The best part of starting UNIT NINE for us has been all the AMAZING people we have met and one in particular is Stef the blogger behind Wholesome Stef. The special part about Stef is there is so much more to her than her Instagram and blog, Stef is a Holistic Health Coach, Yoga Teacher and blogger and you will have seen her in lots of our pictures on Instagram we love what Stef is all about and the message she is spreading, take a read.
Tell us about your health coaching work?
I do one-on-one holistic health coaching with women of all ages and walks of life to help them heal their relationship with themselves. My coaching is for anyone who’s ever struggled to find balance with food and their weight. It’s for those who have been on fad diet after diet, with no success other than developing self-destructive thought patterns. It’s for anyone who looks in the mirror and feels fat and unworthy. It’s for anyone who has gotten caught in the vicious cycle of self-loathing and emotional eating.
While I do explore nutrition basics, my focus with the girls is not about WHAT they eat, but HOW they eat. I believe that no matter how developed we are in any areas of our life, no matter what we say, what we believe, no matter how spiritual or intellectual we are, how we eat tells all. When we uncontrollably devour ice cream when we are not hungry, we are acting out of some subconscious trigger. When we reach for a 3rd serving way past our physical comfort, we are essentially saying "These emotions are too much for me to handle, so I better numb myself into oblivion.” It’s my absolute passion to help people understand those dynamics and to help them create a healthier and more loving relationship with themselves! It’s an incredibly rewarding job and I’m so grateful for being able to do the work I do.
Why did you get into health coaching?
It’s funny that you ask…I actually used to be a fad dieting, self-destructive, calorie-counting treadmill junkie that obsessively stepped on the scale up to five times a day. I had a very distorted relationship to my body and my “inner mean girl” was constantly telling me that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, skinny enough, and the list goes on. After years of self-loathing and eventually hitting absolute rock bottom, I realized that something needed to change. And so I started working with a health coach who herself had gone through an ED, and with her help I was able to overcome my own struggles and rebuild a loving relationship with myself. As I started getting better and started to explore the power of nutrition, intuitive eating, mind – body connection and a holistic lifestyle in general, I realized that I also wanted to give back and help others with their food/body image/self love struggles. And so my journey to become a health coach began…It’s something that comes very natural to me, and I think that for the girls I work with it’s very comforting to know that I can relate to what they are experiencing, as I’ve gone through it myself.
What advice would you give any who wants to develop healthy eating habits?
Like I said, for me, nutrition is very much about how you eat and not just what you eat. The first thing I’d recommend is to explore the underlying reasons behind your current eating habits. Why do you do the things you do? It is impossible to shift to healthier eating patterns if you don’t understand what’s currently triggering your bad eating habits. So awareness is step one, and that’s always the first thing I work on with my clients. If you are looking to clean up your eating habits but aren’t working with a coach (yet), things like journaling, automated writing exercises, meditation and yoga can be some great ways for you to explore those topics on your own.
You recently did your YTT in India, tell us about that experience?
Doing my Yoga Teacher Training in India was everything I hoped for and more. It improved me in a myriad of ways, from my posture to my down dog to how I behave in stressful situations and deal with life’s challenges. All in all, it was a humbling experience and I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to immerse myself so deeply into the practice.
There’s nothing like being thrown into a powerful community of yogis to shake up your sense of self. Your lifelong conditioning and limiting beliefs that you unknowingly have carried around with you for years will suddenly come out – ‘I’m not good enough’ , ‘I can’t do this’ and ‘I don’t deserve this’ are especially popular. And the thing is this: there are no filters, no masks, no hiding under a facade. You get to know who people really are, stripped of all the superficial BS. And that is a beautiful experience.
I had already done a lot of spiritual work on myself before embarking on this journey, but putting myself into this environment and having the time and space to reflect really allowed me to go that next level and I learnt so much about myself in the process.
What yoga do you practice and where do you usually practice?
I trained in Vinyasa and Asthanga, but since I came back I’ve only been doing Vinyasa and Yin classes. As I’m doing quite intense workouts at the moment, my body is craving gentle and relaxing flows right now. I usually do my own quick flows at home or at the beach, or else you can find me at Power Living and Body Mind Life in Bondi.
What next for Wholesome Stef?
I want to keep growing the #wholesometribe and inspire people through the blog and my health coaching business to live their life to the fullest and to become their own best friend. I’ve been doing workshops here and there, and would love to expand into that field as well as teach more yoga. A dream of mine is to combine my background in hospitality with my passion for health and wellness, so hosting retreats is something that’s always in the back of my mind as well. Let’s see what the future holds!
What other form of training do you do?
I love a bit of everything; reformer pilates, boxing, running, surfing, barre, I do it all. I’m a big fan of variety and challenging my body in different ways, so I’m always on the look out for new places to get my sweat on. On my active rest days, I also enjoy going for coastal walks with friends, booking myself into a yin class or going surfing.
Where do you get your sweat on?
Sydney has so many incredible gyms and studios to offer, and I think that Classpass is an amazing way to discover new places around the city and help you mix up your workout routine. Lately, I’ve been craving a bit more of a routine though so I have been doing 6-week boot camp (6W2S) which includes three full body/weight sessions and two cardio sessions a week. Fair to say I’m getting my butt kicked a fair bit.
Where is your favourite spot to refuel?
Lox Stock & Barrel is a local Bondi favourite of mine for breakfast (avo smash or Bowlarama), Calipress or Orchard Street for juice on the go, and Gigi’s Pizzeria in Newtown or Bodhi in the city for vegan dinner. We are certainly spoilt for amazing health options in Sydney!