Who Is Rachel Collins?
The short version:
I am The Mum’s Health Coach – the restorer or energy and sanity for worn out Mums. I help Mums who feel S.H.I.T (Stressed, Hungry, Isolated and Tired) to feel whole again. The first step is to nourish yourself – food can change everything which is why I created The Happy Mummy Cleanse – the secret recipe to taking back control of your body.
All About Me
I was bit of a geek at school, a good-girl and always trying to do what was expected of me. But even as I was growing up, I had a belief that there was more to happiness and health than medication. Not too long ago I found my old journal and the 15 year old me was writing about my Nanny’s depression. This had actually been triggered by a stroke but what was really upsetting me was that the only ‘treatment’ offered by the NHS was drugs. I knew that was never going to be the right way to rekindle her passion for life!
I loved dancing and singing and before my GCSE’s I would have loved to go to a theatre arts school but to be honest I never really knew what I wanted to do in life – I was fascinated by people, why we did things and what made us tick. So I went to university (as any good girl should!) to study psychology… maybe I would want to be a psychologist?
I got my degree but passed on a career in psychology. It wasn’t for me…
And then my Grandad got very poorly. In the last few months of his life he was in hospital almost all of the time. And the care was dire. I remember taking him in hot meals after work every day because often he was missed off the ward list and didn’t get fed or the food was a soggy sandwich that I knew he would hate. I learnt two things from this experience:
1. I had to help make things better and be an advocate for people who weren’t being looked after (which led me to the next step in my career) and …
2. Fish and chips on a Friday night was nourishment for the soul (even if it was unhealthy!)
After seeing my Grandad’s suffering I went home and Google’d ‘NHS Management’… I suddenly realised my calling in life. I had to change things. Healthcare wasn’t about health at all, it was focussed on sickness. I had to change things! I found the NHS management graduate training scheme. I applied along with 6000 other grads and I got offered 1 of just 90 places on the scheme. Sadly my Grandad died part-way through my application process but I know he was proud of what I was doing. Then I went off to travel for a few months before starting my new career.
Over the next couple of years I met my hubby, worked my way up in NHS management, working at a big London hospital and with GPs and community services. But I started to get itchy feet and I convinced my fiancé to quit his job and travel the world with me! Crazy right? We got married on a beach in Thailand and did charity work in India. But I still didn’t feel fulfilled. It was time to come home and I quickly got a strategic management role overseeing Respiratory services in hospitals, GP practices and community services across the South East of England.
I was a high-flyer, an over-acheiver, one of the youngest at my level in the organisation but I was alway on the look out for something else. I never felt completely fulfilled – I was almost there but something wasn’t right.
I decided it was time to start a family and within 4 months I was pregnant. I went on maternity leave not realising how drastically my life was about to change.
While on maternity I got made redundant. Part of me thought “wow awesome – I get paid to have time off work with my baby AND I get paid to not go back.” But another part of me fell apart. I wasn’t ready to admit it even to myself at the time, but I wasn’t happy with my life.
I loved my baby. I loved being her Mum. But I didn’t love being at home, mostly on my own, doing housework every day.
And if I didn’t have my career – who was I? What was I? I hated the term ‘just a mum’. I held so much identity with my job title and the prestige it carried. It showed I was a person who had achieved so much.
Now, as a new mum I struggled to do a load of laundry in a day!
I felt useless.
I felt isolated.
I was exhausted.
I was struggling with my weight.
I had lost my financial independence.
I wasn’t contributing financially, I didn’t feel like I was pulling my weight around the house. And I the jobs I did manage to do I found mind-numbingly boring – I mean how much day time TV can one girl watch while folding muslins??
My self esteem plummeted.
I tried to focus on weight loss. But the only way I knew how to lose weight was to eat less. And that wasn’t an option. I craved biscuits and tea all afternoon, I needed the energy and the comfort of food. Again, I felt like a failure.
And I was still on the look out for my vocation in life – what was i going to do now I had been made redundant?
Knowing I was fascinated in alternative medicine and that I needed a bit of TLC my hubby bought me vouchers to see an Ayurvedic doctor as a Christmas pressie. She would do a pulse reading and prescribe something specific to me. I had high hopes for a nice Ayurvedic massage. You wouldn’t believe my disappointment when she prescribed some herbs and moderate dietary changes.
How on earth were some herbs and cutting out wheat and tomatoes going to help me?
But a month later I went back for my appointment a changed woman. I couldn’t believe it! plants and food had given me so much energy! And I had started to lose some weight.
In fact I was so impressed I decided I had to study Ayurveda – that was until I realised there was only one uni in the country that offered it, it would take 5 years of commuting to North London and a lot of money and a trip to India… that wasn’t going to work around the baby…
So I kept thinking.
Amazed at how much improvement i saw from such small, simple dietary changes I kept looking for more information. I came across an article that talked about how if you weren’t happy with how you spent your day, you wouldn’t be able to make good food choices, in fact your emotions contributed to your choices, your weight and your energy levels more than you ever imagined.
