This is by far my most emotional and vulnerable blog.

Six years ago I went back to New Zealand in winter and it was cold. The chronic pain I had thought was just normal aches increasingly overwhelmed my body until I was so tight and stiff I could not straighten my leg. I needed help to open jars, I would have warm baths for comfort and I would take pain killers to go to sleep. It was the first time I realised that something was wrong.

At 25 I found myself in a muscular skeletal doctor’s office being told my bloods had confirmed a gene linked to ankylosing spondylitis, an arthritis of the spine, the prognosis eventual fusion of the spine and sacroiliac joint and possible wheelchair bound. I was referred to a rheumatologist to confirm and decide my treatment. Steroids and drugs to slow the progress for a condition that has no cure.

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I left my corporate management job to do what I loved, working in health and fitness, only to return to the corporate world for my shared love of leadership. We decided to try for kids given fusion of the pelvis would make it increasingly difficult as time went on

I still remember the day, overwhelmed with this new fate, contemplating giving up my fitness, contemplating not being able to run around the back yard with my kids, having this pain that would never go away, I just broke down. I grabbed a coffee, the warm mug easing the pain in my hands, and for some reason I picked up ‘Profile Magazine’. There was an article on an inspiring young woman healing her body through natural therapies. Conventional medicine had not healed her cancer, it had returned so she was searching for alternatives.

It was suddenly like a light was turned on. I am not ‘arthritis’. I will not give away my power to this dark cloud to rule my life. I will take responsibility for my life, my health, my career and my happiness.

Well I then threw myself wholeheartedly into finding a cure for my life.  On top of my Personal Training and Management background I went on to study, life coaching, workplace coaching, executive coaching and nutritional therapy. I researched no end of info as my passion came alight.

I then completely overhauled my nutrition, mindset and career. It started with giving up sugar. I then decided to put myself first, being kind in my words to myself, moving from perfectionist to progressionist and reducing stress in my life. I then healed my gut through increasing probiotic foods, reducing foods that fueled pathogenic bacteria and started nourishing my body with the healing of bone broths. As my healing continued, my body switched from using carbohydrates as a fuel source back to its natural state of using fats.

My body’s requirement for sleep decreased, my energy sky rocketed, my stress levels were nonexistent, my pain and stiffness unnoticeable and I started to wonder if I was limitless.

Well on Sunday, I set out to prove to myself, that I am not arthritis, I am not stress, I am not anxiety or depression. I am a mum, I am a wife, a friend and a leader.

On Sunday I decided to trust my body. To believe. To back myself, by running a marathon – and I did.

I now want everyone to believe and trust their body, to have faith that you are capable of so much more. Through nutrition, mindset and career you can protect your body from burning out. I want every women to put herself first, not last, so she can be the best for her family, friends and colleagues.

What are you going to do today to put yourself first?