I was brought up on a ‘homemade soup, meat and two veg’ type of diet but with a heavy frosting of sugar – in whatever form I could get it.
Through my 20s and 30s I lived on a diet of coffee, chocolate, wine and stress.
Not a great combination for anyone and certainly not a great combination for me.
Although I’d never have been described as unhealthy, I had many minor issues that showed that my body wasn’t coping with all the rubbish that I was piling in to it.
I was often irritable, anxious, always had spots, bouts of sinusitis, regular headaches, insomnia, cellulite, weight gain, sugar cravings, my stomach was often upset and I’d regularly bloat like a balloon …!
Quite a list!
Despite my love affair with chocolate and my other ‘drugs of choice’, I’d always been aware of the link between food and health.
My Gran was a great one for relating symptoms to eating habits.
For a time in my teens I suffered a thumping headache every morning around 11 o’clock. My Gran new that my ‘no breakfast, Mars Bar on the bus to school’ routine was to blame.
So I started eating a proper breakfast.
Ditched the morning chocolate bar.
And the headaches stopped.
In my early 20s, despite my terrible diet (and daily consumption of cigarettes) I embarked on a 10 day detox plan.
Just to see what happened …
1 day of only apples, 1 day of only grapes, followed by 8 days of raw food, skin brushing and cold showers – it was extreme. I peed like a racehorse, broke out in even more spots and my tongue turned furry and green.
But by day 10 my hair was shining, my eyes were sparkling and my skin was clear of spots for the first time in years. The results were amazing! I felt great.
However, it was ‘just an experiment’ so when it was over I celebrated by cracking open a bottle of Merlot, a family sized box of Maltesers and 20 Marlboro Lights.
Then suddenly I wasn’t 22 any more – I was 40.
I had two children and a fairly keen sense of my own mortality and the ageing process.
I could see where my diet was taking me – and it didn’t look good. I wanted to avoid following my Dad down the road to diabetes.
I also wanted to change my career so I trained as a Nutritional Therapist. The training was fascinating. I began to make some major changes to my diet and … surprise surprise … started to feel a whole lot better.
There even came a point where I was able to get through the day without my usual drip-feed of caffeine and sugar.
It was a revelation!
My skin cleared. I (almost) lost my saddle-bag thighs. I stopped getting sinusitis and conjunctivitis, My joints stopped aching – and my stomach calmed down a bit.
I began to feel a whole lot healthier and happier which must have been obvious to others as it was about that time that random strangers stopped telling me to ‘cheer up love, it might never happen!’.
Then in one scary day in May 2003 I opened my clinic and saw my first client.
I was SO nervous.
My tummy was doing somersaults. But I needn’t have worried. Word spread and it didn’t take long before most of my clients were coming through personal recommendation from clients who had been pleased with their results.
‘You helped my hairdressers’s sister’s son’s girlfriend.’ was the the sort of thing I’d hear regularly.
So it was all good.
Well not quite. I still had a bloated belly – and grumpy guts.
Sometimes I looked pregnant!
Sometimes I felt bagged-up.
Sometimes there was pain. Sometimes there wasn’t. It was unpredictable and frustrating. But it wasn’t just me who was experiencing this.
Most of my clients were describing the same issues too. May had been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. But even if they hadn’t …
The one complaint I heard time and time again was “My stomach gets SO bloated!”
For most clients simple dietary changes made a big difference to their digestion and helped reduce their bloating.
But for others there was obviously something else going on. I began to look at the link between the mind and body. In fact I became so interested in the mind and body connection, and the effects of stress, that I added Clinical and Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy to my skill-set.
I also became more aware of the importance of our bowel flora – something which most doctors overlook.
I tweaked my diet some more, made some changes to my thinking and my lifestyle, found ways to support my digestion … and began to notice a difference.
My gut calmed down and the bloating got less and less until it really wasn’t a problem any more.
So fast-forward to 2017 – I’ve seen 1000s of clients and been teaching people how to treat IBS and stop bloating for years.
My wise old Gran (she of the migraine from a Mars Bar story) used to tell me to ‘Be a teacher. You’ll get the school holidays.’ At 18 I had no interest in that – but it turns out that my Gran must have known a thing or two because I seem to have accidentally become just that – a teacher.
Not a teacher in the sense that my Gran intended.
I’m not standing in front of a class of kids.
And the holidays are rubbish.
But I am teaching.
And I love it!
I love helping people make a shift from confusion to clarity.
From … “I’ve no idea what’s causing this.” to … ” Well that makes so much sense. Why has no one explained that to me before?”
I get a total buzz seeing someone have that lightbulb moment – and hearing that I taught someone something that helped make a difference to their health and happiness is the icing on the cake. (Haha – still a sugar-fiend!!)
So why LOVETUM?
It’s quite simple really.
When enough people tell you ‘you should write this stuff down’ you start to listen.
A quick Google search made it obvious that there’s very little good quality help online for anyone struggling with a bloated belly.
There’s a fair amount of click-bait – you may have seen it. Click on ’12 ways to stop bloating’ to get 12 pretty pictures, very little information about bloating and a load of pointless ads.
There are some professional health sites with a page dedicated to bloating but the advice is often incomplete, impersonal and way too dry to be engaging.
The steps I teach are not rocket science. In fact, most of them are just good old-fashioned common sense.
But they worked for me.
And they have worked for many of my clients too.
So LOVETUM is my way of sharing all that I’ve learned about guts and bellies and bloating … (and all the crazy malarkey that goes with them) with a much wider audience.
And my hope is that LOVETUM becomes the go-to place for anyone suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome or a bloated belly.
So welcome to LOVETUM.
I hope you find it helpful.