Podcast Show Notes



Finding Your Why

A couple of years ago, I was a very different person to the one sitting in front of the microphone right now. I was miserable in my job, hating life and hating the person it was turning me into.

I didn’t know it then, but I almost had to hit rock bottom to pick myself back up and find my purpose.

And in hindsight, I wouldn’t change a thing.


● Why the grass is not always greener after a promotion

● My breaking point. A.K.A: That time I couldn’t get out of bed

● Pyramids & Periods

● The beginning of my health overhaul

● Meeting Dan and my big decision

● The birth of Mana Women’s Wellness



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Hello, and welcome to episode 6 of The Mana Women’s Wellness Podcast. I’m your host, Rachel and today we’re mixing things up a little bit.

A couple of years ago, I was a very different person to the one sitting in front of the microphone right now. I was miserable in my job, hating life and hating the person it was turning me into.

I didn’t know it then, but I almost had to hit rock bottom to pick myself back up and find my purpose.

And in hindsight, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Like I said, I was a very different person a couple of years ago.

I was working as a physiotherapist, kinda bored with my job and not feeling very challenged. So when I was offered a job to manage my physiotherapy department, I jumped at it. Suddenly, my clinical work and spending time with my clients was replaced with 12 hour long days, dealing with toxic people and their petty, pointless problems and driving from one side of Melbourne to the other – and I can confidently confirm that Melbourne has the very worst traffic in the world! Because I sat in it day after day. Hating my job. Hating life and hating the person it turned me into. Throw in a toxic relationship where I allowed myself to be treated like garbage and I was left with pretty low self esteem. Because I honestly thought this must be as good as it gets.

They say exercise can cure a bad mood? Well, there was not enough exercise to cure mine! I was putting my body through way too much, then following up a sweaty gym session with coffee and cake with friends. I was the definition of skinny fat. I was stress-eating like no tomorrow and I was the bad influence on all my friends. Because I could get away with it. Or so I thought anyway.

Things reached a breaking point about 2 years into this job. And looking back, I can’t quite believe I lasted 2 years! And on a Thursday afternoon, I walked. Or better, I ran. Away from the job, away from the relationship and away from everything that was making me miserable. And within weeks, I was so sick that I couldn’t get out of bed. The thing is, I was booked to go to Egypt. My all-time number one bucket list destination. The Sphynx, the pyramids, cruising down the Nile…my dream trip that I had spent literally months convincing my parents was a very good and very safe idea. But I couldn’t even get out of bed to pack.

My doctor wasn’t interested. He knew I was unhappy at work and I’m pretty sure he thought I just needed a break. But deep inside, I knew something was wrong. My periods were all over the place, I was exhausted and my stomach pain left me curled up in a ball for days at a time. Despite feeling like absolute crap in almost all areas of my life, I knew my body. And I trusted without a doubt that it was telling me that something needed investigating. So I kept going back to my doctor. And when I got nowhere, I went to another doctor. Because I was going to Egypt and I was going to enjoy myself even if it killed me! I needed answers so that I could take back control of my health and fix whatever it was I had done to myself.

And I finally got my answer less than a week before I flew across the world.

I was diagnosed with Coeliac disease at age 25 with no family history after only a month of symptoms. Now, if you or anyone you know has struggled with food intolerances or auto-immune disease, you would know that it usually take years to get a diagnosis. And I’m pretty sure I surprised even my specialist when he put me under and stuck a camera down my throat. But I had my answer. And the cause? Well, turns out, chronic stress can do a lot of damage.

And so, I returned home with my answers. I packed my bags for Egypt, and then I sat on my kitchen floor and cried for a while. And then I called my mum. And in true wonderful mum style, she turned up at my house with shopping bags full of gluten free food and she helped me completely clean out my pantry and overhaul my diet in a single night.

I have always described my Coeliac Disease as a blessing in disguise. And it is the reason why I am sitting here talking into this microphone right now. Because it forced me to take a good hard look at the way I was living my life and it started me on a new journey towards completely transforming my health. Because I knew I couldn’t spend the rest of my life feeling sorry for myself because I can’t eat Tim Tams anymore. And so I started learning about nutrition.

Now, when I start learning, I tend to get a little obsessed and I dive in deep! I wanted to study nutrition, but going back to uni and adding to my 4 year physiotherapy degree debt didn’t seem like the smartest move. So I went online. And I fell into nutrition and health coaching.

I will always remember the day I discovered health coaching. I felt a physical change in my body. I felt it in my heart and everything told me that this was it. I was already a physio, and I had already spent thousands of dollars on courses and study in women’s health and pelvic floor physiotherapy. And this was the one thing that would tie it all together. I would take it online and bring this essential knowledge to women everywhere. And the more I learnt, the deeper I wanted to dive. I had studied pelvic floor and incontinence, pregnancy, post-natal recovery, nutrition, weight loss… I was doing everything I could to improve my health and put into practice what I had learnt. So the natural next step was to finally stop taking the pill.

Now this terrified me. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I kinda like control. And so I stumbled into fertility awareness. And in true Rachel fashion, I dove in deep. I learnt from books and podcasts and I started tracking my cycle and working to rebalance my irregular, stress-affected mess of a period and understanding the effect that my former lifestyle had had on my menstrual cycle.

Now this is where it all tied together so nicely that you could tie a bow on it. Understanding and tracking my menstrual cycle changed how I exercised, what I ate, how I slept, how I planned my days and ultimately how I lived my life. And that is no exaggeration. One thing just fell into the next so simply and I knew that I was on to something huge, something that could change the lives of women everywhere!

