From black and white to a bright, colourful life

As long as I can remember, even in my childhood, I was haunted by food addictions. Imprisoned by an on-going obsession to lose weight, and trapped in a vicious cycle of success and failure.

I defined myself and my self-worth through one thing, and one thing only. My weight.

That made life black and white. Either I was in ‘the zone’ (as I called it) — rigorously controlling my eating and exercising every minute of every day, and feeling good about myself. Or I was lazy, eating awful food in crazy quantities and pining for the zone, all the while hating myself and my body.

pic-abeer03It was such a painful struggle. I made myself endless promises. I’ll start tomorrow. I’ll start next week. Next month, next year. I’d wake up on the day I’d promised myself things would change, and more often than not I’d find a reason not to. This went on for years and years with no end in sight. Battling the same 15 kilos, over and over again.

I tried everything. Everything. Fitness and wellness retreats in LA. Muay Thai fighting camps in Thailand. Juicing. Measured meals and calorie-counting. Even working with the best trainers in the world. I’d lose weight but never keep it off. The slightest emotional trigger of any sort would catapult me back — back to regaining all that weight, and more — back into my misery.

It makes me so sad to look back and think about the time I wasted in this struggle. All the things I missed out on. Dragged down into this horrible inertia, with my self-image a slave to my weight, I blocked out so many people and ignored great possibilities. I’d look around and see people who were somehow able to lose weight and transform their lives and identity. Why not me? There was something really wrong with me, I thought. Is this it? Is this what the rest of my life is going to be like?

What made it all worse was that I had everything going for me: a successful career, a great income, a fantastic wardrobe (that I didn’t fit into hardly any of!), a loving family, wonderful friends. It was a great life. But at the peak of all these blessings, I hit the absolute peak of my misery. On the inside, I felt empty and alone. I was never fulfilled.

I couldn’t exist in that state anymore. So I quit my job.

pic-abeer05I had nothing to lose, really. I was numb and miserable. And this was the only way I could have enough time to figure out the root cause of this misery. Because I knew, instinctively, that I had to go deep, to figure out a way to be. This was about more than calories in and calories out. I knew in my heart that my dysfunctional relationship with my body and food reflected my dysfunctional relationship with life.

I began to understand myself, and it transformed my entire existence.

At first, I was embarrassed about sharing my hardships. I was afraid people would ridicule me, that the confident exterior I’d built up would be stripped away and people would see how vulnerable I really was.

But now I bless my struggle with food and weight. Even my pain. Only through that pain could I have uncovered the beauty of life and the unlimited potential there is for all of us. If sharing my struggle can help someone overcome theirs, it’s worth it. I watch others transform and know true happiness and fulfilment. This is why I do what I do. And that’s why I co-founded Reach Wellbeing.

Professional Biography

Abeer Al Qadi is a certified coach in the Psychology of Eating, through which she helps clients uncover the deep emotional and spiritual causes at the heart of their struggles with food — and reach happiness and fulfillment. She is also a trained life coach with The Coaches Training Institute (CTI), respected worldwide for their ground-breaking, highly interactive Co-Active coaching model, proven to help people achieve success and fulfillment in all aspects of their life. Prior to co-founding Reach Wellbeing, Abeer was a senior director with more than 13 years’ experience in strategic business development, marketing and corporate communications. Her Masters in Human Resources, Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the London School of Economics gives Abeer a strong foundation for understanding human behavior, organizational culture, and how health and wellness affects performance in work and life. Abeer is passionate about traveling, sampling world cuisine, meeting people from around the globe, and shopping!