Hello sunshine, I´m Monica.

 

Learning the dance beat of life: two steps forward, four steps backwards…. Oh, and failing in between!

My journey on self-care, healing, and spiritual awakening has been a bit of a roller coaster. And as you can imagine, I’m not a ‘finished article’ – I am still work in progress. Does it really end though?

Since I was in my teens I’ve been on many yo-yo diets, with periods of overeating, binge eating or emotional eating. I’ve been navigating through all the should/shouldn’ts, dos and don’ts, calorie counting, suggested serving sizes, avoiding certain foods, feeling out of control when I ate chocolate cake or pizza, and generally feeling guilty when food rules were broken. So, feeling a failure very often. Always on a roller coaster, coping with anxiety, depression and/or stress. And under a diet mentality, believing I wasn’t good enough. I always felt like I didn’t have enough willpower to keep my weight off sustainably.

My journey on self-care, healing, and spiritual awakening has been a bit of a roller coaster. And as you can imagine, I’m not a ‘finished article’ – I am still work in progress. Does it really end though?

Since I was in my teens I’ve been on many yo-yo diets, with periods of overeating, binge eating or emotional eating. I’ve been navigating through all the should/shouldn’ts, dos and don’ts, calorie counting, suggested serving sizes, avoiding certain foods, feeling out of control when I ate chocolate cake or pizza, and generally feeling guilty when food rules were broken. So, feeling a failure very often. Always on a roller coaster, coping with anxiety, depression and/or stress. And under a diet mentality, believing I wasn’t good enough. I always felt like I didn’t have enough willpower to keep my weight off sustainably.

 

I would often lose a lot of weight and would put it back again or even way more than I had lost in different periods of my life. Hence, being at every size possible! So, in different life stages I have struggled with body image, self-love, self-worth issues, and self-confidence as many other women in this planet!

But not everything had to do with food and my body in my self-care journey, I have also had periods of mindless shopping, toxic relationships with unhealthy boundaries, or periods where I’ve been quite good at procrastinating and at self-sabotage – why deny it?, to name a few. Not to mention my tendency to be a perfectionist and an overachiever in all what I do, which has also hold me back in launching this project, for example!

I would often lose a lot of weight and would put it back again or even way more than I had lost in different periods of my life. Hence, being at every size possible! So, in different life stages I have struggled with body image, self-love, self-worth issues, and self-confidence as many other women in this planet!

But not everything had to do with food and my body in my self-care journey, I have also had periods of mindless shopping, toxic relationships with unhealthy boundaries, or periods where I’ve been quite good at procrastinating and at self-sabotage – why deny it?, to name a few. Not to mention my tendency to be a perfectionist and an overachiever in all what I do, which has also hold me back in launching this project, for example!

 

How did I get here?

It was during my maternity leave when I had a strong wake up call. Not only I was a brand new mum but I also went through a difficult time on both personal and professional levels and had a strong life crisis. Suddenly, I became a true observer of life, I was more present than ever before in all my actions and in what was happening in me and in my surroundings. I started to question what the heck I needed and wanted in life. I was in a deep quest for meaning, happiness and wellbeing. I felt lost, confused, and overwhelmed with life. I did no longer know what I needed or even wanted to do with my life anymore! That’s how I slowly developed an interest in self-care and in looking at things more holistically than ever before.

How did I get here?

It was during my maternity leave when I had a strong wake up call. Not only I was a brand new mum but I also went through a difficult time on both personal and professional levels and had a strong life crisis. Suddenly, I became a true observer of life, I was more present than ever before in all my actions and in what was happening in me and in my surroundings. I started to question what the heck I needed and wanted in life. I was in a deep quest for meaning, happiness and wellbeing. I felt lost, confused, and overwhelmed with life. I did no longer know what I needed or even wanted to do with my life anymore! That’s how I slowly developed an interest in self-care and in looking at things more holistically than ever before.

Ever watched the movie or read Eat. Pray. Love from Elizabeth Gilbert?

I felt that way just before she decides to take a year off in the search of love, meaning and happiness in Italy, India and Bali. It was during my maternity leave when I discovered that eating nourishing and real food could be delicious, pleasant and beautiful! I discovered a whole new world to me around food, health, spirituality and wellbeing. I followed different bloggers, reputable coaches and motivational speakers from all over that opened up a whole new bunch of possibilities. I got really enthusiastic and passionate about all the ‘healthy movement’ so to speak! But it wasn’t until I got to know myself a bit better and got more self-knowledge, self-realization and self-awareness that I could start embracing self-care more holistically.

Ever watched the movie or read Eat. Pray. Love from Elizabeth Gilbert?

I felt that way just before she decides to take a year off in the search of love, meaning and happiness in Italy, India and Bali. It was during my maternity leave when I discovered that eating nourishing and real food could be delicious, pleasant and beautiful! I discovered a whole new world to me around food, health, spirituality and wellbeing. I followed different bloggers, reputable coaches and motivational speakers from all over that opened up a whole new bunch of possibilities. I got really enthusiastic and passionate about all the ‘healthy movement’ so to speak! But it wasn’t until I got to know myself a bit better and got more self-knowledge, self-realization and self-awareness that I could start embracing self-care more holistically.

 

But my path to what a ‘healthy lifestyle’ means to me and what feels natural and free to me rather than imposed by rules and norms of what we should and what we shouldn’t eat or do in our lives has also been a bit of a journey to me. It wasn’t until a few years ago that something shifted in my mind and became a bit resistant to focus my efforts on my weight loss. I find that when weight loss is the focus, deprivation is hard to avoid. I also started to question what ‘healthy’ means to me and how often is viewed as yet more imposed rules and norms and a tendency to label food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, doing more harm than good if you are trying to address the relationship with food.

