Women Who Inspire And Influence...by Cat Turner London
Posted on July 02 2020
Cat Turner London meets... Tricia Lodge, who on being struck by sudden chronic health issues, challenged the British health system and transformed her life from high-flying TV executive - meeting the likes of Obama and Tom Cruise - to Health and Life Coach, helping others to overcome their health issues.
I recently met Tricia and was blown away by her story.
Whether your curiosity lies in what a career in TV entails, what it's like to have your life completely and utterly turned upside down by unplanned chronic health issues or how it's possible to start a new career from scratch in your mid 30's ...you absolutely won't want to miss this interview!
1) So Tricia – you used to be a high flying TV exec? Can you tell me a little bit more about the role, what you did and how your career led you to that point?
After university I joined the BBC on their graduate trainee scheme. It was a really exciting time as, aged just 22, I soon found myself on the sets of shows I’d grown up watching, surrounded by famous actors and presenters. I worked in a number of areas, ranging from documentaries to drama to news and sport but ended up specialising in marketing and communications. In addition to the BBC, I also worked at broadcasters including MTV, Comedy Central, Sky and FOXTEL in Australia.
2) Did you enjoy it, was it a job that you had always wanted to do…and did you get to meet anyone famous?!
To start with I loved working in TV. It was another world from what I was used to. I was a girl from the English countryside who was suddenly flying to glamorous filming locations and going to celebrity filled parties.
Yes, I got to meet all sorts of famous people along the way, including Hollywood celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise and Hugh Jackman. In fact, out of everyone I worked with, Hugh was probably the nicest and I remember him gifting me his enormous suite at the Park Hyatt hotel in Sydney, overlooking the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and going to stay with his family instead.
As well as the film actors, there were the pop stars and I recall how exciting it would be at BBC Television Centre each week on the night Top of the Pops was recorded. I would purposely head down to the studios just to take a peek at the likes of Madonna, Prince and Michael Jackson.
In sport, I met lots of famous sportspeople but as a woman it was tricky. I found there was a lot of sexism and you constantly had to prove your credibility, plus you also had to be careful with unwanted advances. The footballers were often the worst….
Overall, of everyone I’ve ever met, Barrack Obama is the person who will always stand out. I was working for BBC News on the first Obama election and we crossed the US by tour bus for six weeks, from coast to coast, following the campaign trail. At one of the Presidential debates, I got to sit at Obama HQ which is where I met Barrack and Michelle. Seeing Obama become president was a pivotal moment in history which I’ll never forget.
3) But it wasn’t quite what you expected? Can you share with us the turning point when you realized that things were not as they should be?
I think it’s quite normal in business that the more senior you get, the less involved you are with the things that attracted you to the work in the first place. As time went on, I spent more time pulling together budgets, org charts and justifying my team’s existence to executive management. It was no longer fun but became a game of politics.
I was miserable but had got stuck on the hamster wheel that I know so many others get caught on. I didn’t especially enjoy my work anymore but was finally earning a high salary which enabled me to enjoy a lifestyle that I didn’t want to lose. In the end, however, it was my body that made the decision for me. All of a sudden, I became incredibly unwell.
4) What happened and what were your symptoms?
It was on a November morning in 2014 that I found myself lying on the cold, hard floor of a toilet cubicle in the loos at Comedy Central where I was working at the time. This certainly wasn’t the most glamorous moment of my 15 year career in broadcasting! With just a jumper under my head and coat across my body, I attempted to get some rest and re-energise before heading into another series of “back to back” meetings. Something wasn’t right with me but I didn’t know what it was. Yes, I was tired but it wasn’t like normal tiredness. It was more like a very bad jetlag with my limbs aching, mind foggy, throat sore and a fever in the background. In fact, as I went into my next meeting, I started presenting to the room but soon lost my train of thought and couldn’t get my words out. I truly felt my mind was going. This wasn’t a one off but had been happening for weeks. The next day as I drove into work, following the same route I had driven for the past two years, I suddenly had no idea where to go. I pulled over in panic not remembering how to get to my office or what the way was to return home. Once again sheer exhaustion washed over me and I realised something was very very wrong.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, I had many of the classic symptoms of ME (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). The ME Association lists them as Post Exertional Malaise; Flu Like Symptoms; Muscle Fatigue, Joint and Nerve Pain; Sleep Problems, Vivid Dreams and Night Sweats; Cognitive Dysfunction; Light and Sound Issues; Dizziness and Fainting; and Gastrointestinal Issues.
5) What did the British doctors say?
The professor I saw at UCLH diagnosed ME (also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and gave a very bleak prognosis, telling me I was likely to have this chronic condition for life. At the time there had been little research into ME and I wasn’t given any sort of treatment plan to follow.
6) I find it truly inspiring that you weren’t willing to take all of this lying down, but instead decided to fight to get better. How long was that period of recuperation, what types of things did you try and what did you find the most helpful?
As a result of what the doctor had told me, I was forced to go on my own healing journey to try to find a cure to my condition. This is when I started learning about the powers of functional medicine (identifying and addressing the root causes of diseases) as well as various healing modalities ranging from methods to detoxify my body, a very specific diet (raw, alkaline, living foods), yoga, meditation, psychotherapy and energy healing. A lot of this took place at a residential, holistic centre in America and by going there and following their protocols, slowly but surely my health returned.