Something clicked in my head. I wasn’t happy. I was isolated. I missed having a vocation outside of being a mummy. That’s why I craved wine and biscuits! I quickly looked at the author profile and saw she was a health coach who studied at IIN. I checked out the school and new right away it was for me.
Having my studies changed my whole structure of my week. I loved having something that was just for me. And I became my first client. I lost weight quickly with no deprivation or starvation. I improved my families nutrition and we all felt so much better. Well enough to get pregnant again within days of my baby’s first birthday. Eek! I was going to have 2 babies under two.
2 Babies Under Two?
I must be mad!
Pregnancy the second time around became a big experiment!
Could I really stick within the recommended 25lb weight gain? Let’s find out! (Yes I did!)
Could I avoid the heartburn and the sickness? Absolutely.
In April 2014 I birthed a beautiful baby girl and my new business. I was happy, excited. I had MY own work and my mummy work. I had more energy than ever. I got back to pre-pregnancy weight by 8 weeks and was still losing. Life was good.
Or so I thought.
Two babies under 2 started to take it’s toll.
After a year of broken sleep, breastfeeding through the night – even my health coaching skills couldn’t keep me well.
First, my back went. I had been ignoring back pain for years and it finally caught up with me. I couldn’t even lift my baby out of the cot.
Then I got the flu.
I was bed ridden.
For over 3 weeks.
I was angry at everyone who suggested Mums could ‘have it all’.
I tried. And I got sick. Very very sick.
When I finally recovered I had to re-asses things and my first action was to ask for help. I couldn’t keep giving up my sleep to feed the baby through the night. Even though I believed it was best for her to have access to me when she needed me, it wasn’t best for me. And ultimately, what was best for baby was for her Mummy to be healthy. I asked my husband to help me night-wean Isla. I started to ask for help more and scale back how much I tried to achieve.
What dreams came true for you this year?
As the end of 2015 approached I started my annual ritual of using Leonie Dawson’s Shining Life workbook. I was working through my 2015 Closing Ceremony and the workbook asked ‘what dream’s came true for you this year?”
And do you know why?
Because at the start of 2015 I didn’t write my dreams down. I wasn’t even conscious of them.
I was throwing myself into ‘having it all’, the babies, the business. I had lost a family member and I had been very poorly.
I had forgotten my dream of working with new Mums. I had forgotten my dreams of writing a book to help Mums reclaim their mind and body after birth. I had forgotten how important it was to me to be a happy Mummy and create a happy and exciting life for my family.
I didn’t write down what I wanted and I got so caught up working through my to-do list that I lost sight of where I was headed.
I decided there and then to change that.
I wrote down my dreams for 2016.
My personal dreams of having fun with my family and feeling love for my husband every day.
And my professional dream of writing a book to help Mums reclaim their mind and body after birth.
That moment of action, of writing down what I truly want for me, my family and my life, the legacy I want to leave was a new beginning for me.
Mum’s Health Rules
At IIN I learnt skills that could help EVERYONE. But I don’t want to help everyone. Since the moment of clarity I gain more insight everyday into who I serve and how. I am passionate about helping mums who feel stressed, hungry, isolated and tired. Mums who feel S.H.I.T. After working with Mums and on myself for years, I have identified the 5 key areas that help Mums like whole women again.
1. Nutrition – Treat your body kindly with food that’s good for it.
2. Self-Care – Mother yourself and treat yourself as kindly as you do your children.
3. Spirituality – Know you are part of something bigger, whether you believe in God, The Universe or just love Nature.
4. Community & Relationships – Human beings are sociable creatures and we thrive on connection.
5. Purpose – Do something you were born to do.
The first rule is to treat your body kidnly with food that’s good for it. I have found nutrition is the easiest thing to change when you are feeling S.H.I.T, and it makes such a big difference to your energy levels and motivation. It makes the rest of the rules easier to follow. This is why I have created The Happy Mummy Cleanse – to help Mums take back control of their body and enjoy every magical moment of being a Mummy. I work with a small number of VIP Mummies who want to use The Mum’s Health Rules and have my total commitment to feeling wonderful again. If you think you would like to have my undivided one-to-one attention, get in touch for a free exploratory session.*
I present Happy Mummy TV and answer key questions on Mums health, educating women on all aspects of the Mum’s Health Rules. I also run The Happy Mummy Club. A totally free community of like-minded Mummies who are working on following the Mum’s Health Rules.
It takes a tribe to raise a child and I don’t want any Mum to feel alone.
I am on a journey to help all Mums (including myself!) rids themselves of those feelings of isolation, and helping them become whole, happy women again, not just someone’s Mummy.
*Exploratory sessions are via phone or Skype and typically last 15 minutes. The session is free and there is no obligation to buy. Booking a session does not guarantee that Rachel can take you on as a client. If Rachel does not feel Health Coaching is right for you she may offer to refer you to another health practitioner, or suggest you visit your GP.