How I can help you
I am here to help with something you probably were never offered before.
There are tons of books and programs designed to teach you what, when and how much you should eat, guiding you calorie after calorie so you lose weight.
However, there’s one thing that they don’t teach you.
How to deal with that extremely powerful force that pushes you, like in a state of trance, in front of the fridge, feeling guilty and hopeless afterwards.
I support you to work on the root causes of what’s happening on the inside so you can release the pressure of bingeing and overeating.
Then, I guide you to a better place from where you can live your life with a greater sense of appreciation for your body.
This is how I’m different from the rest
Who do I help?
You have realised there’s more to life than obsessing about food and diets.
Hoping there’s a way to make peace with food and stop bingeing which doesn’t involve starting another diet?
Often finding yourself thinking about food, and feeling guilty about what you ate?
Maybe, you’ve now hit rock bottom and you’re serious about changing this, because you know you deserve more?
You want to be confident in your skin no matter your shape or size.
Thinking how life could be, if you relaxed and let go of the idea that your worth lies in your appearance?
Determined to bring back the energy and motivation to focus on what really matters to you: your passions, your family, your career goals and much more?
If this sounds like you, I can help.
I help you move forward to where you want to be
WHERE YOU ARE NOW
Your mind space and energy are taken up with food and eating so you can’t fully focus on anything else.
This is because right now you:
- Struggle with bingeing, overeating and no control around food.
- Jump from one diet to the other.
- Have tried Weight Watchers and Slimming World but you keep getting back to the starting point.
- Miss out on an enriching social life because of how your body looks and your lack of control around food.
- Feel you are not enough, not good enough, not pretty enough…not [insert your own] enough.
- The relationship with food and your body is getting in the way of you having fulfilling relationships or progressing in your career.
WHERE YOU WANT TO BE
Food becomes one part of your life, along with other important aspects.
As a result, you:
- Savour your bites and not end up overeating all the time.
- Your binges decrease.
- Let go of strict rules around your food choices.
- Fully enjoy all the social events involving food with no restriction or compensation afterwards.
- Stop worrying about what others think about your body.
- Trust your body when making your food choices and find more body and mind balance.
- Feel comfortable in your skin and open to new life and career opportunities.
The Mindful Body three pillars
I help you with how to stay with the emotions and situations that push you to eat, becoming more mindful of your thoughts, behaviours, emotions.
I help you develop acceptance of your body and build daily practices that are kind and respectful of both your body and your mind.
I help you let go of dieting and restriction and learn to trust your body when making decision on what to eat, how to move or take care of your well-being.
8 fundamental beliefs that guide my work
1. YOUR EMOTIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH.
Health is a much broader, complex and dynamic concept than just not having a disease. Or having a healthy body, a specific weight and a diet consisting of “healthy” foods.
Living a ‘healthy’ life doesn’t just mean cutting down on carbs, walking x amount of steps a day, being a certain BMI.
This also means being able to enjoy coffee and tea in good company or sharing your ice cream with your kids with no guilt or regret. Just like having a lie-in or watching Netflix on the couch without worrying about what will happen if you don’t complete the 10k steps on your FitBit.
When you decide to let go of diets, continuous restriction and forced training activity, you say yes to your physical health but also to your psychological health, which is fundamental for you to live a fulfilling life.
I understand that you are reasonably concerned about your health. Also, I sympathise with your fear that if you let go of the control you currently have over food, you will end up eating from morning to night or choosing only the less nutritious foods.
However, I want to reassure you that what will happen is just the opposite.
It doesn’t do you any good to constantly feel guilty as soon as you step off your diet plan or when you binge. Feeling like this rather takes away health from your life and it’s got a negative impact on the balance between food, mind and body.
So, if you’re thinking: “But what about my health?”, I say that:
By dropping dieting and judgment around food, you end up taking care of your health more than you ever did.
2. THERE'S NO AMOUNT OF FOOD THAT CAN FEED SOMETHING THAT'S NOT HUNGER.
You might just be using food to forget or put a problem to the side for a while; e.g., it could be that you need love and attention, satisfaction in your relationship or in work, freedom and time to do what you like, or unload some pressure.
Food protects, shields, reassures and comforts. It’s always there.
I spent more than 20 years of my life fixating with food and eating my feelings alive.
Believe me, I know way too well how that jar of Nutella or that cake is always available to numb an unpleasant feeling or avoid working on what you know needs to change in your life so badly.
Food is just the tip of the iceberg. I help you identifying and working on the actual problem floating underneath the surface.