7) How long does ME (chronic fatigue syndrome) last and when were you finally able to return to work?
It’s different for everyone. As I mentioned, my doctor had told me I would be sick for life and suggested I would need to give up my work and return to parent’s home to be cared for by them.
I would say that when i returned from the US holistic centre, I was about 75% better and this is when I started a phased return to work. It was about 5-6 months after I first became sick. Over the next couple of years I experienced a few relapses, however, by quickly reintroducing all the things that had previously made me better, I was able to bounce back relatively quickly. There are still certain things I can’t do. For example, I don’t have the stamina I used to have to go on long runs and I sometimes get post-exertional malaise whereby I’m wiped out for a few days if I’ve pushed myself a bit too hard. But in general, I’m back to my old self!
8) So tell us a little about why and how you retrained to become a Health and Life Coach to become who you are today.
Getting sick led me to re-assess how I wanted to live my life. Once back at work, I realised my passion for TV had gone and I decided to retrain so that I could help others optimise their health and heal in a similar way to how I had been helped. To start with I trained in nutrition alongside my full time job. I learned a lot but soon came to the belief that whilst a healthy diet was important, if other areas of people’s lives were out of balance, (relationships and work as two examples), then they were unlikely to achieve good health. So I returned to study completing my Integrative Nutrition Health Coach training and then an advanced Coaching Mastery certification. My approach to coaching is that I work with a client across all areas of their life to iron out any dissatisfaction and imbalances that are impacting their physical and mental health. This functional medicine approach is built on treating the root cause of a problem, rather than just the symptoms. For example, a client might come to me with sleep challenges but rather than just giving them ways to improve their sleep, I work with them on the things that are impacting their sleep in the first place.
9) How do you feel now that you’ve made that life change and what do you find most rewarding about what you do?
I feel great. I no longer have Sunday blues and I don’t go to work with that heavy, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Rather, I really look forward to seeing my clients and absolutely love our sessions together. It brings me so much joy seeing the transformations that they make.
I also work with corporates running employee workshops and wellness days. Having experienced firsthand many of the challenges these employees face, it brings me deep satisfaction to be able to share my knowledge, tips and techniques to support them. Recent sessions I’ve led have focused on holistic methods to manage stress and anxiety, ways to beat burnout and nutrition for peak performance.
10) Can you give us a couple of examples of people’s lives that you have changed for the better?
Sure. People come to me to seek help with all sorts of problems. Most recently, during lockdown, the number one issue has been anxiety and I’ve helped my clients manage this through a mix of things ranging from mindset work, adapting their nutrition, teaching them breathing techniques, and helping them get better sleep. Weight loss is also something that people commonly ask for help with. I find so many people are confused by the latest fad diet or the conflicting advice out there. Instead, I prefer to teach my clients how to eat a clean, healthy diet which will bring about sustained change. For example, a male client of mine in his 60’s managed to lose almost 3 stone last year and has since kept it all off.
11) On a completely different topic, I know that we completely share a love of travel…I’m curious to know what you think are some of the best summer holiday destinations?
My annual winter holiday tends to be all about adventure with recent trips including India, Sri Lanka and Bali. By contrast, my summer holidays are usually more about familiarity and relaxation.
I spend quite a lot of time in Ibiza and Formentera each summer. In general I avoid the school holidays and head there at some point between late May to early July and then again in September. Last year I was still lying on the beach on the final week of October! Usually by the time I get to Ibiza, I’m exhausted. So, I enjoy the fact that because I’ve been to the island many times, I feel no pressure to explore or research where to stay or eat. It takes away the element of stress or disappointment when a place isn’t quite what you had expected it to be. Rather I’m a creature of habit and return to the same hotels or villas, restaurants and secret beaches year after year. I also have a brilliant yoga teacher, personal trainer and other holistic therapists on the island who I turn to if I’m in need of a wellness boost.
Due to the amount of time I spend on the island and my connections there, I recently launched a wellness concierge service for anyone travelling to Ibiza. I can help source the very best wellness professionals ranging from fitness specialists, private chefs, massage therapists, reiki masters, intuitive coaches and even shamanic healers. The list is endless and despite its reputation as a party capital, Ibiza is hugely geared up for those seeking a healthy and rejuvenating holiday.
Tricia wearing our Black Strapless Cotton Dress
12) And last but not least, I’d love to know what appeals to you the most about the Cat Turner brand?
I think the fabrics are a really good quality and I like the cuts of the dresses. I also love the fact that the brand is sustainable, which has become more and more important to me over the past year.
I adore the shade of blue and can really imagine wearing it by the sea. I also like the shape as it provides two, versatile options. On a hot summer’s day, I would wear it loose and enjoy its relaxed fit. Whereas in the evening, I would belt it at the waist and pair with some matching wedge sandals.
I always like a strapless dress, I find them really flattering, plus they are good if you want to avoid tan lines across your shoulders. The print on this dress is very pretty and I like both the black and white options.
SPECIAL OFFER: Tricia is currently offering free Zoom consultations if you are interested in health and life coaching, with 20% off packages booked by Cat Turner customers. She also offers group workshops on anxiety relief, beating burnout, managing your hormones and nutrition 101.
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