What an inspiration! Paula Galli is a Canadian living part-time in Denmark and spreading the word about healthy self-love through coaching and her book, “Weighing Love.” I am so impressed by her drive and bravery, putting her story out there and changing lives through her own experience. Be sure to read Paula’s story, and get to know her a bit better as part of The Healed Life series.
Name: Paula Galli
Location: I am currently living in Odense, Denmark, but in the summer months, I reside in my hometown of Toronto, Canada.
Occupation: Transformational Coach, Food Therapist, Speaker & Author of, “Weighing Love”
Tell us a little about who you are and how you got here:
Since a very young age, I struggled to find out not only who I was, but also what my purpose was on this earth. After years of battling with extremely low self-esteem, anxiety, taunting perfectionism, depression and an eating disorder, I understand first hand just how difficult life can be when you are not comfortable in your own skin and your mind is not in alignment to the person that you truly are.
When I was advised to take anti-depressants by a doctor at the age of eighteen, something inside of me strongly said no. I believed that there had to be another way to deal with what I was going through. My turning point began when I realized the key to happiness lies in working from the inside out – a philosophy that has served myself and my clients well, as I guide them to understand how to change themselves from within.
Since I believe, that we as human beings, are equally influenced by our minds, bodies, and spirits, I decided to study avenues from each of these areas. After receiving an Honours Bacholors Degree in Psychology from the University of Toronto, I attained a Life Coaching Certificate, a Level-One Reiki Certificate and became a Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP) and Holistic Nutritionist.
I am also the author of the book, “Weighing Love”, which was written with the intention to help anyone who truly wants to fall in love with themselves, their bodies, they food that they eat and their lives.
I provide personal coaching services virtually – meaning I can work with anyone from anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This provides a key advantage when working with clients as they are able to speak with me via Skype/telephone, and where they feel most comfortable – at home.
What is your favourite recipe when you need to feel truly nourished?
I don’t have one in particular, but I would have to say that currently I am loving my homemade lentil soup, which I found and modified from allrecipes.com
*Original recipe makes 8 servings
1. In a large stockpot, sauté the onions in oil until they are glossy. Stir in garlic, paprika, celery, carrots, and sauté for 10 minutes.
2. Once the vegetables have sautéed for 10 minutes stir in tomatoes, onion stock, lentils, salt, and pepper. Slowly reduce the heat and cook for 1 hour on low to medium heat; or until the lentils are tender.
3. Sprinkle the soup with parsley and Parmesan (optional) before serving.
Can you share a little about your history with food and your body?
Here is a first hand look into my history with food and my body.
Grade Ten – October 20, 2001
I stared at the naked reflection in from of me. I glanced over at the pictures that I had posted behind my bedroom wall. Countless images of perfect models are hung there. Ten models in tiny white bikinis capture my eyes. I stare at them. I analyzed their bodies. They are all so beautiful. They are all so perfect. Flat stomachs. Firm thighs. Tight butts. Narrow hips. Perfect breasts. Just perfect. Utterly perfect.
I thought that having numerous pictures of skinny “perfect” models in bikinis around me at all times would help motivate me to stay on track with my diet and body goals. I filled the back of my bedroom door, my school agenda and even my school locker with these types of pictures, in hopes that they would somewhat force me to follow all of my diet rules perfectly. However, these pictures really did not work as a motivating force whatsoever. Seeing their “perfect” bodies each and every day was a constant reminder of just how imperfect I felt my body was.
I looked back at myself. My image is so imperfect. Flabby stomach. Fat thighs. Big bum. Wide hips. Huge breasts. Just imperfect. Utterly imperfect. I grabbed a hold of my large breasts. I then grabbed my thighs. My ass cheeks. My stomach. My hips and then my breast again. My mind whispered. I hate them. I looked back at those perfect models. Before I turned back to the mirror my left hand grabbed hold of my left thigh from behind, getting a nice firm grip of all the inner flesh that I wished was never there. With my right hand, I did the same thing with the right thigh, tightly pulling both pieces of meaty flesh away from one another. I am left standing in front of the mirror with only half of my thighs visible. My mind spoke a little louder. This would be so much better. This is what I need to look like. I pulled tighter. I stared deeper. My skin began to come loose from my right hand and my entre right thigh presented itself to me. F-A-T. I looked at my left thigh, the one that I was still holding onto it firmly. The one that was missing half of what really belonged to it. That’s better, that’s perfect. But that’s not my thigh. I instantly dropped my left hand and stared at my naked body in the mirror. Ugly. Fat. Disgusting. Imperfect. Fat. Fat. Nasty. Disgusting. Fat. Imperfect. I just want to eat. I just want to eat. It’s too late now. In order to lose weight you need to not eat three hours before you go to bed. I read that in one of my diets. Don’t eat. Do not eat. Eating this late is bad. My mind started racing as these thoughts continue. I’m so ugly. I’m so fat. My boobs are too big. My butt is too large. I have been dieting off and on since I was in grade six. What is the matter with me? Why can’t I lose the weight? I will start dieting on Monday. Yeah, that makes the most sense. Then I will lose weight. I just have to. I can’t be like this anymore.” –Weighing Love” pg. 128
What helped heal your relationship with food and your body?
