Right, where do I even start with this one? An Instagram post was never going to fully explain this so I figured it was a good opportunity to revisit my blog and blow away some cobwebs around here. On a side note, I am very excited to get back in to proper blogging. I started my blog about seven years ago when I found out I was pregnant on Billy. It was an outlet for me to write, to share and to connect with people. This might sound a bit daft, but I feel like I was always going to be a blogger. From a young age I was writing stories and drawing pictures about what I had done or what I was planning to do. An eternal over-sharer, that’s me. Anyway, Instagram then became a thing and my blogging moved in that direction. But I’m bringing back the blog so watch this space because I plan on filling it with tonnes of words from now on.

OK, so Mindful Eating. I don’t want to get in to it in much detail because I’ve very much put it all behind me, but I feel the need to touch on my very recent (and very painful) experience of online bullying/trolling/hate. It was (and is) a personal attack on me and that much I know for certain. If you want to know what I’m talking about I have two IGTV videos that explain the whole thing and you can watch by clicking here. The reason I am referencing it is because one of the areas of my life that the bullies targeted (and they targeted every area/topic/person in my life) is my recent passion project Mindful Eating Ireland. They said that I was unqualified, cheeky and “preying on the vulnerable” (which some of my “members” were extremely offended by actually. They’re far from vulnerable, they’re badass). So I guess I wanted to take this opportunity to explain why that is a complete pile of poo.

Let’s start by explaining what is is. This could all get a bit dear diary so I won’t go in to too many details about my own journey but I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have had a weightloss journey. I lost about six stone in total and for the most part I’ve managed to keep it off for a couple of years now. I’ve had ups, downs and a pregnancy in between but I’ve found a sense of balance and perhaps more importantly a deep sense of knowing myself that has served me infinitely. I lost weight with the help of a weightloss organization and I found the support and ritual around going every week so important. However, I definitely did my own version of the “plan” and moreso enjoyed the social interaction and accountability of going every week.

I later went on to pursue a career with that same weightloss organization purely steeped in a deep yearning to help other people “see the light”. The truth is that losing weight opened so many doors for me. It was the beginning of a new and very peaceful chapter in my life where, despite bad times being inevitable, I felt I could conquer them. I had this massive sense of belief in myself because I had finally done the thing that I had spent a good 10 years telling myself that I couldn’t do.

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So it's been a while since I've mentioned #weightloss here, but I'm completely overwhelmed (in a good way) by the reaction to my stories today. I spoke about the fact that losing 5 stone, for me, meant finding tools to combat comfort eating once and for all. It meant finding a way to move away from secret eating, binge eating and self sabotage to a place of self love and acceptance. I had to love myself as much at 16 stone as I did at 10. It was and continues to be a journey that requires constant compassion for me, myself and I. I am constantly working on myself to ensure that my relationship with food stays positive. Food is now a joy in my life in so many ways, but I have to consciously pay attention to make sure it doesn't become the enemy again. I've never tried an illegal drug in my life, but food was my drug. I was completely addicted, strung out & constantly in search of that high. The high that buried my feelings, allowed me to be the class clown and masked anything that resembled true emotion. I've learnt so much through this journey and a chunk of it involved working in a job that directly helped people to lose weight. I made the decision to move away from that but I always had and still do have a genuine urge to help other people lose weight, maintain it or at least make healthier choices. Now that I'm a mother my approach has changed and I don't follow a plan as such, but I have found ways to enjoy a balanced life where I can finally have a Dominos or a Spice Bag without bathing in guilt and comfort eating for days and weeks afterwards. I'm no longer on that hamster wheel. I allow myself to feel and to heal. I don't disguise my feelings with the quick high from food. I want to find a way to help other people but I'm conscious of my time being very scarce these days between working and family life. I expressed an interest in setting up some kind of virtual support group and the interest has blown me away. I still have no idea how it will work. Perhaps it could be a weekly Instagram live? I am conscious that not everyone who follows me here will have an interest in healthy eating. So I'd love your input. Would you be interested if I set something up?

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I’m not going to lie and say that weightloss for me was purely connected to the emotional because it wasn’t. I didn’t view it as an opportunity to heal from the inside out, but that is what happened. The plan I followed helped you lose weight, plain and simple. The “healing” however was very much down to a couple of other things.

