My name is Linda and I am originally from the Netherlands and I live together with my partner from the UK.
I hold an Applied Psychology degree and I have spent the majority of my career on supporting children and their families in the area of emotional health and well-being.
In 2020/2021, I studied at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Certified Health Coach and decided to turn my own 5+ years- mess into a message for others struggling. I want to help others to overcome their body and food struggles and so Nourished For Growth was born.
I love self- development, travelling, mountain biking, full-body workouts, Yin Yoga, tennis and sharing my humour!
My disordered relationship with my body and food slowly crept on at around the age of 17 when I started University. It turned everything upside down and I suddenly felt like my life had changed completely. It brought a whole new level of stress to my life, I not only struggled with the increase of academic demands and uncertainty about the future, but I also felt more social pressure. I started developing a negative perception of myself and my body, I compared myself with my friends and several young ‘fit girls’ on social media and discovered not only differences between myself and others regarding body shape, but I also found differences in other aspects of life, I had a different outlook, hobbies, and I was almost the only one of my friends without a boyfriend. I wanted to fit in and have a boyfriend, and I thought there was only one way to achieve this. Add to this my perfectionism, competitive and self-disciplined traits and you can understand that all these stimuli cumulatively took its toll on my disordered relationship with food and my body.
I struggled with anorexia, orthorexia, bulimia and all the grey areas in between in my late teens and early twenties.
For years, I hated and treated my body very badly. In the first couple of years, I went through an anorexic phase where I counted calories, restricted food, and exercised for the sole purpose of weight loss. Over time, I used more and more aggressive methods, and started to skip meals all together and I told myself that I needed to work out to earn more food.
It didn’t take long until people around me began to notice my weight loss and I started to panic. I had to do something different and so I started to eat more, but only what I considered ‘healthy’ and I exercised compulsively for sometimes 2 hours a day! I showed signs of orthorexia and compulsively checked ingredient lists and nutritional labels, cut out a number of food groups including sugar and carbs, spent hours a day thinking about what food might be served at upcoming events and I was having an unusual interest in what others were eating. I ordered a ton of so called ‘super foods’ which included Goij Berries, Chia and Flax seeds, Cacao Nibs and so on, and refused to eat meals with my parents and siblings (sorry mum!).
Then, I started dating someone. I was over the moon about this person and I was too blind to see that our relationship was slowly negatively impacting on my relationship with my close ones and myself. We didn’t have a healthy relationship: the involved jealousy rapidly grew into controlling behaviours. I felt stuck, I lacked self-confidence and I blamed myself for our failing relationship. I took it out on my body by abusing it again. I signed up for Pilates solely to try to get smaller calves! I started weightlifting and altered my diet to achieve this goal. Neither of these things helped.
The next couple of years, I had an on-and-off relationship with bulimia (secretly eating large amounts of food and compensating it by restricting my food intake the next day and/or over-exercising). It was my coping mechanism something I could fall back on when I was feeling overwhelmed. I would go for weeks without making myself sick, the pattern was incredibly sporadic.
Eventually, my road to recovery began when I started doing a lot of inner work through my Applied Psychology degree books, my career helping others, journaling, and healthy relationships.
Over the year, I got down to my body’s natural set weight without trying at all. And that was simply because I didn’t restrict or binge anymore instead I eat intuitively – I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full without judgment and without influence from diet culture. I gradually let go of all my food rules that I’d cemented into my brain over years of dieting and restricting. Now, eating is effortless and food is there to nourish my body and soul. It’s no longer used to numb unwanted emotions.
Now that I don’t spend most of my time obsessing over my body and food, I have the time and energy to pursue things I love – like socialising, learning and building my business.
I now have a deep-rooted belief that I am worthy and enough, exactly as I am. I have become my own best friend and make self-care a priority in my life. I enjoy eating and the process of cooking and experimenting with new recipes. I eat mostly nutritious foods because I love my body and have respect for this beautiful vehicle of life. The same goes for fitness – I work out because it makes me feel good. I don’t measure my eating or movement as if my body is a thing whose measurements matter. The freedom, rest, joy and inner wisdom I’ve gained since I gave up the obsession and let go of the diet culture in favour of an intuitive eating approach, are immeasurable.
And that is my journey in a nutshell. If you can relate to any of this, you’ve definitely come to the right place!
Those tumultuous years of my life including my Applied Psychology background has helped me identify what works and what doesn’t. I’ve realised how important mindset, challenging food rules, and dealing with deeper emotional issues is to reaching food freedom and being the best you.
I’ve healed myself. Now, I’d like to give something back and I can’t wait to help you with this!