Hello, I am the Founder of The WeightMatters Practice and have 25 years experience of supporting clients with weight, food, eating and body issues.
My early struggle with weight
My relationship with food and my body has been complex. I was born a large baby at 11lbs 11oz, and nicknamed ‘Samson’; consequently becoming very aware of my size early on. As an overweight child and into my adult years, food was not only about hunger, it was my friend and emotional comfort. Conversely, it brought me pain as I gained weight. Little did I know that this conflicted relationship with food and my body would be a journey that twisted through my life, leading to me opening The WeightMatters Practice nine years ago.
As a boy of eight, I developed binge eating disorder. A troubled relationship with my father, that was void of affection and nurturing, was a core factor that shaped my relationship with food and eating. When I was hurting and in pain, I would reach for food to soothe me. I would eat large quantities of food very fast, in secret, and feel guilty and ashamed afterwards. Bullying at school because of my size didn’t help.
My relationship with food and my body has been complex
How binge eating dominated my life
I soon learned to laugh at my own fatness – it made the insults hurt a little less. The taunts I heard from others became voices in my own head. I started to believe that I was fat, unattractive and weak because of my size. I was very unhappy and my eating disorder became a habit, a way for me to survive when life became tough. By the time I was 17, I weighed in at 19 stones and 7 pounds (124Kg) and had a 44-inch waist.
In my twenties I worked as a studio Instructor and personal trainer, which ignited my metabolism, and as a result I lost weight. My binge eating was still present, but was now being masked by the purging of calories through exercise. I started to feel attractive, but I was still very critical of my body shape. I would negatively compare myself to men and other instructors. The taunting critical voices from my childhood were still with me.
It was not until my late twenties that thoughts of my future came into focus. I had always been a thinker, and after embracing self-help literature, I decided to embark on a Psychology degree. This engaged my mind and opened the door to therapy. This was a time of much personal growth and I decided to train as a psychosynthesis therapist, and then as a life coach. My binge eating was still around, and it troubled me.
I knew that eating, emotions and how I dealt with stressful situations were all interlinked
My passion behind WeightMatters
I had seen dieticians and nutritionists, counsellors and therapists, but nobody was able to deal with my eating issues. They all gave me good information, but it seemed like fragmented parts of a jigsaw puzzle. I knew that eating, emotions and how I dealt with stressful situations were all interlinked, but none of the professionals I saw were able to see the ‘big picture’ needed for my recovery.
Finally, I saw a specialist eating disorder therapist, who helped me understand how my eating behaviour was a mechanism to deal with stress and difficult emotions. My binge eating had been a symptom all along, a survival mechanism to use in place of my missing social and emotional development. It was essential for me to work with the sensitive interplay of psychological and nutritional interventions, to help me understand and recover from my binge eating.
On a weight management course a ‘light bulb’ switched on in my mind. I suddenly felt inspired and driven to use my knowledge and experience in supporting others with food and weight issues. I hungrily studied any psychological and nutritional course I could find about eating behavior. Having worked in psychology, nutrition and exercise I was aptly placed to deal with clients with weight and body issues.
However, I began to recognise that something was missing. I wanted to really understand and connect with my clients at a depth that facilitated authentic and enduring change. My psychotherapy training in Transactional Analysis has given me the psychodynamic underpinning I needed, and allowed me to integrate my years of training and experience.
WeightMatters has been a natural progression in my journey. I wanted to create a place where people feel heard and understood, so they could bring and resolve their issues around weight, eating, food and body image. I believe it is the combination of psychological and nutritional therapies that make WeightMatters a truly innovative and successful practice.
DAYS I’M AVAILABLE AT WeightMATTERS
Here are the days I can see you in person or connect with you remotely
QUALIFICATIONS & TRAINING
- 2016 Neurotransmitter Balance– Anthony Haynes, Clinical Education
- 2016 Eating Disorders: Developing a Gold Standard Service– Professor Ulrike Schmidt, Healthcare Conferences UK
- 2015 CBT for Eating Disorders Professor– Glenn Waller, Stanton Psychological
- 2015 Men Get Eating Disorders Too Conference– Attendee
- 2015 Professional Excellence Workshop– The Berne Institute
- 2015 Metabolic Balance Coach Training– Metabolic Balance UK
- 2015 Losing Sleep: How Therapeutic Techniques can Help– Dr David Lee, nscienceUK 2014 A New Approach for Working with Bodies– Today Susie Orbach, nscienceUK
- 2013 UKATA National Conference– Attendee
- 2012 Eating Disorders in Adults– Royal College of Nursing
- 2012 International Eating Disorder Conference– Attendee
- 2012 UKATA National Conference– Attendee
- 2012 Anxiety Traps: CBT Antidotes– Christine Padetsky, CognitiveWorkshops
- 2011 Understanding and Treating Disturbed Body Image in Eating Disorders– South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
- 2011 Taster Day Counselling Skills for working with Children– The Place 2 Be
- 2012 Working with Couples– Wealden College
- 2011 – 2014 UKCP Accredited Advanced Clinical Training in Transactional Analysis Counselling & Psychotherapy– Wealden College
- 2011 TA 101 Course– Wealden College
- 2010 UKCP Accredited Foundation Course in Transactional Analysis Counselling & Psychotherapy– Wealden College
- 2011 Eating Disorders in Sport– National Centre for Eating Disorders in Sport (NCEDS)
- 2010 International Eating Disorder Conference– Attendee
- 2010 The Treatment of Inpatients with an Eating Disorder– South London & Maudsley Trust
- 2011 Caring for Carers– National Centre for Eating Disorders
- 2009 Bariatric Surgery, Nutrition for Obese Clients & Gut Health– National Centre for Eating Disorders
- 2008 Practitioner Training in Eating Disorders– National Centre for Eating Disorders
- 2008 Nutritional Interventions for Eating Disorders– National Centre for Eating Disorders
- 2007 Childhood Obesity & Eating Disorders– National Centre for Eating Disorders
- 2006 Binge Eating within Obesity– National Centre for Eating Disorders
- 2006 Essential Obesity– National Centre for Eating Disorders
- 2005 Weight Management & Nutrition– Lifeline Fitness
- 2004 Weight Management Coaching– SmartShape
- 2002 Diploma in Psychosynthesis Counselling and Therapy Psychosynthesis & Education Trust
- 2001 Diploma in Life Coaching– Life Coaching Academy
- 2001 BSc Psychology– London Guildhall University
MEMBERSHIP OF PROFESSIONAL BODIES
- United Kingdom Association of Transactional Analysts (UKATA)
- BEAT Professional Network Member
- NCFED Affiliate Member
HOW I OFFER PSYCHOTHERAPY
I work with clients across the UK, and around the world, using Skype, FaceTime & Zoom. There is no need to travel, and you can feel comfortable in your own home. It is free to set up and simple to use, so why not give it a try?
I offer sessions in English