Kate Callaghan is a holistic nutritionist, personal trainer and lifestyle coach who also happens to live in one of my favourite places in the world – Wanaka, New Zealand. Kate specialises in hormone healing and it was her own journey from healing a body that was infertile (due to hypothalamic amenorrhea) that lead her to doing the amazing work she does today.
Kate helps women heal from hormone imbalances so that they can thrive, not just survive. She has also just published her first book and she tells us a little more about it in this interview. I know you will enjoy both Kate’s story and her message for you all.
For my readers who may not know you I’d love for you to start by telling us who you are, what you do and how you are making a big impact in the world right now.
I am an Australian holistic nutritionist, dietitian and personal trainer currently living in beautiful Wanaka, New Zealand, with my husband, daughter and cat (yes, I’m a crazy cat lady. I’d love a dog but we’re currently renting. Boo!). I specialise in women’s hormonal health – I help women optimise their wellbeing through food, movement, stress management and self-love for lifelong health, happiness and hotness!
I know that several years ago you were in a completely different space health wise than you are now. You describe yourself as having been a little ball of muscle with the ‘ideal’ body, but while you looked the part on the outside there was chaos inside. Can you tell us a little more about what was going on for you at this time, how you felt physically and emotionally, and how it was impacting your life?
Ahh yes – COMPLETELY different space! I was a group fitness instructor – exercising was what I did for a living, but I took it to the extreme and did not fuel my body appropriately (pretty hard to do when you’re doing up to 16 hours of hard-core exercise a week!). Basically my body fat was too low (that’s how I had a very definite six-pack for abs), I was under-eating, over-exercising and taking on too much psychological stress, which culminated in my reproductive system shutting up shop. I was diagnosed with hypothalamic amenorrhea which, in very simple terms, means my brain decided that is was not an ideal time for reproduction (as it sensed I was in a “famine” of sorts), so it shut off communication to my ovaries – my period stopped and I became infertile.
How did I FEEL? Well, despite having the “ideal” body, I felt like crap. I had low energy, no libido, I was moody – it wasn’t pretty. Emotionally I was a wreck. We wanted to start a family; however the doctors were saying that this would not be possible to do without medication….all because of how I had treated my body over the years.
This was obviously the catalyst for a huge change in lifestyle for you. Can you tell us about the healing journey you went through and how it has influenced the work that you do now?
Absolutely a huge kick in the rear-end! In order to heal from hypothalamic amenorrhea and restore my period I had to eat more, exercise less and manage my stress, which seems easy in theory, but in reality it was much harder. My body had, in a sense, become my identity. I was known as “abs” to some people. I had women coming up to me everyday asking how they could look like me.
Mentally, it was a huge hurdle to get over. However, my reasons for doing so were pretty significant – I was infertile, wanted to have a baby (at the age of 27), my bone density was not great and I didn’t want to find myself in a wheelchair with osteoporosis by the time I was 40.
So I made the changes – slowly, but surely. I cut down my exercise, I increased my food intake, and I incorporated daily stress management techniques. However the most important change I made, that made all of the other changes possible, was treating myself with love and respect – every single minute of every single day.
You have also just written a book, which is very exciting! Can you tell us about the book, whom you have written it for and how it is going to change the lives of those that read it?
YES! My book “Holistic Nutrition: Eat Well, Train Smart and Be Kind to Your Body” is all about how to get your hormones in their happy place by adopting simple strategies around food, movement, stress management and self-love for long-term health and happiness!
In my book you will discover that, whatever you particular goal might be – from boosting fertility, losing body fat, gaining some muscle, reducing bloating, sleeping better, increasing energy or not worrying all the time about what you are eating – you will need to understand and get control over your hormones.
Why? Because your hormones control pretty much everything in your body and brain – from how you look (including your ability to maintain a healthy weight), to how you feel, to how easily you fall pregnant. They can even play a role in whether you cruise or struggle through menopause. Hormones are the thing. You need to keep them happy if you want to be happy!
Who is it for? Women! All women! Seriously – there is not a single woman who has come into my practice (or even that I have met on the street) who has their hormone health sorted. There is a lot of misinformation out there and I want to help dispel it and provide realistic and sustainable alternatives (which means no more deprivation and no more self-hate).
What do you believe the ‘key’ to healing is?
Ooh – I think looking at things from a holistic point of view and nourishing yourself on all levels is really key. So that means nutrient-dense foods, biologically appropriate movement, daily stress management, good quality sleep and loads and loads of self-love and kindness.
Also realising that there is no “one-size-fits-all” – what works for Susie next door won’t necessarily work for you. And what works for Johnny down the road DEFINITELY won’t work for you (I talk about in my book how what works for men often does not work for women and what to do instead). It is also important to acknowledge that what works for you now might not necessarily work for you in the future. You need to be adaptable – listen to your body and don’t be afraid to change paths if your current one isn’t cutting the mustard.
If you could give my readers, who may be just starting out on their own healing journey, one piece of advice what would it be?
Start with self-love. Once you love and respect yourself everything else falls into place. If you do not love yourself you are not likely to nourish yourself with good food, kind thoughts, appropriate exercise and regular R&R. Start with self-love, people.
What truly inspires you in both your life and your work?
So much! I am inspired by the incredible journeys of my clients and the women who email me on a daily basis to tell me how happy (or pregnant) they have become as a result of treating their body better.
I am inspired by other women working in the same field as me.
I am inspired by my friends.
I am inspired by my daughter, Olivia – her complete and utter innocence, with so much potential. She inspires me every day to do better and to be better.
And if my readers would love to connect with you and support you in the work you do, where is the best place for them to start?
I would love that! I can be found here:
Thanks Nicola! Xx
Kate is a holistic nutritionist, dietitian, international speaker, personal trainer and mother of one, living in Wanaka, New Zealand. Kate is the author of “Holistic Nutrition: Eat Well, Train Smart & Be Kind to Your Body”. Having experienced hormonal chaos and infertility, and managing to heal herself naturally, Kate is passionate about healing women’s hormones and fast-tracking them to health, happiness and hotness through nutrient-dense foods, rejuvenating movement, unconditional self-love, and mindful and sustainable practices. You can find Kate through her website www.theholisticnutritionist.com, or via her social media: