My Personal Journey
My quest for wellbeing hasn’t always gone to plan: it has had plenty of setbacks, but each time I became stronger and more determined to find a more complete solution that would benefit my body and mind. After almost three decades of searching, study, and experimentation with different health and fitness methods, in the end my wellbeing transformation came not from one thing, but several interacting elements…
I moved to the UK from Croatia as a teenager in the late 1980’s. I started working in a gym, and trained alongside fitness icons like the British Gladiators, and Olympic Gold Medallist Linford Christie. Watching them strengthen and tone their bodies inspired my own quest for fitness, and ignited my lifelong fascination with health and wellbeing.
I lived in Asia Pacific for a few years, and earned my qualification as a personal trainer in Australia. Trained by the then Mr Asia, I aspired to enter the Miss Fitness competition in Malaysia. All those long hours in the gym had paid off: I had the body I had dreamed of, and was hot, fit, and toned.
However, although I thought I looked the part, I had crippling back pain, painful wrists, shin splints and a string of other injuries that plagued me like a dark shadow. Furthermore, I barely managed to qualify as an aerobics instructor because my posture was so bad the examiner thought I’d set a terrible example to the students that I’d be teaching!
Physical fitness was not enough.
It was not until I discovered Pilates that I understood fitness was also about body awareness and core strength. I became a Pilates practitioner, and one of the first pioneers to offer integrated postural alignment with personal fitness training in London. My own physical strength spoke for my work, and business boomed. I had a successful practice in Chelsea, my own body had healed, I felt strong and fit.
I thought I had it all. Yet…
Pilates was not enough.
I was driven by my determination to build a fitness empire, and it was having an impact on my health. I soon ended up with insomnia, anxiety, and even had heart palpitations from stress. I felt trapped in my own success, and it was pulling me down into a painful, dark vortex. My drive for building my business was becoming my silent killer.
I went on a yoga retreat and fell in love with it, but…
Yoga was not enough.
I became a carb, sugar and caffeine addict; they were an illusion of comfort to numb the pain and ‘reward’ me for my hard work. I’ll admit, I also dabbled with some recreational ‘pick-me-ups’, anything to dull the agonising stress I was experiencing. I had worked myself into a place where I thought the next moment might be my last.
Success was not enough.
I felt trapped.
It was not until I focused on my own behaviour and came face to face with what was going on ‘behind the scenes’ of my physical fitness, emotionally and mentally, that I started to gain freedom and health in every possible way…
I started upon a journey of mental awareness, and identified fall-back patterns in my behaviour which drove me to actions which did not serve me well health-wise. This is how I had been living up to this point, and as I kept repeating them, I was pulled further into the vortex. I had made a living training myself and others on the importance of being aware of our bodies and the patterns we use to train our muscles, but this was the first time I thought of applying this to my own thoughts and behaviour; to retrain my behavioural patterns to cause different actions.
A whole new world opened up to me: I started to have fun reconditioning my brain and mental patterns to create new actions and outcomes. I discovered that I had been dominated by the thought of ‘I’m not good enough!’, so no matter how much good I was bringing to the world, I was always sabotaging my work and wellbeing to prove that whiny inner critic right.
As I worked on my mental attitude and behavioural conditioning, I started to love my body instead of push it past its limits. I developed a great love of health on a cellular level, and studied the benefits of raw foods, plant-based diets, and an organic lifestyle, as well as developing greater spiritual self-awareness. I worked on being present in the moment, and valued a heart-based philosophy where I experience every moment to its fullest, and discover my own strengths and inner grace.
I concluded that:
Physical fitness alone does NOT equate to health!
The real power is in ALIGNING yourself with your values and passions and living them! Not tomorrow, but today!
As my mindset changed, my physical health improved dramatically.
- I gave up alcohol as it didn’t suit me, and lost 7 kilos. Moreover, I stopped feeling bloated, and lost my craving for sugar.
- I started focusing on the quality of the exercise I did instead of the quantity, so I could get the same results from doing less. I can now maintain my flat tummy doing 6 Pilates ab curls instead of 100 gym-style ab crunches.
- I became more aware of my body and what it needed to fuel it. I became attuned to the quality of what I was giving it.
- I eliminated the stress, and if it threatens to appear again, I can keep it firmly in check.
The journey is ongoing, and I am always learning, but I am confident that I have developed the key components to living my healthiest, strongest, and happiest life. I believe everyone deserves the same, so they can see for themselves the power of living with an authentic connection to their heart, body, and mind, with a tangible impact on their wellbeing and health.
To check out some of my most delightful AHA (alive-happy-adventurous) moments, click here.
My methodology combines all the powerful elements of the various disciplines I have practised, and makes it accessible for others. My three decade-long journey has resulted in a holistic approach which I know produces real results not only in terms of physical transformation, but also complete wellbeing, which makes it sustainable. To read more about my approach, click here.