MY JOURNEY

MY JOURNEY

I’m not your typical candidate for a Cinderella story. My parents are Dutch immigrants who came from the Netherlands to Canada with nothing but a sewing machine and a dream of a better life. These are the beginnings of an ordinary life.

One of four children, I was always bigger, louder and more curious than my siblings. In my family I am known to have as many lives as a cat because I keep coming back no matter what the universe throws at me. I excelled in school, loved sports and enjoyed public speaking.

In my twenties and thirties I became a mother to three beautiful daughters of my own. But as I approached my 40th year I was faced with the sour decision of having to end my marriage. The time had come to leave and learn. 

Choosing freedom over imprisonment in a loveless marriage, I did just that. The decision to leave my then husband, father of my children, was not easy. Life from the financial standpoint was very comfortable for us.  Life for me personally was painful. I truly felt I was slowly dying every day.

Life had been a series of painful episodes punctuated by happy moments.  The uncertainty led me to eat. Overeat. Eat out of boredom. Eat to fill my lonely void.   I had become an obese, tired and depressed woman. Every movement felt like a slog through cement. I couldn’t find myself anymore.  Dark moments appeared in which I thought I might rather die than live.

My body and my mind did not like me then.  I had to remember how to care about myself again.

Yet I wanted no revenge. I wanted freedom.  Happiness. I wanted to feel that life had possibilities once again.  I wanted to live out my dreams to be someone, to do something, to make a difference in the world.  

Divorce sharpened my focus.  I had to survive and raise my children. I wasn’t looking for someone else to do that.  I wasn’t looking for a free ride. I needed to prove to myself that I could be a productive member of society. 

In order to prepare for that moment, I decided to return to academics in order to become a teacher.  At 38 years of age I found myself to be a “mature student” among hundreds of much younger ones.

STRIKING SUGAR FROM YOUR DIET DOESN’T HAVE TO MEAN STRIKING TASTE OR PLEASURE FROM YOUR LIFE.

STRIKING SUGAR FROM YOUR DIET DOESN’T HAVE TO MEAN STRIKING TASTE OR PLEASURE FROM YOUR LIFE.

That’s why I’m sharing 5 Eat Clean™ recipes that are made with clean, nourishing ingredients AND will satisfy your need for sweet. They are sugar-free, sweet treat love…

IT WAS A DECISION THAT WOULD CHANGE MY LIFE
AND WOULD GO ON TO BE A GRAND

IT WAS A DECISION THAT WOULD CHANGE MY LIFE
AND WOULD GO ON TO BE A GRAND

I began to teach Grade 1. While on the school playground, I noticed an older gentleman bringing his young daughter to school every day, a little girl that ended up in my classroom.  We would chat occasionally and he particularly probed me on what I was doing to remain fit. My foolish reply was that I was running. At the time I was working on losing 84 pounds of excess unwanted fat and the only way I knew how to do it was through cardiovascular exercise.  I believe he “rolled his eyes out loud” at me.

What I could not have known was that Robert was scoping me out for his new fitness magazine dedicated solely to women.  I also did not know who he was … he was the man who brought men’s bodybuilding, Arnold Schwarzenegger and women’s fitness to North America.  I was inexorably being drawn into this web.

The casual friendship Robert and I struck on the playground of his daughter’s school would lead to me being “discovered” by one of the biggest and most iconic publishers of fitness, health and bodybuilding magazines in the world, Robert Kennedy.  He had a knack for discovering physique talents.

He also had a knack for making me feel truly alive again. 

As I regained a sense of who I was I also began to feel beautiful and truly alive.  I could once again look in the mirror and find the person I had once been.

Robert saw in me what I could not see for myself.  He had faith in my abilities and had the expertise to guide me into the celebrity status I could not have foreseen for myself.  Our friendship grew to love and ultimately marriage. A marriage filled with color and adventure.

Through Robert’s tutelage I began to train heavily and regularly by lifting weights.  I went from a person who had no idea what a triceps muscle was, to competing in my first ever bodybuilding competition at the age of 42 complete with a V-taper and striated glutes. I placed in the top 5 and was hooked. 

Robert continued to coach and train me.  His directive was simple: “Eat what I tell you to eat.  Train the way I tell you to train. Pose the way I tell you to pose.  You will be fine.” I surrendered to the challenge, telling myself that opportunities like these do not often arise.

I am excellent with structure of that nature so for me it was simply a matter of execution.  In the beautiful simplicity of his “eat, train, pose routine”,

Once I learned that the foods I loved and pretty much all other food was loaded with added, refined and fake sugars, I was shocked. In Striking Sugar I took a giant step towards health.

I’M ON A MISSION TO SHARE THIS INCREDIBLE EFFECTIVE HEALING STRATEGY AND HELP OTHERS

I’M ON A MISSION TO SHARE THIS INCREDIBLE EFFECTIVE HEALING STRATEGY AND HELP OTHERS

Robert photographed me for a cover-try for his women’s fitness magazine, Oxygen.  I was 42 when I landed my first cover, toned, lean, muscular and happy. A feat not yet accomplished by other women of that age.  Ultimately that first cover started a trend in women’s fitness; to represent the 40-something woman who wanted a lean, healthy, muscular physique.  In other words, life wasn’t over at 40!

In my wildest dreams I could not have imagined this happening to me.  I was just an ordinary housewife living an ordinary life.

And yet I knew that I wanted something more from my life.  I wanted something richer and fuller. I wanted to live bigger. I just never dreamed it could happen to me. My transformation caught the souls of legions of women.

