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“I was downing eight black coffees a day just to get through, that is not OK’’
Tegan Martin might be all blonde hair, tanned skin and blue eyes but the former Miss Universe Australia says she hasn’t always been a picture of health. The model – who recently had her share of headline attention – says her chronic health breakdown two years ago culminated from a diet of coffee, energy drinks, extreme exercise and as little as four hours sleep a night. Yet, it was an experience that ultimately set her on a path of self discovery and one she says she’d never take back.
“There was this moment when I realised I needed to completely overhaul my health. I was downing eight black coffees a day just to get through, that is not OK,’’ recalls Tegan. That reality check was in 2015 following her appearance on Celebrity Apprentice, where 14-hour days were the norm and frenzied late night calls with teammate Sophie Monk became a ritual.
“When I look back on that time, I’d been running on adrenaline and coffee right from when I did Miss Universe in 2014 to when I did Celebrity Apprentice. It wasn’t until after the show where I said to myself, ‘OK, I’ve got to do something’. I literally started seeing every doctor and naturopath in Sydney,’’ Tegan says.
“I had multiple blood tests and nothing was coming up, but I was so fatigued I was sleeping 17-hours a day. They said ‘you must have chronic fatigue and we can’t really help you’. So I turned to the alternative world because it’s not OK to be sleeping that long and to still feel exhausted all the time.”
We sat down with Tegan over a cup of herbal tea because – no coffee – to chat about how she got her life back on track, her favourite naturopath, falling for her flatmate and how she weathered that media storm.
I received my completed certificate from my IIN (Institute for Integrative Nutrition) course on September 11, which makes me a qualified health coach. I completely understand everyone has a different opinion, (on the merits of a health coach) however, in my case, I’ve seen many, many doctors for my fatigue issues and just as many from the alternative space and it’s those I have seen in the alternative space who have, in my case, been able to help me regain my health. I respect doctors – they are an integral part of our system and we need them – but when it comes to preventative health and taking preventative measures, I think the alternative space is very important and more people need to look at it.
I think if you are in the public eye, you need to be able to take the good with the bad. I’ve mainly been the golden girl, yes I’ve had a few slams, but it’s been important to me to be able to stay strong and not waver from what I believe in during those times when other people are trying to bring me down.
I don’t do crazy cardio or do high intensity workouts. I just have to really listen to my body. Sometimes I sleep 10 hours, sometimes I sleep 12, sometimes I sleep nine. I have more confidence to say ‘no’ if my friends are out partying – I do have the occasional glass of wine or vodka, I don’t miss out on fun altogether, I just don’t do anything to the extreme anymore.
I’ve always got someone looking at gut health, most recently I saw Rebecca Warren who is a naturopath and nutritionist. I have my kinesiologist Zoe Boscoe who I love – we’re actually doing something a little bit different at the moment called spiral, which is working at clearing your emotional baggage. It can be tricky because all the treatments and appointments add up. I kind of now just go, OK, what do I need now?
Haha, yes. I’d been in a relationship and I’d only been single for a short amount of time and I was at the point where I was like, OK I hope the next person that comes into my life is the one. I just didn’t have any energy left to date. I was pretty sure I was going to be single for quite some time. And sure enough, within a couple of weeks of him moving in as a flatmate we were up talking until all hours of the night. I was just like, I have to make him mine. He’s got to be my boyfriend!
Blake (Worrall-Thompson) and I watch Impact Theory a lot. It’s a series on YouTube where Tom Bilyeu interviews a range of inspiring entrepreneurs. They’re not necessarily the most famous, but extremely intelligent and inspiring – the last one was about productivity and how you need to look after yourself first, I loved that.
I remember seeing this quote on the back of my chiropractor’s door, ‘’let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.” It sparked a little fire in my belly and I guess that’s what led to my health coach journey and to study at IIN. It’s about individuality and how one person’s food is another person’s poison. Just because broccoli is green doesn’t mean it’s good for everyone. We all thrive off different foods and it’s our personal responsibility to figure out what foods we thrive off and not be influenced by other people around us.
Oh my gosh, I just wear fitness gear every day. I love all the Star Runner gear. I love Running Bare. I love Lorna Jane. I love some of the smaller brands like my friend’s got a cute little brand called Volt, and they’re one of my favorite pairs of tights.
Definitely someone like Elle Macpherson, who has been able to make her transitions so smooth, she just always gets it right. She’s the perfect balance of being relatable and normal, but also spiritual and aware of what she’s putting in her body. She just seems to have the balance right.
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