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A Melbourne woman has revealed how she was finally able to overcome her diet obsession after realised it was affecting her own children.
Nikki Kolak became a nutrition and transformation coach after she was stood down from her job during Covid.
But the mother-of-three, who battled bulimia as a teenager, said she’s had a long journey to get to a place where she can help others.
Before embarking on her health career, Nikki was caught in the grips of an eating disorder, that saw her a dangerously restrictive diet and exercising excessively.
It was only when her health began deteriorating that Nikki had the realisation “something was wrong with me” and sought help.
“For the longest time I believed getting to the certain number on the scale was going to be my ticket to happiness,” Nikki told news.com.au.
But even when she hit the number she held in her head for years, Nikki said it only made things worse.
Each morning, she would stare at herself in the mirror at 5am and point out her perceived flaws.
“I actually convinced myself that I was even bigger than before when I was pregnant,” she said.
During this time of mental struggles, Nikki enlisted a coach to help on her transformation journey, but realises now it was a “toxic” relationship that fuelled her eating disorder.
“It was almost like she would be proud of me if I was pushed through that hunger,” she said.
But despite her body hitting unrealistic social expectations, Nikki said everything else in her life was suffering – her work, her marriage, her social life and her relationship with her children.
“My eldest was getting into her teenage years and I realised if I kept doing I was going to screw her up,” Nikki said.
The young mum had first hand experience of this she said, explaining that while growing up, it was culturally acceptable to comment on a woman’s body and food intake.
She didn’t want to continue that habit with her own children, admitting “fat-shaming” and “body-shaming” herself so frequently in front of them was bound to have an effect.
“I realised I have to do this for my children and myself too. Something was wrong with me,” she revealed.
“I was always really sick. I never had energy. I was getting heart palpitations and my health was deteriorating as well.
“And it was all because of all the things that I was doing.”
When she hit her realisation, Nikki decided she wanted to not only help herself, but also help others struggling like she was.
“I’m very, very passionate about helping people and nutrition. I live and breathe it,” she said.
“I think even coaching my own clients helped me with my own healing journey.”
Nikki studied nutrition and coaching, and eventually founded her business called Make It Fit With Nikki.
Recently, she uploaded a photograph comparing herself from when she was at her previously desired weight to how she looks now.
The comparison was accompanied by an emotional caption where Nikki revealed what she had been through to get there.
“I felt sad looking at that photo because I was like ‘oh my god, you were so unhappy and you’re smiling for this photo like you’re happy,” she said.
“I’ve since deleted the original photo off my Instagram, but I did have it on there before I realised what I was doing to myself to show how determined and dedicated I was – but I didn’t explain how I got there.”
Nikki hasn’t had a bulimia relapse since 2021, a huge feat for someone who has been living with the eating disorder since she was just 12-years-old.
“Every day I said it would be the last time – I had no idea I would still be battling it until my 30s,” she said.
She said now, she doesn’t know the girl in the photograph from 2020 and feels nothing but sadness for her.
She recently shared a bikini snap to her Instagram, saying when she was at her lowest weight she couldn’t imagine wearing the swimsuit. She said she would “cringe” at the thought of it”.
A lot has changed since then, with Nikki now wearing a swimsuit proudly and hoping it helps others overcome their own body struggles.