3 minute read
FROM ADDICTION TO INSPIRING CHANGE THROUGH FITNESS
B Y : C A R O L I N E B E L L E N G E R
It’s another beautiful morning on Australia’s Gold Coast, and the sun is slowly rising over the ocean. As the world wakes for the day, you will find Caroline Bellenger, already up and training her clients—and that’s before she embarks on her own run.
Caroline enjoys a morning ritual of coffee and meditation at the beach, before starting her working day at 8 am. It’s been her consistent routine for five years, and it’s this commitment to her fitness—and wellbeing—that has not only helped her achieve her wildest dreams of representing Australia in triathlons, climb to the Mt Everest Base Camp, as well as competing in National Surf Life Saving events, but also helped her to stay focused, keep a strong mindset, and to stay sober …
As a young girl, Caroline had experienced more than she should have, and by the age of 17, she moved into the wide world of university …
but instead of being immersed in her studies, Caroline found boys and alcohol. And unfortunately, they were the only things that helped her escape her past.
Beyond university, Caroline continued tobe very successful in her different careerpaths, and although she interacted withmany people, they were oblivious to heraddiction and her depression—in her ownwords:
I was a highly functioning addict. Despite the chaos in my personal life, I usually managed to control my career, my appearance, and my parenting. Only those closest to me saw past this persona I had created.
In April of 2009, Caroline knew that she was going to die, either from her deteriorating health, or her suicidal ideology—that had reached a dark and frightening place. But it wasn’t until she considered putting her own baby up for adoption, that she severed her connection to her life as a high functioning addict. If you’ve ever met Caroline and her son—who is a beautiful, strong, and caring young man who loves his mum—you would understand how integral he has been in helping her to be who she is today.
Now, 11 years later—and 11 years sober— Caroline has changed her life. She says that exercise became her saviour; helping her learn the skills to reframe her negative thoughts, to push through her darkest moments, be assertive, stand up for her beliefs and through it all, she found her tribe.
After quitting her highly successful, high paying job because of workplace bullying, Caroline began working for herself. Today, she is a passionate Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and creator of the Be The Impossible Courses.
She also owns and operates a successful boutique gym—Epic Pro Fitness—and shares that is is her goal, is to inspire women to use exercise as a way of managing life’s challenges, just like she did.
Caroline shares her disappointment in much of the health and fitness industry, and feels that it encourages poor body image and low self-esteem. But she counters this with her own way for women to love their bodies and regain confidence in their abilities. Caroline is a fiercely passionate advocate against fad diets and unrealistic exercise regimes, and says her preference is to do small changes over time.
She implements this ideology through her training and programs, and is so proud of her clients, who’ve experienced their own life-changing experiences.
‘I feel an obligation to champion women to cultivate feelings of empowerment by being healthy, both physically and mentally.’ Caroline states.
It is a joy and an honour to speak with Caroline, as she shares the journey that led her to where she is today. When asked for three tips for Mumpreneurs who might be experiencing addiction, she gave these wise words:
Replace your usual drinking time with some physical activity like a walk or bike ride.
Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling. This can be a friend, a counsellor, a stranger, or even a representative from a related community organisation.
Don’t judge yourself. Life as a mum can be hard, but there are people who want to support and help you.