  1. My mother. I did so much “work” with my mam regarding my eating habits. She showed me how to love myself in a deep and powerful way that replaced my addiction to comfort eating/secret eating/bingeing/guilt with the realization that life had so much more to offer me than the pleasure of food. We did lots of work on my inner child, actual self care and I learnt so much about gratitude (particularly for my body) and the law of attraction.
  2. Counselling. I ended up enjoying counselling so much that I’m fairly sure my counsellor had to break up with me. We did lots of work on the reasons why I was comfort eating and so powerfully addicted to food. I’ve never done a drug in my life but I was categorically addicted to the high that food gave me. I craved it, I searched for it and it was my dirty little secret.
  3. New friendships. I realized how co-dependent I had become on the wrong people in many instances. I started to go to playgroups and events that afforded me the opportunity to meet like-minded people. People that were warm and normal. People that were on “my level” in terms of a normal balanced life. I guess at this stage I was actively walking away from diet culture. I’m a foodie and most of my friends are foodies too. I didn’t want food to be an awkward or intense topic. I just wanted food to be food.

To cut a long story short, when you lose weight you are not “fixed”. Firstly because you were never broken. You were always whole. When you lose weight you are wearing a new jacket. Your body’s physicality changes but your spirit does not. You are the same person regardless of the skin you are in. That doesn’t mean you’re not a more confident happier version of that person, but it’s still you. That is a wonderful thing. On the flipside it can come with challenges.

All diets work. God I hate that word and the fact that it has the word “die” in it really jumps out at me now. But they all work. They are all designed to help you eat less calories daily but they do so in different contexts and with different accountability techniques. Whatever works for you is brilliant. There is only so much they can help you with emotionally though. What happens for a lot of people is that weight loss happens, life interferes, guilt strikes and they end up at a larger weight than they were before they tried the plan in the first place.

I saw this time and time again as a weightloss consultant but on a heart level I experienced it so deeply in my own life. I thought a smaller sized dress would fix my profoundly emotional issues with food but it didn’t. I felt the very same until I addressed those issues in the ways I mentioned above. That is when the real transformation happened. I had to heal from the inside out to address the reasons why I had such a toxic relationship with food in the first place.

Through my own Instagram I would regularly talk about this and there was always a huge level of interest. I’ve always had an intense longing to help people heal in the way that I did but I didn’t see how I could do that. Eventually I decided to start doing weekly Instagram Live videos and the interest levels blew me away. I was getting incredible messages from people who were having “penny drop” and “aha” moments after the videos and it felt like…. a calling. That’s the only way I can describe it. It feels like I’m supposed to help people in this way.

I quickly found the weekly lives quite overwhelming. I wanted to take them seriously and help as many as people as possible but I was having to stay up until 1.30/2am the night before getting my day job work done so I could use Willow’s nap to do the live video. It was all getting a bit much and I realized that I just couldn’t manage it. I decided to set up a private Facebook page so people could share their meal ideas and thoughts with like minded people. Through that page I started getting private messages asking would I be doing more live videos and if I could help them. That is where the four week “journey” began.

I put it out there on the Facebook page to see would anyone be interested in a more formal approach to me sharing my tips with them. Four weeks. a weekly motivational Zoom video with me and a Whatsapp group to share revelations and meal ideas with the other people in the group. Groups would be max 15 people so that everyone had enough time and attention. Once again I couldn’t believe the interest level. I am now in to month three of these four week journeys and they have been eye-opening for me. Being able to help people make food a positive force in their lives is an honour. I’ve met so many incredible people and formed so many meaningful connections. The best part has been the friendships that have blossomed in each journey group. I call it a journey because this is lifelong learning. To me a “course” is short term and a quick injection of change. This is gentle and long-lasting.

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The incredible artist is @andrea.tolaini. I want to say thank you for creating such a beautiful image that resonated with me so much. A friend sent this to me and it spoke to me with the kind of ferocity that only the truths in life can do. To me this represents taking care of ourselves on a heart level. Looking after our inner child and helping ourselves grow. Just like a plant we need certain things to grow, rise and blossom. To me it also represents mindfulness. Look at her position. She's not rushing anywhere. She's not even dressed. She's at her purest and paying attention to what she needs. She's checking in with herself and nourishing the most important person in her world. She's caring for herself like she would a child. Sometimes it's easier to imagine ourselves in our inner child form because it makes it a lot easier to pay attention to and help ourselves. The relationship we have with ourselves is the most important relationship of all. You wouldn't ignore a child. You wouldn't tell them to fend for themselves or just get on with it. You would ask, you would listen and you would stare lovingly at their innocence. You would help them pave the way. You would tell them they were important and they absolutely wouldn't be an afterthought. Check in with yourself as often as you can. Ask yourself what you need and make a plan to move closer to that in a way that makes sense. Do it unapologetically and remember when you feel good the people in your life get the best of you. Let that motivate you too ⭐

