Learning To Find Balance: Steph Mcdonald, @betterbeingsteph
I talk to a lot of women everyday because of my work. Inside the studio and out. From all different ages, cultures, race, origins, backgrounds, wealth, health, careers and interests. I also have a fantastic girl friendship group and strong female figures in my family. One thing that crops up again and again is our relationship with food and how to find balance. In fact, every woman I’ve ever spoken to about food or diet, has had or is going through, some sort of difficult relationship with food.
It’s incredibly hard to find balance with healthy eating, fitness, looking and feeling good. At university I dropped down to 46kg which is pretty light for my 5’9 height. I wasn’t trying to loose weight, I was just super stressed with my full on Politics Degree and then Law Degree. Trying to control everything else that I possibly could…fitness, food, relationships and so-on because I was really struggling academically and felt like my entire world would collapse if I didn't get that top job. Now I’ve never had a better balance between fitness, food, lifestyle and being a healthy weight. I am so much better at eating mindfully and everything I do I enjoy! I’ve come to find balance through Yoga, exercise and the big one…giving less of a shit what people think! Yet it wasn’t easy at the start and I want you to know that you are not alone.
The gorgeous Steph pictured above is sending shockwaves across the Wellness scene for her raw, honest and inspiring take on Fitness, Food & Wellbeing Blogging. Awarded the 2017 Rising Social Star for Wellbeing in Australia and the Australian Co-Ambassador for GIRL GAINS (@thegirlgains) a community created with the purpose of bringing together women at events designed to educate, empower and inspire.
Steph was kind enough to let me interview her recently and hope you enjoy this highly insightful interview as much as I do. It would be fantastic to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
You recently announced you found a Coach to help you with your diet and nutrition. What led you to this step and what have the results been?
I think it took months of exhaustion, fatigue, illnesses and anxiety to realise that something wasn't right with how I was living and treating my body. I'm so stubborn and such a creature of habit, so I'd easily fallen back into a routine that wasn't really nurturing my body or encouraging a healthy existence. I reached rock bottom with my mental and physical health again and just thought "enough is enough!", and reached out for some external help. I'm almost 10 weeks in to my program, and I honestly can't believe how far I've come! Having someone else there for accountability and to steer me in the right direction is just what I needed - because as much as I thought I was doing the right things for myself, I really wasn't! I'm a big believer in receiving professional help and external support when needed - there's absolutely no shame in getting a hand to help!
How has your exercise routine changed?
My exercise has changed dramatically - both in duration and intensity! Prior to signing up with my coach, I was training 6x a week, doing 2 hour long workouts combining a bit of strength and a lot of cardio/circuits/HIIT. I was caught in the trap of thinking that 'more is more', and was pushing myself through the most insane workouts just to get sweaty and reach a calorie burn on my heart rate monitor. I've always loved training, so realising that this wasn't a healthy approach was actually something I found really hard to come to terms with.
Now, I'm training 5 x a week focusing solely on strength and weights. My workouts are now 45-60minutes max, and I am doing no formal cardio (only walking!). It's definitely taken a bit of getting used to, and I have days where I really miss the fast-paced nature of my old workouts, but for now, this is what's more beneficial for my body so I'm determined to stick to it and regain my love for a truly healthy fitness routine.
Tell me your experience with Modbiotics - and who would you recommend this to?
I consumed Modbiotics during my protocol on the ATP Science GutRight product. It was a really interesting experience for me, and I definitely think they helped address some of my long-standing gut issues. I wouldn't say they're the 'solution' or 'answer' to everyone's digestive/gut health concerns, though they can definitely assist with rebalancing the population of bacteria in your gut! I'd recommend it to anyone who is suffering from ongoing gut health issues, has just come off a course of antibiotics, has been ill recently, or has undergone any experience which may have compromised their gut microflora.
What’s your views on the recent outcry over the Government spending big money on Instagram ‘influencers’ in its attempt to promote wellbeing?
I'm personally all for investing in and promoting greater knowledge and awareness about wellbeing! Nowadays, influencers have so much power in promoting certain behaviours, practices and attitudes, and I think it's just become necessary for any business and industry to tap into their platforms as an effective means to communicate ideas.
Obviously, I'm only an advocate for promoting the spread of the right kind of information - but I think there are easy ways to ensure this is done by investing in suitable influencers and creating the right deliverables for them to meet.
Your involvement with @girlgains is truly inspiring in helping women interact, grow friendships and grow. I also see you are soon working with Priceline congratulations! How did these come about and what’s next?
Girl Gains is a movement that started in the UK and quickly grew. The aim is to inspire women through a community that encourages growth and 'gains' in all areas of their life - e.g. their fitness, their relationships, their confidence and their happiness. I met the founder almost 2 years ago and we instantly agreed that Australia needed its own Girl Gains community! I was offered the role of the Australian ambassador and I readily took the opportunity! Over the last 2 years I've hosted monthly events and managed to bring together so many amazing girls for workouts, workshops and brunches. It's honestly been such an empowering way for me to share my passion for health and wellbeing with like-minded women, and I've made friendships that will last me a lifetime from it! I'm honestly so excited to watch our little community grow and spread down under!
You love high protein vegan snacks. What’s your favourite to make? Do you have a favourite recipe to share?
You know me well! I am OBSESSED with snacks! At the moment my favourite recipe is my Single Serve Banana Bread Pudding! Here's the recipe: