HELLO! I'M VICKY.
Certified Health Coach, Certified Yoga Teacher and Chartered Physiotherapist
Hopefully you're here because you are ready to get curious about how you can make lifestyle changes to improve your health and wellbeing. When it comes to health, wellbeing and human behaviour I am fascinated. I am forever reading, listening and learning about how the various systems of the body operate and how our genes, the environment and our lifestyles interact - in health and in disease.
I graduated from Kings College London in 2001 with a first class degree in Physiotherapy and spent 12 years working in the NHS and private sector specialising in sports rehabilitation, women's health and pain management. I loved physiotherapy but always had a nagging frustration that I couldn't address clients from a truly holistic perspective. So, when I took a career break to have my three children I saw it as the perfect opportunity to retrain and take my career in a new direction. I completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training program and the Women's Health Coach Certification Program and I now work exclusively as a Health Coach and Yoga Teacher.
Throughout my career I have always strived to empower clients to become experts in their own health and advocates for their own wellbeing. I don't value quick fixes. I take a functional medicine approach to health and aim for sustainable results by addressing the root cause of clients symptoms. I've learnt that simply telling clients what to do does not work so my approach focuses on HOW you are going to take the action needed to meet your goals. To help you design an action plan that works for you, I need to really get to know you and that is what I love most about my job!
When I'm not exploring all things 'health' I am a busy mum to Charlotte, Chloe and Harry and wife to Andrew. As a family, we love getting active in the beautiful Kent countryside and when I get time to myself I enjoy practicing yoga, cycling and running and walking with friends.
If you'd like to know more about my own struggle with health, read My Story below.
MY HEALTH STORY
I get your struggle
This is my story of why I’ve learnt to value my health and why I’d love to help you if you want to look after yours too.
I’ve always loved competing in sport and keeping myself strong and fit so despite having regular headaches, migraines, no menstrual cycle, polycystic ovaries and low grade anxiety I always considered myself ‘healthy’.
My dad died from cancer when I was 16. At the time, my mum, sisters and I got through it like warriors. We carried on with school, functioned brilliantly in life and didn’t let it break us. At least that’s what I thought we were doing. As it turned out, I think it did break me. I don’t think I was in denial of my dad’s death but I was absolutely in denial about any feelings I had around it. I just stuffed them away in a dark box, deep inside my body. So from the age of 16, I instinctively learnt that the easiest way to get through life and its challenges was to detach myself from my inner feelings and stay positive and upbeat (in public at least). Any feelings that did try to surface I would suffocate with food - mainly sugary stuff which temporarily filled my emptiness. At the time, I wasn’t aware of what I was doing, I was happy most of the time so I just thought I was greedy but now I know I was filling a void and numbing my pain, loneliness, shame and vulnerability with anything tasty enough to distract me from the truth.
I tell my story because I know that numbing life’s pain is familiar to many of us. Whether it’s sugar, drugs, alcohol, food, smoking, shopping, gambling, Netflix, over working, over exercising…or any other tempting behaviour, when the going gets tough most of us are seduced by some sort of ‘feel good’ activity that makes us feel better in the moment. And this is perfectly normal. Our brains are brilliantly designed to seek pleasure and rewards but the trouble comes when these pleasurable behaviours become destructive and cause us pain. Over coming the craving to break enjoyable habits is not always easy but that’s because we usually rely on will power alone. Instead, we need to be clever about it and first get curious about and face up to the emotions we might be running away from. This isn't an overnight job and might require the specialist support and skills of a psychotherapist but it's a very important step in creating lasting change. Then we can work out some tiny, easy and enjoyable steps that will over time, snowball into a sustainable habit.
For me, substituting my feelings with sugar left me feeling physically beaten and emotionally depressed. I’d feel shame and self hatred and then punish myself with tough workouts and days of eating just broccoli. It took a decade of this self destructive behaviour for me to notice that, despite my physical fitness I wasn’t healthy and I certainly wasn’t happy.
Luckily, one day in 2008 I decided enough was enough. I didn’t want to feel rubbish anymore and I didn’t want to destroy my body, after all, I was desperate to be a mum one day so I wanted to look after myself and feel positive again. After lots of research into disordered eating and over exercising I quickly recognised how I had been using food to manipulate my feelings and exercise to punish my body. Noticing unfamiliar emotions made me realise how wildly out of touch I was with who I was and how I felt about life. I had very little self compassion and I was oblivious to what me or my body needed. Now I can see that these two ingredients are crucial to good health. We need to be able to listen to our body’s natural intelligence to know what we need and we need a healthy dose of self love, compassion and understanding to chose behaviours that meet those needs and allow us to thrive and flourish.
I share this because I don’t think I’m the only person to lack the self awareness, self compassion and habit hacking skills to chose lifestyles and behaviours that are nurturing and kind to their body and mind. Lots of us are disconnected from how we feel and what we really want and so we end up living a life based on what society values and expects of us rather than what is most important to us as individuals. We are all so unique and have unique contributions to make to the world, so when we live a life based on what we (or others) think we ‘should' be doing rather than what we want to be doing, we create resistance in our mind and our bodies and that resistance can have a seriously corrosive impact our physical and mental health.
I now live a very healthful life but it's not because I know how to eat, sleep or exercise in the right way. I knew most of that in my twenties. What has changed is that I am now aware of how I am feeling and what I am thinking and as a result, I am able to recognise what I need and when I am making the best choices for myself. It's taken years and I don't get it right all the time of course. I'm thrown off course by the same distractions, temptations and pressures that you are but I'm pleased to say that I am infinitely kinder and gentler on myself now.
I love health coaching because it is such a unique opportunity to address health from a truly integrative ‘mind-body’ perspective. I love that I can help you consider the spectrum of factors that could be contributing to your health and wellbeing and then create a plan based on what is important to you - not me!
For me, psychotherapy, yoga and meditation helped create more inner peace and acceptance in my life and this was my catalyst for better health. For others it might be an engaging exercise program, a simple nutrition strategy, a career change, recognising their purpose or a realisation of what they truly value in life. There are so many scenarios that could create the impetus to make changes that support better health and I can't wait
to help you discover what is yours...