Learning to be mindful of your feelings and emotions. Showing kindness and compassion to yourself when you are experiencing those feelings. These are possibly the most important skills you can learn to overcome bingeing and heal your relationship with food and body.
Food can’t be the answer. Because there’s no amount of food that can satisfy something it’s not hunger.
3. YOUR WEIGHT IS NOT THE MEASURE OF YOUR WORTH.
There’s a quote I love from author Anne Lamott that says:
“If you’re not OK with yourself at 185 pounds, you will not be OK at 150, or even at 135. The self- respect and peace of mind you long for is not out there. It’s within.”
After spending more than 20 years of my life attempting to change my body and never really finding happiness in that, I’ve now come to believe that Anne Lamott is right.
We don’t wait to be thin to start living our life and enjoy it to its fullest.
As women, we’re told from a young age that if we are thin or we fit into a small size, we are much more likely going to be happy, successful, loved than if we live in a larger body.
It’s quite normal that many of us have learned to measure our own value based on how we look and how good or bad we manage to control what we eat.
However, how would your life change if you managed to detach yourself from this idea? The idea that your worth lies in you being thin and slender and you started going for what you really want in your life instead?
4. YOU NEVER FAILED A DIET. DIETS HAVE FAILED YOU.
There are so many factors that can impact our body weight, our shape and size.
Some of them include genetics, access to food, hormones, gut health, weight set-point. Add to them emotional resilience, stress levels, sleep routine, age, socio-economical factors, etc.
They are many more than just nutrition and exercise. However, those selling you diet plans, meal replacements and training packages want you to believe it’s just a matter of nailing those two and how you use your willpower.
> You might have tried to follow strict food and exercise rules and still not get anywhere near the body shape or the weight you aspire to be. It’s frustrating.
> Maybe, you can’t help but compare your body to somebody else’s and believe it’s better than yours. You think: “They must be more disciplined, have an infinite supply of willpower and determination to be the way they are“.
It’s difficult for you to see the truth that the problem is not you but the approach.
I want every woman to know this:
You never failed a diet. It’s not a matter of willpower. Diets that failed you again and again. Because they are just not the right approach for you.
Truth is, in the long run, all restrictive diets:
- cause weight rebound, with weight gain often greater than the initial loss;
- damage self-esteem due to the inevitable failures in attempts to lose weight permanently;
- can establish or amplify eating disorders.
How does it make you feel to know that you were never the problem?
5. YOUR BODY KNOWS BEST
We so often look for answers outside of ourselves. It’s comforting to delegate decisions regarding our body to someone else telling us what, when, how much to eat or move.
I’m here to help you see there’s no need to go outside. Your body already knows what’s best and is able to guide you towards what feels kind and natural.
I help by encouraging you to explore your natural hunger and the organic sensations of your body. They’re precious information to decide when choosing what, how much and when to eat.
When you start paying attention to what hunger feels like in your body, you learn to better recognise the sensations in your stomach and in your head.
You can learn to compare those sensations with different levels of hunger. For example, feeling slightly hungry and ready for a snack , hungry for a full meal, or really hungry and in need to eat as soon as possible.
This might not always come easy if you’ve been dieting for a while, following external rules to decide what time and how much you are meant to eat.
Moreover, dieting and eating to numb feelings might create judgment around the feeling of hunger itself. As a result, you might feel guilty for wanting to eat when it’s not around your planned mealtime or a more satisfying amount of food.
Trust your body. It knows more than you think it does.
6. YOUR LIFE PURPOSE IS NOT 'LOSING WEIGHT'.
Have you ever thought how much the diet/thin body culture or the judgment from others have interfered with your life? With you trying to achieve important life goals or a fulfilling social life?
When you become too judgmental about your body and your eating choices, food and weight often become this huge source of worry, shame and guilt.
These feelings stand as a mountain between you and the important things you want to achieve in life.
They fill up all your mental space so that you lose your confidence in being able to pursue anything else. For example, a different career, a nurturing relationship, create your own family, you name it.
How many times have you looked ahead to a future moment where you see the potential to finally start the life you want?
It’s normally a moment in the future, preceded by a ‘WHEN’ or an ‘IF’:⠀
If I stop eating like this…⠀
When I become size x…⠀
When my weight will be…⠀THEN I WILL BE:⠀Happy, successful, beautiful, loved, valued.⠀
I recognise the importance of setting goals and making plans for the future.
However, my priority is to help you challenge the conditioning that you’ll be happy and beautiful only if you get to a thinner body shape. To see how this belief might have taken a huge toll on your ability to flourish and live life fully.
