Baris­tas of Ip­swich


Each sea­son QT Mag­a­zine will meet those peo­ple who are on the front­line of keep­ing this city mov­ing. With­out our baris­tas, Ip­swich would come to a stand­still, let’s be hon­est. This month we met Nick Mur­ray from Danc­ing Bean in the Ip­swich CBD. He takes his art very se­ri­ously.

HOW long have you been a barista?

Ten years.

What makes a good cof­fee?

Con­sis­tency, pa­tience and con­trol.

What’s your favourite cof­fee?

Flat white. It’s a sim­ple, age-old clas­sic that pro­files the cof­fee and is one of the best for get­ting the flavour out of the cof­fee.

What’s the odd­est re­quest you’ve ever had?

Half-strength de­caf latte, ex­tra froth, ex­tra hot, soy milk with a shot of hazel­nut cin­na­mon on top. Why is cof­fee so im­por­tant to a cafe?

It’s the ma­jor source of rev­enue, it shows pas­sion and in­tegrity, plus al­lows peo­ple to con­nect.

Does Ip­swich have a cof­fee ad­dic­tion?

I be­lieve so, you only have to see how many cafes there are in Ip­swich do­ing so well.

What do you love about your job?

I have a fan­tas­tic boss, work with good peo­ple and meet so many cus­tomers from all kinds of walks of life that let me build won­der­ful con­nec­tions.

Why should peo­ple be ex­tra nice to their barista?

If you don’t be nice to your barista we’ll give you de­caf.

ON the out­side, she has it all.

She’s super fit, a suc­cess­ful busi­ness owner, drives a fancy car, is a bikini model, hap­pily mar­ried and a pre­vi­ous win­ner of the Ip­swich Cham­ber of Com­merce’s Young Busi­ness Per­son of the Year.

But be­hind the per­son you see to­day is a woman who has a list of health is­sues that have plagued her since she was a kid. She’s even been through the gut-wrench­ing pain of los­ing the man she loved fol­low­ing a long bat­tle with de­pres­sion.

The def­i­ni­tion of a champion is not how you win, but how you get back up when life knocks you down.

De­spite th­ese knocks to her health, Lau­ren has made pos­i­tive de­ci­sions in her life, and is now on a mis­sion to help other peo­ple be the best they can be.

Meet Lau­ren An­to­nenko, an Ip­swich woman who de­cided to draw a line in the sand one day, and at 33, is now fo­cused on be­ing healthy, strong and happy.

Here in her own words Lau­ren shares the story of her life, with all the ups, and the many downs.

De­spite play­ing state level bas­ket­ball and rep­re­sent­ing my school at re­gional level in a va­ri­ety of ath­letic pur­suits, I strug­gled to fit in and was al­ways teased at school for hav­ing a big bum. Sub­se­quently, I’ve de­spised my body, bat­tled de­pres­sion and low self-es­teem most of my life.

Grow­ing up, I was al­ways known as the ‘smart’ kid and I found it chal­leng­ing to make new friends. I yearned for val­i­da­tion from my peers. I loved dance and drama and threw my­self into mu­si­cal theatre as a way of es­cap­ing the re­al­ity of my awk­ward youth. As a teenager, I was di­ag­nosed with ADD and pre­scribed anti-de­pres­sants to help me cope and up to 22 years of age I al­ways weighed around 52kg.

This just seemed like it was the weight my body was com­fort­able with and wasn’t fit but I wasn’t fat so I was un­mo­ti­vated to ex­er­cise and just sort of went side­ways through life.

Half way through study­ing my univer­sity degree, (in In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy…I changed de­grees many times) and not long after meet­ing the man who would be­come my first hus­band, I fell very ill and started un­in­ten­tion­ally los­ing weight rapidly. I was liv­ing a very un­sus­tain­able life­style - drink­ing, par­ty­ing, sleep­ing all day and mak­ing poor food choices. I was hos­pi­talised and di­ag­nosed with Ul­cer­a­tive Col­i­tis and I dropped to 42kg. I was put on an ag­gres­sive steroid med­i­ca­tion for over six months and my weight jumped, up to 62kg. Soon after, I was also di­ag­nosed with a tu­mour on my pi­tu­itary gland and mul­ti­ple ovar­ian cysts, so went on fur­ther med­i­ca­tion.

I de­ferred my stud­ies and tried to get on top of my health. I was un­able to get out of bed most morn­ings and my de­pres­sion in­creased. I spent a lot of time and money with doc­tors and spe­cial­ists, who di­ag­nosed me with ev­ery­thing from glan­du­lar fever, chronic fa­tigue, fi­bromyal­gia, Py­rolle Dis­or­der and adrenal fa­tigue.

I de­vel­oped an in­tol­er­ance to gluten and dairy and started to eat gluten-free foods, only to de­velop a sugar ad­dic­tion for two years be­cause I didn’t un­der­stand that when they took gluten out of food they typ­i­cally added sugar to com­pen­sate for taste.

Life was very chal­leng­ing and if it had not been for the sup­port of my hus­band Brian, I’m not cer­tain that I would have made it through this uncer­tain and stress­ful pe­riod of my life.

