When I created balance it was because I wanted to build a business that helped people, one that had strong values at it's core and did some good. My work has led to me meeting others who share this passion for helping people. One such lady I met recently, Alison. She runs a photography business with a real difference, it's purpose to help ladies with low self-esteem, whatever the reason and use photography as a tool to help them see the best of themselves, boost their confidence and make them a bit happier. I have to say I think it's an awesome idea and shares so much in common with what I do with clients through balance. Here's Alison's story.
I would never in a million years have believed how much my life has turned around in just over a year!
I am a serial dieter who is ‘celebrating’ forty years of yoyo dieting this year and something I’m not remotely proud of. I consider myself to be an intelligent, well-educated woman so why do I not have the self-control to maintain a healthy weight for a relative shorty – 5’ 3”. My excuses are legendary… I’m too tired to think about what to eat, can’t be bothered, it’s not fair that other people seem to eat what they like but not put weight on and so it goes on.
I’m an expert on every diet in the known universe, actually pretty knowledgeable about good nutrition and I’ve successfully lost weight so many times that I’ve lost count. I feel much better when I’m ‘trim’, it’s a huge confidence boost and I feel so much happier about myself which lulls me in to a false sense of security and gradually all the weight creeps back on. So I bury my head in the sand and try to ignore the ever tighter clothes, cranky joints and general dissatisfaction with everything until something flips the switch in my head and yet again I get to grips with my unhealthy eating and off we go on the roughly four to five year cycle.
What I also have to admit is that I don’t like exercise! That said, I’m not a total couch potato because we have always had Labradors, lots of them, and I’ve walked miles and miles over the years but obviously not enough to keep my weight under control and maintain a balance between eating and exercise!
So what’s happened in the last year? Well in January 2014 I offered to keep a friend company on a Breast Cancer Care Pink Ribbon Walk at Blenheim Palace. Plenty of time to get myself together as it wasn’t until May – or so I thought. At the beginning of April I panicked…the realisation that 20-miles wasn’t going to be quite as easy as I thought, despite the fact that I thought of myself as a ‘walker’. And I was probably the heaviest I had been for years. So the humiliation of letting my friend down was worse than the humiliation of appearing at the local gym in the biggest T-shirt and jogging bottoms I could find and saying ‘I have a 20 mile charity walk to complete in six weeks time. I hate exercise…HELP!’
Thankfully, the gym owner took this as a personal challenge and worked with me over the following weeks to get me prepared! One of the first things he told me was ‘forget fat, think fit, don’t weigh yourself, and just eat well but sensibly’. So for the first time in my life I didn’t get on the scales at every opportunity and tried to stop focusing on food. Regular sessions, three to four times a week, of about 40-45 minutes under the beady eye of my gym guru did the trick and I actually did the walk and survived it remarkably well!
So I continued with my gym sessions and to my surprise I realised that my body shape was changing and I felt pretty good. By Christmas I knew I had lost a lot of weight, and felt much healthier for it, but I still couldn’t see the change when I looked in mirror.
Over the Christmas holidays my photographer husband persuaded me to model for him so he could test some new lighting equipment. Like most women I hate having my photograph taken, so I wasn’t very gracious with my agreement. Curiosity got the better of me a couple of days after the shoot, and I took a look at the results. ‘They’re OK’ was my initial reaction, but I took another look the following day…and another, until it finally dawned on me that I actually quite liked what I was seeing. He had made me look pretty good! Well actually getting fit and as a result becoming much trimmer was the first thing that made me look and feel better about myself. I realised that my self-esteem had been at rock bottom for years and suddenly I was feeling like a new woman.
It occurred to me that if a few photos could work wonders for me, then why couldn’t they do the same for other women. So at 59 years old, after lots of planning and discussions with other women, we launched Esteem Visions, a new genre of portrait photography for women with self-esteem, confidence and body image issues.
As a result of my new venture I met Paul from Balance Weight Loss. If only he had been available to me years ago, it could have saved me so much angst and set me on the right track for life. Moderation has become my mantra, which in itself brings about the balance between being healthy, fit, a sensible weight and happy. I’m no stick insect, never will be, and have always felt that I was ‘built for comfort, not for speed!’
Paul’s guidance and motivation along with the visual images we create at Esteem Visions are powerful tools for creating a happy and balanced future and it’s now my mission to help other women feel as great as I do! I have every intention of growing old ‘very disgracefully’!
If you want to know more about Esteem Visions and speak to Alison, check out her website here: