I started my challenge knowing exactly what I wanted to achieve but I knew it wasn’t going to be easy… I wanted to stop pretending that I’m strong and actually feel strong within.
When I walked out of my four-month abusive marriage, I didn’t know I was strong. I only knew I had to get out. There were a number of times when I prayed and thanked God for keeping me alive after some of the attacks. So making it through the challenge, and finding out I am strong, was such a big deal to me.
Being the person I am, who hates to show her weak side (it’s an awful trait but I can’t help it), I couldn’t face the fact I was being abused. So even after I left, I wouldn’t admit I was broken. I did what I could under the circumstances and carried on with my life. That is, until I started the Life Challenge – the help, support and motivation I received was indescribable… all those amazing experts were there to help get me back up. The Life Challenge offered help and a chance to change, but I had to reveal all in order to move on. I had to get it out, deal with it head on and face it. There was no more pretending… I had to tell the truth and show how vulnerable and weak I really was.
Life coaching was the part I was most thrilled about and afraid of at the same time. I knew if I could fix my head, everything else would fall into place – I would take care of myself, I would stop the physical pain from months of going back and forth to the hospital because of my stomach (stress was the boss of me). I knew I would start exercising… I’ve always been active – for crying out loud I manage four recreational facilities. So, once I started life coaching, I started to gain back some sense. It was a wakeup call to stop all the nonsense I had been running through my head for a long time, which was stopping me from being who I really am. Patricia helped me cross to the other side. I got to know a lot about myself – most importantly I know I will get all I want because good things come to those who wait, and I believe that now. I just needed to dust off that experience and move on to a much better future and life.
To a lot of people it was a shock to know that I’ve kept all of this hidden so well, but the support I received was unbelievable – from my family, my friends, my colleagues and even now strangers who recognised my face from the magazine. I was very lucky to have the opportunity of having help for different aspects of my life. Patricia and Sarah were both very patient with me, I can never thank them enough for their help. I opened up and I can’t describe how liberating it feels. I will always carry Patricia in my heart; I know if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have made it through this.
My second hardest thing was my eating habits, they have been a complete mess for over a year, it’s a known fact when you are under a lot of emotional stress, you either eat too much or don’t eat at all. For me it was the latter. When I got married, I was cooking every single day and I wanted to be on good terms with the kitchen because. But with time I was left drained and I lost my appetite for everything – the first was food. With Sarah’s help, I’ve made it back to cooking for myself. I resisted hard at the beginning but, as Sarah told me later, I was not used to preparing food for myself. Also, I was eating junk all the time as a way to punish myself – I won’t deny it. I felt like a failure… I failed to cook rare to medium steak. I failed to cut the tomatoes the right size. I failed to bring up a certain subject in the right way…. Ultimately I failed to keep my marriage! Obviously I was dead wrong about everything, all of that was B.C. – “Before the Challenge” – and now I have a healthy positive attitude towards myself and my eating. I always keep a healthy snack with me, so even if I forget to eat, I make sure not to binge later on. Sarah took baby steps with me and made it very easy for me with her advice and continuous guidance. Thanks to her I have healthy eating habits and I renewed my friendship with the kitchen… we are both very happy now! I have a lovely spacious kitchen and it is a waste not to use it.
Once I started taking care of my mind and what I put in my body, it was time to start looking at my fitness routine. I’ve been on a yo-yo workout plan for months – I go full force for a few weeks thinking that I’m getting myself back on track only to crumble shortly after. So this time, while vowing to take good care of myself, I started working out regularly. Vanessa and Adjany at Fitness First Abu Dhabi are both great trainers… very supportive and motivating. I’m loving how toned I have become, and how healthy I feel.
It was an exhausting process in a good way, and I’ll definitely miss it. I already miss Patricia and saying goodbye to Sarah the other week was hard as she is such a lovely woman – very softly spoken. I have a lot of respect for these women, as I do for Kate, Louisa and the entire team who worked on the Life Challenge. They have been awesome throughout everything… thank you for the experience of a life time.
My journey wasn’t easy but it was worth it. It wasn’t easy to put myself out there, but I enjoyed it and I enjoyed being out of my comfort zone. Now that the life challenge is over, I find myself more open and accepting to change. Again, everything is happening at the right time – in the same way that the Life Challenge came along at the right time, it is ending at the right time, too. The difference is that I am not the same person. I have changed. I surround myself with good people, who anyone would wish to have in their life, and I am very aware of the blessings I have and thankful. I feel truly blessed and very lucky.
P.s I got me back – and got an even better version!