As you learn to listen to yourself, the healing goes beyond food and weight.
It’s not just about the way you eat but also about the way you live.
7. SAYING GOODBYE TO THE FANTASY OF A THIN BODY IS LIFE-CHANGING
Even if you’ve come to realise that your weight aspiration is not realistic, that after the diet you keep coming back to the same starting point (sometimes with some bonus pounds), you might still hold the desire to lose weight and be in a smaller body.
There’s the fear of gaining weight, as you gradually let go of diets and start tuning into what your body needs, giving yourself permission to eat the foods that you consider ‘treats’ or ‘play foods’.
I don’t blame you for that. Quite the opposite.
It’s perfectly normal to feel this way. Especially if, like me, you’ve experienced weight stigma or body shaming at some stage in your life.
What I mean is things like:
- Being teased about your shape and size.
- Receiving negative comments about your weight from anyone, including healthcare professionals.
- Feeling pressured to lose weight to fit in.
- Being avoided, excluded, or ignored because of your weight.
- Not being able to find clothes in your size at a store.
That’s why I believe that an important part of the journey to heal your relationship with food and body can pass through mourning the ‘fantasy of a thin body’ you’ve chased and the temporary illusion of achieving it by dieting.
For many women, it’s easier if they get some support to grieve for the loss of a smaller body and all the privileges and value that our society attaches to it.
I encourage the women I work with to consider the price they have paid (energy, time, money and emotional investment) chasing one diet after the other to seek weight-loss. And I support them so they keep the focus on the benefits of approaching their health at 360 degrees instead of fixating with weight-loss.
When you let go of the fantasy to reach a certain shape and size, you open the door to being at peace not only with your body, but with many other aspects of your life.
8. RECOGNISING THERE'S A PROBLEM AND ASKING FOR HELP IS YOUR FIRST STEP TOWARDS HEALING.
Sharing your struggles with food and your body with someone else, finding someone you can trust and who makes you feel heard and seen (sometimes for the first time) can be very liberating in itself.
Many times eating in secret, and hiding any proof of that, made me feel so stupid and helpless. So, I would try and pretend everything was just fine in front of everyone’s eyes when, in fact, I was screaming inside.
It once seemed impossible to me to do something about it. I just couldn’t face the reality of having an issue and overcome the embarrassment I felt for acting that way.
In my mind, I was also convinced that no one else could be like me. Maybe a small bunch of people were acting the same way as me, but I had absolutely no clue that bingeing and emotional eating were such a common issue.
Surely, it’s time to break the stigma around bingeing and any form of problematic eating.
You expressing what is raw and vulnerable can help your healing.
The more you feel heard, understood and respected in your struggles, the more likely it is you’ll experience some emotional healing.
You may start seeing there is space for you to change what’s causing great suffering in your life at the moment, using your incredible strengths and qualities.
Here’s what people have said about how I helped them
Thanks so much for accommodating me, it was really helpful and enlightening. Overall, I have gained a sense of appreciation for myself and my efforts. That I have been doing well after all and have self-awareness. Thanks for showing me that.
After that, I bought a couple ice cream sandwiches yesterday and this time, I felt excitement and fondness instead of guilt. The ice cream sandwiches remind me of my younger days and my younger brother. Surely, I will enjoy it when I eat them at some point.
I also got myself a bunch of flowers to set near my lunch table because as you said, it is about making an experience out of it.
The part where you said that I should allow myself to fully enjoy really resonated to me and have been applying it to my life when I can.
Will do my best to keep it up.
Thanks for the notes and recipes too!
I guess I never really stopped and reflected before this.
Reflect on how my lack of confidence in many different situations is pushing me to just lose control over what I'm eating.
Surely, one thing that will stay with me is the iceberg.
That image you explained to me. It has helped realise there's so much going on for me. Neither me nor others can see it! At least until now.
Thank you Dona. It was very useful!
How can we work together?
MAKE PEACE WITH FOOD 1:1 COACHING
My signature online coaching service to help you move:
FROM bingeing and overeating on a regular basis, feeling defeated and guilty afterwards.
TO living a life where worry and guilt around food decreases and you can start enjoying it in ways that feel good and kinder to your body.
THE MINDFUL BODY WOMEN CIRCLE
The Circle is open to all women interested in learning and reflecting about their relationship with food and body.
A space to come together and learn by sharing our experiences, ideas and learning new tools to support the relationship with food and body, in a non-judgmental and nurturing environment.