Kate Johansson has it all figured out. At just 29 she is married to John, the love of her life, works out 3-4 times a week and is the face, heart and soul of Koja, her nutritious Melbourne based food company that advocates nourishing the body with real food rather than artificial supplements and bogus products. Kate’s wellness journey may have stemmed from vanity and the desire to be thin, but these days it is about living holistically and attaining a peace of mind, assured that she is nourished and healthy.
“My health philosophy is about getting your mind right,” Kate tells me.
“A lot of people are only interested in the physical, especially today in that whole Instagram world. You have to have the right size bum, abs, be super fit and toned and look amazing in a bikini.”
Kate’s wellness journey started from a young age. Growing up in a household with brothers and a mum who cooked nutritious and wholesome food, she was always into sports and ate well without even thinking about it.
Friday nights were “treat nights” where Kate and her brothers were able to devour their favourite take away food, which was usually McDonalds. But at just 12 years old Kate decided that she didn’t want the burger and fries anymore, and started asking for healthier take-away options instead, like sushi and chicken salads instead.
“I really haven’t eaten junk food since then, and just started eating better food,” Kate tells me.
But a move to London when she was 18 gave Kate a big dose of the “Heathrow Injection,” where she gained about 10kg.
“I went from exercising to about 11 times a week to not exercising at all and eating really bad food,” she admits.
“I was working in a pub where they provided lunch and dinner which would be pizza and chips for lunch and pizza and chips for dinner, so of course I would put on weight.”
Moving back home meant that Kate tried to lose all the weight, admitting that she adapting some pretty extreme measures.
“I went through a lot of effort to lose the weight, and did some unhealthy things to my body,” she confesses.
“And what I finally realised was to stop eating all those products designed for weight loss, like the low fat products, and to start eating real food and to do it from a place of loving, not hating your body.”
This philosophy continues to define Kate’s relationship with food and her body today.
Her priority is to nourish her body with good food and to love herself from the inside out, a philosophy that she advocates for anyone. This realisation has allowed Kate to have a positive relationship with her body and with food, something that many struggle with everyday.
“I know that so many young women have beautiful bodies but they may torture themselves with every bite of food that they put into their mouths to maintain this beautiful or skinny body,” she tells me.
“We need to change this outlook to having a healthy mind, and how you feel on the inside.”
Kate is a proud size 12, and although some may look at that as a bigger size, she wears it proudly as she knows she looks after herself, eats well, and gets plenty of sunlight, adequate rest and exercises regularly.
“I am not super skinny but I know that I am healthy. I have been skinnier before but I beat myself up everyday to get there and stay there. I am now relaxed about food and I know that size 12 is me. Size 8 or 10 is not and that’s okay.”
Kate’s bottom line is that overall health comes from the inside, and this type of holistic health is what everyone should strive for on their fitness journey, rather than torture themselves to be thin.
“It all comes down to the relationship we have with ourselves, which is the most important relationship we will ever have with anyone,” she emphasises.
“Being imperfect is what makes you, you and what makes you beautiful. If we were all this cookie-cutter, “same as everyone else” kind of people, where is our value? Everyone else is taken, so just be yourself and own it!”
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