Preview: Interview with Aimee Barnes Pestano
Welcome to Episode 1 of our all-new Sexy Sobriety adventure series!
This series was inspired by the question, what next? What happens when we’ve been sober for a while? How do we really take our wellness and growth to the next level, and create a life that truly lights us up?
Today’s interview felt like the perfect segue from our traditional interview series into this exciting new realm…
Back in my teens and 20s, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what self-awareness even was, let alone have a strong enough sense of self to know what my values were.
I remember going for a job interview at a marketing company when I was about 19. The manager was a confident, charismatic man who smiled as I sat down and boomed, “So, Rebecca, tell me – what are you passionate about?”
I was completely baffled, and thought this must be some strange ‘marketing speak’ I wasn’t privy to. I mumbled something about being passionate about “my life”, but honestly, I didn’t have a clue. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job.
This was also around the same time that I developed the underlying belief that if I was thinner, people would love me more. I became obsessed, keeping a food diary and challenging myself to reduce the number of entries each day. Dizzy spells and almost fainting became as normal to me as breathing. This false belief was a nightmare that haunted me for years.
Add to this, a propensity to drink myself silly, and you had one very lost, anxiety-ridden, ashamed, young woman.
It feels a world away from where I am now – alcohol-free, and finally at peace with wholesome food, my body, and my life.
I was so excited to fly to Singapore to talk to Aimee Barnes Pestano, not just because of her amazing work helping women to overcome alcohol misuse, but also the interesting crossover into eating disorders (and why it is that so many of us have experienced both).
Following her own transformational journey out of clinical depression and an alcohol use disorder in 2009, Aimee fell in love with running, and felt compelled to make a career shift, combining the fields of coaching, counselling, fitness and wellness.
When Aimee and her husband relocated from New York to Singapore, Aimee continued running, and then entered a national bodybuilding championship (and won!), propelling her onto the speaking circuit.
Join us as we dive into the correlation between eating and alcohol use disorders, the unique pressures and cultures of expat communities, and the beauty and liberation of self-discovery…
“ The disordered eating starts usually quite early, right? As a coping mechanism, or as a mechanism to push away that discomfort with oneself. And so, a lot of the women I work with, as a coach, I’m not just trying to get them to stop doing a certain behaviour, or stop using a substance. That’s actually a very small part of my job.
It’s: ‘Who are you? What do you want in life? What do you want to ask for? What’s your purpose? What are your values?’
THAT’S the work that I do and I love doing. And most often, they’ll say: “I don’t know. I don’t know where to start. I don’t know who I am; I don’t know what my values are.”
And that takes a long time to build and discover. Not running away from the self. “
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Aimee Barnes Pestano is a board-certified Health Behaviour Change Specialist, Health & Life Coach, Fitness Trainer, and Substance Abuse Therapist, working with women and teens to help transform behaviours that sabotage their physical and emotional health.
Aimee’s also a writer and public speaker with a focus on integrative mental health, evidence-based wellness, fitness, and addiction recovery. Her work has been featured by MindBodyGreen, Asian Entrepreneur, Elephant Journal, IDEA Fitness Journal, Singapore Business Review, Forbes.com, and Simply Her Magazine.