Hi I'm Heather McAlister! I am a fighter, a survivor, and a mother. All of these things in my life have led me on a great journey to becoming the woman I am today. This has created a passion in me for helping other women to find their way through this life. That is why I started Body Beyond Image so that women could have a safe place to be themselves in the bodies that they were given.
My journey to helping women started when I became a Health Coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition©. I thought that knowing everything there was to know about holistic nutrition and a healthy lifestyle was the key to all women's problems emotionally, mentally, physically, and hormonally. Even though changing my diet and lifestyle was helpful to me it just didn't feel quite right as a coach to stop there. I realized that my clients needed more!
I started noticing that my clients weren't feeling fulfilled and their issues around diet and the way they viewed their bodies weren't changing much. When I sat down to really take a look at the big picture I realized that nutrition wasn't the only thing that changed my life around.
I had struggled for years with self-criticism, I had a negative outlook on my life, and in my mind, I was always the victim. Somewhere along the way I started to notice that I had a very negative frame of mind and I spent years working on changing the things I would say to myself as well as how I saw my body. It was when I started changing my frame of mind and my perspective around food and body that I really started to reach my goals and fulfill my dreams.
Now that I am a coach, I see the same patterns in my clients whether they know that they have a negative way of thinking or not. I knew from my own experience that shifting our mindset helps us feel free in our bodies and in all aspects of our lives.
When I was fourteen years old, my struggles with bulimia and binge eating took me on a journey to finding a healthy relationship with food and with myself.
As I came into a adulthood, I struggled for years with dieting and the constant feeling of being out of control of what I ate and how I felt about myself. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I finally began to accept and love myself for who I am.
In 2012 I found out I was going to be a mother and for the first time I felt amazing in my body! Being pregnant I had gained weight, but felt completely embodied and in love with myself, and of course, my little man.
Though I had the best pregnancy, tragedy would soon hit and forever change my life. As soon as my baby boy came into this would he quickly left it. The two years following his death I began battling depression and started suffering physical side effects from the extreme stress I was under. I had lost my appetite and started losing weight and muscle. I was devastated and broken. This was a totally different experience than my battle with bulimia, but the feelings of self-hatred quickly came back to haunt me. I did not want to be on this earth anymore with these feelings. For the first time I started contemplating suicide.
I felt I had no control over anything in this life and I realized that I never will, but I did not make that decision to take my own life. Instead, I began taking control over the one thing I can in this life, my thoughts and words. Most importantly, that I can help others find peace and love with what we can't control and focus on what we can in order to find happiness.