And then I met Dan. My wonderful partner. And I realised that not taking the pill and charting your cycle and understanding when your body is fertile is one thing when you’re single. Things change a little when you’re actually in a relationship.

Now if you’ve ever heard our mushy meeting story, Dan and I walked away from our first date knowing this is it. One thing led to another and I had a decision to make. I was terrified of being that girl who got pregnant because I was using a natural method of birth control. A method that the majority of people don’t really understand. And I was terrified of what people would think. It was the point of no return. I could go back on the pill and keep doing what I was doing, or I could take that leap of faith and trust in myself and keep moving forward with this incredible knowledge I had gained.

Dan was completely supportive of whatever choice I made and didn’t want me doing anything I wasn’t comfortable with, and so… I decided to go back on the pill. I can hear you groan and roll your eyes from here! About 3 days later it went in the bin forever. This time was different. I talked the talk, it was time to walk the walk. It was now or never. And I knew that I wanted to be off the pill for a couple of years before trying for a baby anyway, soooo, what the hell.

And that decision felt good. And I immediately felt more confident in myself. I trusted the system, I trusted myself and my body, I knew it was possible. And we talked about it every step of the way. And we still do. And honestly, involving my partner in the process was the very last piece of the puzzle.

These days, Dan and I openly discuss whether or not I’m fertile over dinner. He understands the menstrual cycle and fertility more than a lot of women do! Our relationship is better as a result because we are communicating in the most open way and we completely trust one another to make fertility awareness work for us. And sure, he’s clucky as hell, but when I’m fertile he knows what to do.

And the funny thing is, I was so scared to stop taking the pill because I didn’t want to give up control. I liked knowing that my period would arrive each and every month at 11:00 on a Tuesday morning – seriously. The funny thing is, I still know down to the day when my period is coming. I’ll look on my chart and count forward to the day I think it will arrive, and I’ll wake up in the morning and say, today’s the day. And that level of control is so much more empowering than taking a pill every morning.

The mission of Mana Women’s Wellness is to empower women to take control of their health and understand their bodies. And my mantra is Knowledge is empowerment. Because oh my god, the level of confidence and empowerment and trust in myself that comes with understanding my body is truly something that I can’t put into words.

And that’s my why. That’s what lights me up most. Helping women to feel enough, to feel confident in their skin and to celebrate how incredible our bodies can be. Even at rock bottom, my body was telling me that something wasn’t right. Eventually, I listened. And it has completely transformed my life.

In my relationships and the way I accept being treated by other people. From being treated like crap and crippled with poor self esteem, to enjoying a relationship where we are a true partnership. We’re best friends and can talk about absolutely anything and when things are heating up, he is comfortable looking me in the eye and asking, “are you fertile?”. But more often than not, he doesn’t even need to ask because he already knows.

I want for you to experience this level of confidence about your body. To love your body no matter what shape or size you are, to care for and respect your body through exercise, nutrition and planning your life around your menstrual cycle – however that looks for you. It takes confidence in yourself to get started. It takes courage to remind yourself that this innate wisdom is already inside of you. That you already know your body and you can do this. Periods, pregnancy, pelvic floor – understanding your body on any level means that you can make informed decisions about your health and become less dependent on medical professionals to give you all the answers. Because you know your body better than anyone else. But I think you already know that.

I want to help you find your why. That thing that inspires you. Your reason for getting out of bed every morning. That thing that excites you more than anything else. That thing you could spend hours doing and time simply disappears. 

Because ultimately, we all need a purpose. We all need that one thing that gets us out of bed in the morning. Your why doesn’t have to be big and bold and beautiful. It doesn’t have to save lives, or even change lives. It just has to be that one thing that makes your life better, brighter, happier. It has to be important to you, and only to you. Because finding my why, my purpose, has completely changed my life. And so I want to help to you find yours.

And because I know that sometimes these health journeys can get kind of lonely..., if I can be that person whispering in your ear "You can do this!" (when the rest of the world seems ready to watch you fall flat on your face) - then I'll consider my job done!

And there you have it. We have only just kicked off The Mana Women’s Wellness Podcast and I have laid all my cards on the table, worn my heart on my sleeve and you already know all my deepest darkest secrets.

I promise that the next episode will not be quite as self-indulgent, but I know that when I listen to podcasts, I really want to feel like I know the person coming at me through my headphones, and so for those of you who are new to The Mana Wellness Tribe, I really wanted to share my own story with you today and why I created Mana Women’s Wellness in the first place.

If you learnt something new or found value in today’s episode, I’d love to hear from you! Send me an Instagram DM, post it on your stories – share a story of yourself listening to the podcast – and let me know what you want me to talk about. This podcast is for you and so I want to talk about the things that are most important to you!

Now if you want a step by step guide to finding your own why, your purpose and your ready for jumping out of bed in the morning, I’ve created a workbook just for you. When you sign up for my Free 7 Day Wellness Challenge, you’ll get a free “Finding Your Why” workbook.

I’ll encourage you to really tune in to what you want out of life, what really lights you up to help you to find that one thing.

You can join my 7 Day Wellness Challenge right now at manawomenswellness.com/freechallenge and your free “Finding Your Why” workbook will arrive in your inbox soon.

I will see you in next week’s episode, which is Part One of my Menstrual Cycle Miniseries. You won’t want to miss it!

Ok, bye for now and don’t forget that knowledge is power!

When you truly understand your body, you are empowered to make informed decisions and take control of your health!

Until next time.

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