Soon I was invited to contribute to Oxygen magazine.  I wrote a column called Raise the Bar, which quickly became the most popular column in the magazine.  It was the ideal place to share my story and teach the principles of the Eat Clean lifestyle I was now practicing.

My transformation caught the souls of legions of women.

The popularity of Oxygen magazine exploded. The combined experiences of losing weight through Eating Clean, competing and appearing in and on Oxygen magazine, further lead to the challenge of writing my first book. 

As the weight fell away I realized there was a powerful formula at hand that could help every overweight person in the world lose weight quickly and safely the way I had done 💩.  

It was time for me to write about this for others.

 The first book, The Butt Book, lead to writing 15 more, including a New York Times Best Selling title and multiple Amazon Best Seller titles.  The Eat Clean Diet series sold multi millions of copies around the world. Some were translated into Italian, German and French. In short, I had launched a revolution: The Eat Clean Revolution. 

Each new book was followed by a book tour.  At times I was travelling at least two thirds of the year.  These were exciting times. Ultimately I also shot my own TV show, Tosca Flexing at 49.  

The show was a docu-soap that covered my journey as I prepared for two fitness competitions.  The show won a Gemini award, the Canadian equivalent of the US Emmy award. 

Life went on … Robert and I were married in 2004 and we blended our families.  Our house was big and bursting with activity.

ULTIMATELY, MY CINDERELLA STORY WOULD NOT LAST.

ULTIMATELY, MY CINDERELLA STORY WOULD NOT LAST.

In 2011 my stepson Braden passed away from complications from a serious car accident he had sustained at the age of 11.  He was 24 when he died. One year later, Robert would succumb to cancer. A year after that, in 2013, I was forced to bankrupt Robert’s publishing business, as forensic accounting showed that he had been insolvent for the 5 years leading up to his death.  

The ugly and unforeseen truth however, was that I had to clean up his remaining debts.  I also learned that all monies I had earned from my book sales had been utilized by Robert to try to keep his business afloat.  There was nothing left.

These repeated shocks weighed heavily on me.  I was uncertain how I would endure. My own business, although not bankrupt, was collateral damage too.  Robert Kennedy Publishing employees further took their anger about losing their jobs out on me. I was publicly lambasted for it,  and yet, I had nothing to do with it. The losses I sustained were monumental.

The situation seemed impossible.  I struggled with depression. I wanted to throw the towel in, forgetting about what I had built with my books and brands.

As a further complication from the bankruptcy, I was forced to “go dark,” meaning I could not work or promote my brands.

It was difficult indeed to make a living.  One of the most painful things I had to do to pay the creditors was sell the magazine titles.  I would no longer own or participate in the creation of them. I missed Oxygen magazine terribly because my entire career had been born in the pages of that magazine.  I no longer had a role in Clean Eating magazine either. This cut me to the core because it felt like losing my children, so deeply was I engaged in those magazines.

I needed to find a way to start again. But how?

I have since learned that my trials could be powerful teachers.  Keeping an open mind I began to search for ways to heal. I began to practice yoga more regularly as a way to calm my anxious mind and racing heart, both of which had become daily challenges.  My dear friend and yoga teacher, Angelika, encouraged me to join a meditation group she was hosting weekly. Here I learned to share my story in a safe, supportive group and practice meditation.

This happened just in time because my depression had gotten severe enough that I didn’t want to get out of bed, a most unusual development for a normally highly active person.

I discovered that cancer, the death of loved ones, financial ruin and depression are powerful teachers.  As the Kabala states, “In the darkest moments are found the greatest opportunities for growth.” I took it upon myself to explore spirituality, the Kabalistic practice and to read everything I could get my hands on to foster understanding and healing. 

I participated in Shaman healing weekends and writing workshops.  I also made a habit of “taking the waters” at various hydrotherapy spas, helping to cleanse my cells of their trauma.  I also gave myself permission to receive regular deep tissue Reiki massages which I had previously believed to simply be an indulgence.  I learned that when we experience the energy of death and ruin, the trauma of loss lives in our cells. We can’t properly connect to ourselves in that “out-of-body” state.  That’s why yoga and massage are so powerful – they help us return to our body.

I made myself a student, absorbing every drop of learning. The result is that I have come out the other side and have a deeper understanding of what true wellness is.

Wellness is not simply the absence of disease or losing weight.  True wellness is a dynamic pursuit of three principles I have termed The Three E’s of Wellness.

As the person who created and founded the Eat Clean movement, I knew what it meant to nourish myself properly through clean food and I knew how to train my body to keep it flexible, strong and lean.  What I did not know was how to take care of my head/heart space. The Universe saw fit to teach me this. I am grateful that I was able to open my mind to these lessons because now I know that I can take a hit from life and survive and even thrive.  

In my energy work, I have discovered that it is my responsibility to share what I know.  The challenges I have endured make me an expert in these areas. I know what it is to lose a husband, whom I loved deeply, to cancer. I know what it is to lose a step son. I know what it means to face bankruptcy and to worry how to pay the rent or eat.  I know that it feels like to lose your way. These things make me an expert and this is what I bring to you now, along with my Clean Living principles. I can help you. I bring you the elixir of life.

I have become a model of resilience.

5 EAT CLEAN RECIPES TO SATISFY YOUR NEED FOR SWEET

5 EAT CLEAN RECIPES TO SATISFY YOUR NEED FOR SWEET

EAT CLEAN™ 

SUGAR FREE SWEET TREATS

Savour these mouth-watering sweet treats made with clean, healthy ingredients. They are sugar-free, sweet treat love, just for you! 

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Photography Credits: Dan Robb
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The 3 E's of Wellness Blueprint enrolment ends SEPTEMBER 27th.
12 week transformation program to looking and feeling your best.