Nicola Chan was 14 when she was raped and later suffered from body dysmorphia and now she tells the Baltic Triangle Podcast about her Liverpool venture that promotes body confidence. Tony McDonough reports
Nicola Chan has had more than her fair share of life traumas – aged just 14 she was raped and later, as a successful fitness instructor, her obsession with body perfection damaged her health.
In this month’s Baltic Triangle Podcast Nicola reveals how she turned around her trauma to empower herself. Now she runs a business in Liverpool called Waishee Coaching focuses on body confidence, particularly for women.
Originally from London, Nicola recovered from that teenage rape ordeal to build a career as a fitness instructor. She was often given admiring comments from people she taught about her fitness and appearance.
And while she enjoyed the validation it had the negative effect of her wanting to chase what she perceived as body perfection to ever more extreme lengths.
She developed an eating disorder and body dysmorphia which leads to excessive negativity about your appearance. Nicola said: “When I achieved the look that I wanted, I was unhealthy.”
However, she turned her life around, adding: “I brainwashed myself from being body negative to body positive and now I help other people do the same.”
Two-and-a-half years ago Nicola moved to London to Liverpool to be with her partner, who was from the city. They were due to be married but six months later they split up. Nevertheless, she and her daughter decided to stay in Liverpool.
She explained: “It was quite apparent as soon as I moved here that I literally loved Liverpool. I felt like my feet were grounded and I was meant to be here.
“I have found my home here and everybody I have met has been really welcoming. So many amazing people.”
Now she runs Waishee Coaching which helps people, predominantly women, to become more body confident. She has taken her workshop into schools and is keen to work with businesses and organisations who feel their staff would benefit from her expertise.”
She believes that by being open about her past troubles and traumas she can help herself and others. She added: “With sexual trauma in particular there is a lot of shame and guilt that people carry.
“Speaking about it can help you to relate that shame. Ultimately it is not your shame. Someone else did that to you. By talking about it or whatever you do with it, that is a way of empowering yourself so you are not a victim anywhere.”
This month’s Baltic Triangle Podcast also meets Anthony Grice who runs the Liverpool Fika coffee shops.
He came up with the idea a few years ago having been impressed with similar establishments in Sweden. He has two cafes in the city – one in Woolton and one on the waterfront at the Liverpool Watersports Centre.
“Fika is the Swedish word for coffee break which is a huge part of their culture – the Swedes take them as seriously as the Spanish take their siestas.” Said Anthony.
In 2021 he was recognised as a “lockdown hero” with a Community Connectors award in recognition for his support for vulnerable people.
The Baltic Triangle Podcast is presented and produced by Mick Ord and Mark Reeson and you can listen to the full interviews by clicking here or wherever you normally find you podcasts.