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So if you’re wondering how I’m qualified to facilitate this journey I’ll tell you a bit about myself. If you are reading this and you’re thinking “wow, I would never pay Tracey €30” for this 4 week journey then the reality is I am absolutely not qualified in your eyes and that’s OK too. But what I’ve learned is that people are invested in people. I’m not a dietitian or a nutritionist. I’m also certainly not a doctor. That’s why I’m not interested in telling people what they should eat.

What I am is a person who has accumulated a lot of knowledge and wisdom on a subject that is damaging so many people and I want to help as many as I can. The 4 week journey is about making food a positive force in your life. It’s not specific to those who want to lose weight (although it’s helping people in this way too).It’s not about a food plan. It’s about deep healing, self care and the fact that food (and your relationship with it) affects EVERYTHING in your life. The revelations have been so completely inspiring that I don’t for one second doubt my abilities. I know I was born to help people do this.

In a weird way I also think every course I’ve ever done and random job I’ve pursued has helped me build a skill-level that makes perfect sense for mindful eating. When you mix together my own weightloss journey (and extensive training as a weightloss coach/consultant), my degree in Philosophy, my writing (I have a degree in English too) and my recent Life Coach training, it just makes sense. I’ve never needed to talk myself in to this role. It has literally followed me and the reality is that when all the signs are pointing in one direction and people are ASKING you for help, you have to try and follow that. I think we are all born to serve and the greatest gift in life is knowing that your words or wisdom have had a positive affect on someone else.

So in a nut-shell that is what Mindful Eating is. As I said above if you don’t see me as qualified to help you then the reality is I am not. Plain and simple. This is one of those “moments” in my life that just makes sense. It’s part of me becoming a life coach (more on that another time) and helping people live a happier healthier life. I’ve learned from the best and if I can help 10% of the people that my mam has then I’ll be a very fulfilled person.

I’d like to thank my two mentors – The Lifetime Coach and of course my lovely mam Maureen Mahon. Both have started up a fantastic Facebook page with their friend Audrey all about The Law Of Attraction which you can join here if it’s your thing.

If you would like to join my private Facebook group about Mindful Eating you can join here, and if the 4 week journey is calling you then I’m starting a new one on Monday 3rd August which you can sign up for here.

And I’ll finish by saying that you can be anything you want in this world. Follow your dreams, be authentic, make things happen and remember that not everybody will be your biggest cheerleader but the most important thing is that you are your very own cheerleading squad.

Thanks for listening – I’ll leave you with some testimonials from some lovely people who have completed the four week journey with me.

Tracey

Testimonials

Tracey’s Mindful Eating Journey and Tracey came into my life at the perfect time. It has been so much then I ever thought it would be. Tracey has a gift where she knows exactly what to say and at the right time. She just is such a motivational and powerful speaker. Our weekly zoom sessions have genuinely become one of my favourite hours of the week and is now part of my self-care “me” time. I can’t recommend this journey enough, it has thought me to enjoy food and not constantly be putting food into good and bad brackets. It has completely changed not only my relationship with food but how I see myself and how I treat myself. Thank you so much Tracey for believing in yourself to start this journey and help so many people along their way x

The mindfulness eating journey was so much more than I thought it would be . I have struggled for years with my relationship with food. This journey has taught me so much, I am back enjoying cooking again, eating foods I like and want to eat without feeling guilty which I can honestly say is the best feeling. I am enjoying my food again and taking time to sit down and properly taste it and enjoy all the feelings that come with it. Tracey is an amazing lady who understands as she has been there.

Hi Tracey,Just a quick line to thank you for all the help.I have found the last couple of weeks so helpful. You are so welcoming, caring, and full of knowledge and tools to help.I have found this programme so useful whether it be, mindfulness, support on a tough day, recipes and most of all it has helped me so much to change how I think about food. I’m now beginning to leave the guilt associated with certain food behind me.The week zooms really keep me going and focused on been the best version of me that I can be.Thanks so much, Trish.

I know exactly what I need to do to loose weight but havent been able to get my head in the right place…Traceys mindful eating journey has put me on a very different journey to one iv been on before….I would definitely reccomend and encourage others that struggle with food to try themselves x