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Health coach Liga Krumina on her long journey to be at peace with food

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The relationship between food and Liga Krumina was a messed up one, filled with tension and desire: "the typical type of abusive love/hate kind of thing," Liga, who is now launching her own wellness website, tells us. 

 

Originally from Latvia, Liga is now a London-based health coach who focuses on improving her clients' relationship with food. As she launches LK Health and Wellness, she is keen to share her experience and struggle with young people who might be facing the challenges that she has previously overcome. "Food is so important," she says, "and such a big part of our lives."

Growing up on a farm in Latvia, her childhood environment couldn't be healthier. "No one has ever heard of “diet” before," says Liga, reminiscing her childhood. "We grow our own salads, potatoes, pumpkins; pick cranberries, blueberries and raspberries in the forest."

Waking up at six o’clock in the morning, Liga would milk the cows, guide them to the field and feed them with grass. Maybe unsurprisingly, “I prefer winter," she says, "because I can stay in bed a bit longer."

Life would have swung along, but then one horrendous night crept in - and it is from here that Ligfa believes her problems with control began. “I do remember, but I try not to remember," she says. "I guess it’s was from then everything started to go wrong.”

A visit to the neighbors on Liga’s Name Day saw Liga’s father stabbed with a garden fork by the angry neighbor, who had discovered Liga’s father’s affair with his wife.

Living a small village, where people stick together in marriages - happy or miserable - a divorce would have been scandalous. Nevertheless, Liga’s parents’ divorce came through when she was ten, and, blaming herself, she cried at night. “I couldn’t believe my dad had done such a thing. I was daddy’s girl, I loved my dad; I still do now,” she says.

Liga got into a fight with a boy over her family situation, during which she slipped and broke her arm. For six years she begged her mum to transfer her to another school, but it only happened when she went to college - which was where she took control of her own diet.

For the next 15 years, Liga struggled in her relationship with food. It began simply enough - learning about food and calories, which were supposed be healthy, but turned out to be disastrous.

She became extremely gaunt, weighing slightly above 90 pounds at a height of 5’3’’ - so gaunt that she felt her skin wrapped against her bone and her hair fell out in clumps. Yet she still felt that she should lose more weight. "I thought I had to look a certain way to have people like me,’ she says. She became anorexic at the age of 17: "It was so noticeable that my classmates tried to get my sister to help me."

Caught between crossroads, Liga decided to move to London in 2003 at age 18, which has helped her ‘massively’. She says: "arriving in London, I found so many different foods that I wanted to try!" She started gaining weight, but unfortunately, her journey didn’t end there.

The obsession with weight had slowly taken over her life: she’d feel in control, powerful, even jubilant when losing weight, and feel disgusted by herself when gaining any at all - as if there were enormous clouds of guilt hung over her head if she consumed one piece of chocolate.

This would inevitably result in binge eating in the desperate hope of making herself feel better. She would use methods that included vomiting, extreme sports and even starving herself for days. "I have," she says, "tried every diet on earth." But even with these methods, she could not help but almost double her weight when compared to her lightest - and she developed bulimia.

After 15 years of tussle and twinge, Liga saw a light at the end of the tunnel - and it wasn’t a train. At a course designed to help people discover their own blind spots, Liga, for the first time, was able to see herself - shattered and bruised. "it was the divorce, the childhood trauma that made me feel unloved, and I didn’t love myself," she tells us reflectively, before pausing and taking a sip of her coffee. "Once I had learnt that I was in more control, and I realised that it was me making the decisions, not food."

Liga had always thought of food as the enemy, and the peace made between her and food was definitely not an easy one. "I hope to send a message to all women out there to recognise love, and the relationship between mind and food," she says. "I used to look in the mirror and tell myself that I was fat and ugly - I still would change things about myself, but I don’t go harsh or mean on myself anymore."

In 2017, Liga has now returned to the weight that she was at 16, before dieting. She dines out, eats junk food - occasionally - and feels healthy, confident and sexy.

"Looking at the old pictures at my lightest weight, I feel like making the girl in the photo eat – I didn’t look good then!" Liga exclaims with a laugh. Speaking in such light, cheerful, bubbly tune, anyone would find it hard to believe that this was once a woman on the edge.

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