, free of guilt and shame.
I learned to look at my body in the mirror with love and admiration on good days and neutrality and acceptance on bad days. I quit trying to make it look a certain way and now let it be, just as it is.
I went to school to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and discovered the incredible value of the connection between body, mind and spirit. I learned all the wonderful benefits foods have to offer us and found new and exciting ways to incorporate them into my life. Always being sure I was doing so with gentle curiosity and with respect and appreciation for whatever my body told me it liked or disliked.
This journey though, summed up in a few paragraphs, took years. It took time, it took tears, it took more perseverance than I knew I had. But now, I’m here. At peace with food and my body. Finally.
And I want that more than anything for everyone. So I started Nourished Sweetly. A place I hope will help inspire you to nourish your body and mind with kindness and compassion and whole foods you love — not ones you feel you “have” to eat. I want you to be free from disordered eating, binge eating and body-hate. I want to help you find the peace I have found, for yourself. If you would like help on your journey, please don’t hesitate to contact me or to book your FREE 20-minute consultation. I would love nothing more than to help you say goodbye to food obsession and body-hate and to start living a life full of peace.