For years I had convinced myself that if I could just be more dedicated to “eating right” and “working out more,” the happiness that I was truly longing for would appear. Yet, year after year, having these thoughts stand at the forefront of my mind and in control of all my decisions, left me feeling worse about myself, my body, food, and my life. By turning my attention away from all the externals such as, calories, the number on the scale and the size of my thighs, I was guided to begin to focus on what was going on inside of me. Not only did I discover a world that I was completely unfamiliar with, but more importantly, one that desperately needed my attention, love and guidance. One main thing that truly helped me heal my relationship with food and my body was working on building what I like to call a positive self-TALK. (self-trust, self-acceptance, self-love & self-knowledge). I owe my healing and all of the healing of my client’s through working from the inside out, healing the past, re-framing my/their thoughts, practicing gratitude, affirmations and creating the future of my/their dreams.
What is the number one piece of advice you would give to someone healing?
Don’t be attached to thoughts that you may be having like, “When is this going to be over?” or “Why is this happening to me?” Focus on letting go, surrendering and trusting that you are on your path EXACTLY where you are meant to be. Know that when it comes to healing, there is no set plan and in most cases, things have to get worse before they can get better. I talk about this in my book, “Weighing Love,” under the term the “Healing Crisis.” When we open up old wounds the pain from them resurfaces, leaving us potentially in more discomfort then we felt before. However, this is part of the healing process. To actually work on allowing the wound to heal, rather then putting a bandage on so to speak, some uncomfortable feelings are necessary. The thing I can promise you is that in time if you are truly working on healing the wound, the pain will dissolve, leaving you feel fresh, clear and clean.
What would you say to your 16-year-old self?
I would tell her she was beautiful, smart, funny and perfect just as she was. She didn’t need to try so hard or make sure everyone liked her. She didn’t need to be concerned with calories or the number on the scale, but rather focus on her dreams. I would tell her life isn’t a fairytale like she believes it is, but that with hard work, dedication and most importantly being true to herself, being the creator of her dream life is possible. I would tell her to never let anyone treat her poorly and use her voice, her authentic voice, even though she is unsure of what that would have been at that age. I would encourage her to begin working now on learning how to love herself, her body, and the food that she eats, while focusing on becoming her own best friend, as those are the keys to one’s overall happiness.
When it comes to body image, what do you hope for the next generation of young women?
As the great Oscar Wilde puts it – “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” This statement proves that being YOU is the fundamental to a truly satisfying and fulfilling life.
My dream is that the next generation of young women truly learn to be themselves by embracing their body for what it is, not what the media might be portraying is “right.” I hope that these young women, can learn to have deep love, appreciation and gratitude for their bodies and everything that they allow them to do in their lives, as well as, embrace their unique beauty. I hope that they will look in the mirror and say, “I am beautiful” and truly mean it!
What are you manifesting next?
Oh, I am manifesting so much, where do I even begin!?!
From a professional level, I am currently working on expanding my private practice to be able to help more clients Love To Live Their Live all around the world. Also, I am continuing to promote my book, “Weighing Love”, as my dream is that it finds it’s way into the hands of as many females as possible to help them truly fall in love with themselves, their bodies, the food that they eat and their lives! I am also in the process of finishing my second Life Coaching Certification, based around The Law of Attraction and the other Universal Laws, which is allowing me to have more tools to share with my clients.
From a personal level, I am getting prepared for my first baby girl to arrive in July 2015! I couldn’t be more excited to become a mom and like anything in life, this is bringing up a lot of opportunity for growth, personal development and internal reflection. I am manifesting a beautiful connected relationship with her and her father, as our family continues to grow and expand.
Connect with Paula!
Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time. My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.
With kindest regards Samantha
I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.
When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.
I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.
Hey Jessica! I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again
I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!
Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.
Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!
I am a yoga teacher in Johannesburg and am thrilled to have bought your book today. I love making healthy, nutritious food for my family, friends and fellow yogis! Thank you for this book and your inspiration (had to share a pic of my book on my recipe stand in the kitchen).
I bought your beautiful book during the week and told my bestie to go out and buy it also! I love love love it. It is the book I would give to my younger self if I could (I am 41 years old). Everything is just so sensible and informative and is definitely a book all teenagers should have. This should be a text book for girls becoming teens. I will love going back and re-reading it many many times and can't wait to make more of the recipes. Thank you Jess - you are an incredibly inspiring woman and you should feel so proud
My fiancé bought your book and we have cooked some of your meals. Amazing! I love your outlook on a healthy lifestyle and your hints and tips with preparing tasty meals are fantastic. Thanks for reviving us to live a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies wedding ready.
I want to empower you to make good choices, every day. I want you to enhance your understanding of health and nutrition. I'm committed to making sure you live the best life. Because you deserve it. Are you ready to start feeling great?
Let me know your email address so I can send you an eBook '7 Days on my plate' - a little gift from me to you!