But my path to what a ‘healthy lifestyle’ means to me and what feels natural and free to me rather than imposed by rules and norms of what we should and what we shouldn’t eat or do in our lives has also been a bit of a journey to me. It wasn’t until a few years ago that something shifted in my mind and became a bit resistant to focus my efforts on my weight loss. I find that when weight loss is the focus, deprivation is hard to avoid. I also started to question what ‘healthy’ means to me and how often is viewed as yet more imposed rules and norms and a tendency to label food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, doing more harm than good if you are trying to address the relationship with food.

Then I got interested in alternative ways to look at health and wellbeing and came across with a more intuitive approach to improve my relationship with myself and with food, honoring my overall needs/wants and cues, listening to my body more wholeheartedly and gently.

I realized that mental health and mindset work are really the key to deal with all these issues! I also learned (and I’m still learning!) the importance of taking care of myself holistically to really live the life I want. I slowly started to focus more on developing positive health behaviours rather than focusing on weight loss, as the focus on the latter only increased the tendency of not feeling good enough, feeling guilty and not accepting who you are right now.

Then I got interested in alternative ways to look at health and wellbeing and came across with a more intuitive approach to improve my relationship with myself and with food, honoring my overall needs/wants and cues, listening to my body more wholeheartedly and gently.

I realized that mental health and mindset work are really the key to deal with all these issues! I also learned (and I’m still learning!) the importance of taking care of myself holistically to really live the life I want. I slowly started to focus more on developing positive health behaviours rather than focusing on weight loss, as the focus on the latter only increased the tendency of not feeling good enough, feeling guilty and not accepting who you are right now.

After a period of self-exploration and self-discovery, I started to slowly experience freedom around myself, food and cravings. Slowly I am learning to fall in love with me again, with all my gifts and flaws, valuing myself more and slowly accepting myself. I also learned to embrace my WHOLENESS during my rough patches, and living more in alignment with my soul.

After all, if I could live intuitively and could listen to my inner voice to create the life I always wanted, I could also eat intuitively. It became important to me to honor and respect my journey, and becoming aware of where I am at in my own journey so that I do not fall into the ‘comparisonitis’ trap by scrolling on social media, for example. There is a tendency to think about and focus the efforts on physical health and we often neglect mental health, which is very important and often at the root of all what we end up doing with ourselves.

After a period of self-exploration and self-discovery, I started to slowly experience freedom around myself, food and cravings. Slowly I am learning to fall in love with me again, with all my gifts and flaws, valuing myself more and slowly accepting myself. I also learned to embrace my WHOLENESS during my rough patches, and living more in alignment with my soul.

After all, if I could live intuitively and could listen to my inner voice to create the life I always wanted, I could also eat intuitively. It became important to me to honor and respect my journey, and becoming aware of where I am at in my own journey so that I do not fall into the ‘comparisonitis’ trap by scrolling on social media, for example. There is a tendency to think about and focus the efforts on physical health and we often neglect mental health, which is very important and often at the root of all what we end up doing with ourselves.

A wanderer always ready for the next adventure….

On the other hand, my free-spirited and gypsy soul personality led me to pursue an adventurous life abroad as a result of following my dreams and listening to my own inner wisdom and voice (‘feel the fear and do it anyway’). I’ve lived in quite a few countries, including Norway, Belgium, France, Hungary, Greece, Sweden, Denmark, Tanzania, the UK and Spain. So, I have acquired a unique resilience to embracing change and re-inventing myself. Always ready for a new adventure! 

Thanks to my personal journey and being exposed to multiple socio-cultural contexts and people from all walks of life I have experienced that anything you want in life is possible. We just need to ‘dare greatly’ and release self-limiting thoughts and beliefs!

A wanderer always ready for the next adventure….

On the other hand, my free-spirited and gypsy soul personality led me to pursue an adventurous life abroad as a result of following my dreams and listening to my own inner wisdom and voice (‘feel the fear and do it anyway’). I’ve lived in quite a few countries, including Norway, Belgium, France, Hungary, Greece, Sweden, Denmark, Tanzania, the UK and Spain. So, I have acquired a unique resilience to embracing change and re-inventing myself. Always ready for a new adventure! 

Thanks to my personal journey and being exposed to multiple socio-cultural contexts and people from all walks of life I have experienced that anything you want in life is possible. We just need to ‘dare greatly’ and release self-limiting thoughts and beliefs!

My life abroad has definitely shaped and influenced the way I think and see the world today. Personal power has definitely been an important factor in my journey of ‘daring greatly’ and getting out of my comfort zone. I also find that owning my own story whilst feeling vulnerable and really to show up for myself have been key pieces of the puzzle to be able to nourish my mind, body and soul in my spiritual awakening and healing journey.

As the saying goes, ‘there is no lotus without mud’. Things come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. Just like that. We are constantly changing and evolving, and I never stop learning!

My life abroad has definitely shaped and influenced the way I think and see the world today. Personal power has definitely been an important factor in my journey of ‘daring greatly’ and getting out of my comfort zone. I also find that owning my own story whilst feeling vulnerable and really to show up for myself have been key pieces of the puzzle to be able to nourish my mind, body and soul in my spiritual awakening and healing journey.

As the saying goes, ‘there is no lotus without mud’. Things come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. Just like that. We are constantly changing and evolving, and I never stop learning!

Mambo Vida combines my struggles with body image and self-care + wellbeing journey, and my passion for re-inventing myself and pursue my DREAM LIFE in every life stage I’ve been in!