What Wellness Means to Brittany Darling

To me wellness isn’t about how skinny, fit or radiant I am. It’s about how I feel, my happiness and my self-confidence.

Ok let’s real talk; there have been periods of my life, when I was modeling for instance, that I would have been considered “healthy”. I was never one of those stick figure models (though I felt intense pressure to be), I was a size 8-10 and one of the more “commercial” girls but I still had a toxic relationship with food. I remember a model friend and I would “treat” ourselves on a Friday afternoon to cucumber slices with tuna on top. A healthy snack undoubtedly, but this was after a week of eating nothing but plain rice cakes and attempting to keep daily calorie intake to 500-800 per day (sick, crazy, not healthy!). You can imagine, I had problems with my hair falling out, my nails were brittle and worst of all I was always tired.

I started to study nutrition in 2007 at ACNT. Around that time I started exercising more and became a little obsessed with the paleo diet. Another version of restricted food patterns for me. Don’t get me wrong I do like some of the Paleolithic principles and wisdoms, but with a healthy mindset and a grain of salt! At the time, I thought I had reached optimal wellness and I couldn't be healthier.

Quite a few years on, I gave birth to my son Leonard. I had a paleo pregnancy!! He was a healthy boy, but boy was he a terrible sleeper! I was able to maintain a fairly good diet for a while but then I fell pregnant with my second when Leonard was 13 months old. Fatigue set in. I lived on a diet of pastries, cupcakes and finger sandwiches for the next 18 months. Sure I always had healthy dinners but my daytime food intake was not conducive to nourishing mum and bub.

I’d say most people have experienced similar restrictive eating, fear of eating, stress and confusion around eating or destructive eating patterns at some point in their lives, even if just for a short period.

So back to wellness, I think it’s always an evolving process. You go through periods of doing what feels right, then something changes and it doesn't quite work for you anymore. For example, you are doing yoga 3 times a week then all of a sudden you have stopped. You look back and wonder why you stopped but now you love morning walks in the sunshine because it's summer or you've taken up surfing. Do what makes you feel good right now. The bottom line is, eat nourishing food that makes you feel good in your mind and body. Incorporate daily movement that suits you and nurture your soul, spirituality. Welcome to a life in balance!

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