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Leaning Away From Diet Culture And Into Yourself – Exclusive Interview With Morgana Lakatos-Hayward

Morgana Lakatos-Hayward is a former 2-time world champion Latin dancer who then went on to become a certified health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and open up her own health coaching practice: This Isn’t a Diet. Her passion for health and wellness comes from her own pain and experiences, and further translates into her podcast: Listen To This When You’re Done Dieting available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, as well as her upcoming book: Read This When You’re Done Dieting. Morgana’s mission is to teach women about their bodies, support their systems to get back in balance, and in turn, lose weight without dieting.


Image photo of Morgana Lakatos-Hayward

Morgana Lakatos-Hayward, Health Coach, Podcaster, Author


What is your story behind becoming a world champion dancer and leaving that career path to become a health coach, podcaster and author?


My story is perhaps a bit unorthodox as when I was at the peak of my dancing and dance career, I decided to leave it to pursue my passion in the health and wellness world. Most people to this day probably still don’t understand why. Maybe I should start from the beginning.


I have been dancing almost every day since I was 3 years old, and when I was 8, I begun to travel internationally for competitions and take my career more seriously. I hit puberty at the late age of 13-14 and had started to put on weight as my body was developing and changing. The dance world was telling me that I needed to lose about 5kg of weight after every competition, and this begun my 10 years of fad diets, eating disorders and body dysmorphia. It was not a fun time let me tell you.


I battled constant criticism and hating my own reflection in the mirror (and I danced in front of a mirror all day), as well as the fact that those diets were causing multiple imbalances within my body. This led to severe acne, chronic fatigue, bloating, constipation, missed and irregular periods, and I was putting on weight as a result.


At the age of 20, I was diagnosed with adenomyosis due to the hormonal imbalances I had created within my own body. If I didn’t start to take care of my hormones and other bodily systems, I was told that I would develop endometriosis. This begun my research into the health and wellness world and spurred me to start to implement hacks and information I was learning to rebalance my systems.


Miraculously, I had lost all the weight I was trying to lose within one month, my acne had cleared, I no longer suffered from painful bloating and chronic constipation, and I felt incredible. I felt like this is something I need to share with other women to help them heal and make this information more accessible (as there is an abundance of misinformation from so called “health experts” in the field). This led me to get certified as a health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and throughout the program I begun to develop my health coaching practice: This Isn’t a Diet.


I also begun to create more content through my social channels to make this information more accessible, as well as start my own podcast entitled: Listen To This When You’re Done Dieting (which you can find on Spotify and Apple Podcasts), as well as my upcoming book that I am currently in the publishing phase on. These new projects have reignited my purpose and it brings me so much joy to help other women overcome their own struggles and become healthier and happier!


What is your mission with your business, This Isn’t a Diet?


Our mission over at This Isn’t a Diet is centered around educating women about their bodies so they can make more informed choices. We take a holistic approach and focus on rebalancing their hormones, blood sugar levels and gut health to reach their desired goals. However, we also spend time uncovering blocks or stress from their lives which may be resulting in several of the symptoms these women come to me with, as we try to find the root cause and heal from there.


I would love to make a lasting change in the way women think about their bodies and reaching their goals. I would also love to change their mindset towards dieting, starvation and restriction, which are short-term tools which cause long-term damage and the opposite of what these women want. I hope to be a positive voice towards sustainable change and put the right information into women’s hands so they can make better choices.


What are your health values and beliefs?


I have an abundance of health values and beliefs, but down to my core, I believe that our bodies have an inner wisdom that communicates to us what it is lacking or what it needs to perform optimally. Oftentimes, these signals are missed, and many women nowadays live out of sync with their bodies due this trend of fad dieting, eating enormous amounts of processed foods (even if they’re labeled as “healthy”), and those imbalances that therefore exist within them. Not to mention the chronic stress that plagues the majority of my clients’ lives.

 

The recent article I have published here at Brainz Magazine gives a more in-depth answer to my philosophy surrounding weight loss, diets and getting back in tune with your body. However, to summarize, I believe that the weight loss industry has grown so much (to become a multi-billion-dollar industry), and women are taken advantage of as every year there is a new dieting trend they “should” be trying. This often involves products and supplements they spend their hard-earned money on filled with many artificial ingredients, chemicals, and toxins, which have the power to create imbalances and cause weight gain. Getting back to our roots is always the answer.


I am a believer in non-restrictive intuitive eating which places the power back into women’s hands, limits their cravings, and gets them back into their intuition surrounding their bodies and lives. There are many simple (all-natural) hacks I include in my work with clients, podcast, book, and articles to come which I am excited to share with more and more women.


What is your upcoming book, Read This When You’re Done Dieting about? And when can we expect it to be available?


The inspiration for this book came from reading many other powerful books surrounding dieting, hormonal health, the mind-gut connection and glucose, which gave me amazing tools, but lacked the handholding to piece these systems together. I struggled to understand how I could manage these various systems at once. This is where my years of research and time at IIN came in and helped me write this book.


It firstly educates women about each system, and every chapter commences with a symptom checklist so women can begin to see whether they need to pay extra attention to the system we are discussing. The chapters end with hacks to get each system back in balance, and I wrap the book up by explaining how everything interacts with one another, and which hacks help all 3 systems at once. I also decided to include a chapter discussing food energetics as it was also a powerful tool in my research and healing.


This book is a childhood dream of mine and I can’t wait for it to be published. (I wanted to become an author before my dream of becoming a professional dancer and am so glad I am getting to fulfill both of those goals). The expected publishing date is not certain yet, but I am hoping that by the end of this summer it will be available.


Do you have any favorite health hacks you can share with the women out there reading?


I have so many hacks I have no idea which ones to choose! Perhaps let’s start with weight loss. Ladies, castor oil tummy massages for 5 minutes before you go to bed will become your new best friend. As well, try to increase your step count per day. This can be simple things such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, offering to run errands instead of your partner, taking public transport rather than your car, or even just taking a quick walk around the block after some of your meals.


For your hormones, raspberry leaf tea is a savior. If you are like me (well, the old me), who used to suffer from intense cramps and hormonal imbalances, raspberry leaf tea will cure all of that. My favorite time to use it is during PMS week before menstruation, and I find that even my menstrual cycle is way easier to manage! (Side note: for those looking to get pregnant, raspberry leaf tea will even boost your fertility). Managing your blood sugar levels will also help to balance your hormones and the easiest hack I have with this still lets you eat sweets and carbs. From now on, begin eating your food in the right order: fiber, proteins and fats and then carbohydrates. (Believe me there is a whole explanation as to why this works, but for now trust me and wait until my book comes out).


A health hack surrounding your gut health would be to get 2-3 colours from whole foods on every single plate of food. Each colour (naturally occurring of course), has different vitamins, minerals and antioxidants our bodies need to function optimally, as well as offer your gut multiple nutrients to diversify and satisfy your microbes. If you already start with these hacks, you will be doing so much good for your health!


Do you have any favorite resources such as books, documentaries and podcasts for women looking to do more research?


Yes! I have many tools to help women out there who are looking to find the right information. Two of my all-time favorite books have got to be Glucose Revolution by Jessie Inchaupsé, and Woman Code by Alissa Vitti, (hopefully my upcoming book will become one of your new favorites)! Jessie’s book details how glucose works in our bodies, and it answered many questions for me (as I have a major sweet tooth). Woman Code is an incredibly informative book surrounding women’s hormones and it is a must-read! I have to mention that I absolutely adore Biohacking Like a Woman by Aggie Lal as well as there were many easy-to-implement tips to get started on your health journey.


There is one woman who I have never met (but hope to one day), and her book Mastering Your Mean Girl by Melissa Ambrosini was what inspired me to attend the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I listen to her podcast every week: The Melissa Ambrosini Show as she brings on guest lecturers with truly brilliant information from different walks of life. I have to toot my own horn as well and say that my podcast: Listen To This When You’re Done Dieting is insightful and helps put the right information surrounding your health, financial wellbeing, entrepreneurial goals, and mindset into your hands.


You Are What You Eat: A Twin Experiment available on Netflix, was a hugely informative documentary which helped my research as well as a new documentary that is now available: Hack Your Health: The Secrets of Your Gut. If you are the type of woman who likes visuals to help with her learning, then definitely give these two a watch.


How can women looking to work with you get started?


Submitting their email through my website funnel at thisisntadiet.com is the easiest way for them to get in touch with me and book a free health consultation. However, they can also contact me directly through my email: morgana@thisisntadiet.com or through my social channels on Instagram: @morganalh or @this.isnt.a.diet.


After we are in contact, the first step is to do a 30-minute health consultation to discuss their symptoms, diagnoses, past health information and for me to assess their goals and whether they would be a good fit for my programs. If we agree to work together, I help set them up on one of my programs which I customize to their unique needs, and we go from there!


Do you have any final words of advice for women out there looking to become healthier, happier versions of themselves?


I would advise women to firstly, don’t believe or be fooled by everything you see on social media. There are many falsely advertised “quick weight loss” programs available, but take my word for it, many are trying to make a buck off you and don’t have your goals or best interests at heart. Do your research and assess which approach is best for you. Go with your gut instinct.


Secondly, please don’t treat each of your symptoms separately. For example, if you struggle with acne, irregular periods, bloating, fatigue, painful cramps, low libido, etc., this means you have a hormonal imbalance. I see many women in my work try to focus their attention on one. Take their acne as an example. They use prescription pills and creams which come with a myriad of side effects, and they still struggle with the other symptoms. Write down your symptoms, take it to a registered health professional who can help (such as myself), and find the root cause of your symptoms. Once you find the imbalance, the root cause could be anything. It could be resulting from too much stress in your life, eating an overly processed diet, childhood trauma, under or overexercising, or even a lifestyle block such as staying in a toxic relationship for too long. Your health coach can help you delve into these areas and uncover what your root cause is so that you can learn how to manage it (and therefore fix ALL your symptoms at once)!


Lastly, I would say to any woman who is reading this to learn how love yourself and your body. We all come in a different blueprint, and just because perhaps we don’t look like a model we saw in a magazine (which has been photoshopped, mind you), doesn’t mean that we don’t owe ourselves respect, grace and love. Once you start to show respect to yourself and your body, all the pieces will fall into place.


Follow me on Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

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