Thanks to reg­u­lar med­i­ca­tion, my Ul­cer­a­tive Col­i­tis went into re­mis­sion for about two years. I ed­u­cated my­self about nu­tri­tion, started mak­ing bet­ter choices with food, and got my self back on track with my well­ness. I weaned my­self of my med­i­ca­tions, started a busi­ness, got mar­ried, fin­ished my degree and went back to my usual weight of 52kg. My Col­i­tis flared up reg­u­larly but I was able to man­age it quite well by fol­low­ing a very plain but lim­ited diet, ab­stain­ing from gluten, dairy and added sug­ars. I started at­tend­ing Zumba at my lo­cal PCYC and it was enough to keep me rea­son­ably healthy. My body lacked any mus­cle def­i­ni­tion and I was ba­si­cally just thin and skinny. I still re­ally wasn’t con­fi­dent in my own flesh. I was still quite pear-shaped and flat-chested so I found it very frus­trat­ing to buy nice clothes.

On the 4th Jan­uary 2014, I woke up on the first day that my gym was open for the year and made a last minute de­ci­sion that morn­ing that I was go­ing to start weight train­ing. Over the next month I at­tended my gym three days per week, and as the months pro­gressed, I in­creased my fre­quency and di­ver­sity of ex­er­cises. I also started go­ing to Pi­lates. Later that year I had a rhino­plasty to help boost my self con­fi­dence (plus I needed a nose op­er­a­tion any­way to straighten my sep­tum!). I de­cided to teach Zumba and be­came the in­struc­tor at my club. I was get­ting stronger ev­ery day and soon I no­ticed my body chang­ing shape. Brian was such a fit­ness in­spi­ra­tion and he mo­ti­vated me to try harder. Over the next two years my lower body went from a size 14 to a size 8. I pro­gressed to train­ing four days per week with my hus­band and it was great.

In 2015 I be­came a Pi­lates in­struc­tor and com­menced my Cert III in Fit­ness. Un­for­tu­nately, my new found con­fi­dence in­ter­fered with my re­la­tion­ship and my hus­band and I tem­po­rar­ily sep­a­rated so we could fo­cus on im­prov­ing our­selves.

We be­came best friends and spoke ev­ery day, sup­port­ing each other on our in­di­vid­ual jour­neys to au­then­tic­ity.

In March 2016, my as­pir­ing Mus­cle Model hus­band, Brian, com­mit­ted sui­cide. It was the worst day of my life and changed my life changed for­ever.

De­spite be­ing so young, fit and healthy, with a body that was the envy of his peers, he had suf­fered from de­pres­sion. As a male, he found it chal­leng­ing to talk about his men­tal health is­sues with his friends and fam­ily. I was his go-to per­son – his cop­ing mech­a­nism but I, alone, wasn’t enough. For weeks, I felt empty and life­less.

My hus­band had al­ways told me I was beau­ti­ful and that I could do any­thing. He told me in times of stress he iso­lated him­self, and he didn’t like to talk about it. He felt ashamed about suf­fer­ing de­pres­sion. He worked in the dis­abil­ity sec­tor and met so many peo­ple worse off than him, and things have now come a long way. He was like an an­gel amongst hu­mans.

He told me a couple of weeks before he died that I should com­pete in some bikini com­pe­ti­tions be­cause my body had come so far. At the time, I didn’t be­lieve him or be­lieve in my­self, but after he died, I made it my mis­sion to not only live on his legacy, but paved my own path to hap­pi­ness us­ing ev­ery beau­ti­ful and amaz­ing gift of wis­dom and ad­vice he had given me. To chan­nel my grief, I em­barked on a jour­ney of self-love, but in a dif­fer­ent way.

Just over a year later, hav­ing just turned 32, I en­tered my very first bikini show, with ab­so­lutely no idea what I was do­ing but with an in­ten­tion to just have a go and own my space as a con­fi­dent woman with a mis­sion to in­spire. I weighed in at 54kg and was happy with how my body looked and felt.

In July 2017, I re­mar­ried in Las Ve­gas when my boyfriend pro­posed to me only one week prior while we were trav­el­ling in New Zealand and it was such an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

We eloped with­out telling our friends and fam­ily and sub­se­quently, peo­ple did not un­der­stand how I could move on so soon after my first hus­band’s death. To me, it was an emo­tional pri­or­ity to move on with my life be­cause no amount of tears or wish­ing could bring Brian back.

This time was quite a chal­lenge for me be­cause I lost ev­ery sin­gle child­hood friend who could not re­late to the way I en­gaged with my new life. This ex­pe­ri­ence forced me to end re­la­tion­ships with friends and fam­ily that were sim­ply hang­ing on by his­tory. I cre­ated new friend­ships by ris­ing to a greater en­ergy and con­nect­ing with peo­ple who un­der­stood me.

I am so grate­ful for ev­ery sin­gle mo­ment I have been given in my life so far and no mat­ter what hap­pens on stage or in other as­pects of my life, I will al­ways be a win­ner be­cause of the jour­ney that has taken me to where I am to­day. The legacy Brian has left has made me re­alise I can do any­thing be­cause I am strong, brave, beau­ti­ful, au­then­tic, whole­some and enough. The com­pe­ti­tions give me a goal, a way to chan­nel my com­pet­i­tive na­ture.

You are the only per­son who is in charge of your life.


COF­FEE TIME: Nick Mur­ray, from Danc­ing Bean in Ip­swich



LIFE LESSONS: Lau­ren An­to­nenko and Mick Sip­pell are a couple that have so much en­ergy it’s scary, thanks to a healthy life­style.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.