Welcome to the third installment of my Friday Foodie series, where I interview my favourite health and wellness stars. Each week, they share their tips for healthy living and one very special recipe.
This week, I am excited to be featuring Naomi Arnold from Project Healthy Happy Me. Naomi is a life + wellness coach with a background in psychology, counselling and health. Quite simply, she is amazing and such an inspiration.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, what you do and what inspired you to lead a healthier lifestyle?
Hello, I’m Naomi. I’m married to an incredible man named Dusty. We have two furry babies (a dog named Maxie and a cat named Mica) and one non-furry baby (our 17 month old gorgeous boy, Daniel).
I’m also a life + wellness coach with a background in psychology, counselling and health. I’m passionate about supporting women who juggle lots of balls and are so busy looking after others that sometimes looking after themselves doesn’t come as naturally. I love helping women learn more about themselves, their own unique bodies, and their psychological resources - and then using this knowledge to find, and live, their unique path to a healthy, happy, and purposeful life.
I have always attempted to live a healthy lifestyle, having been brought up in a family that valued health and fitness. A few years ago, I participated in a popular body transformation program which resulted in me becoming very unwell. It was absolutely not right for me - for my body or mindset (even though I’m sure it helped many others). I had to learn to listen to and respect my own unique body - and ultimately find my own path to health and wellness.
What tips would you give to someone who has just commenced living a healthier lifestyle?
Oh my goodness, I could write so much about this. My top tips for those who are focusing on living a healthier lifestyle would be to:
- Remember that we are all different. What works for one person, might not work for the next person. This is relevant to every aspect of health - what we eat, how we move, our mindsets, and our behaviours. Use your journey to a healthier lifestyle to learn more about yourself and your unique body.
- Make choices from a place of love, not fear. In the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, we often make choices that base from fear. For example, we might workout or avoid food types out of fear of putting on weight. I think it is so important that we instead consciously focus on making choices from a place of love and respect. Tune in to your body and ask yourself what you would do if you loved her more. Sometimes this might mean resting, simply going for a walk, enjoying more nourishing foods, or having the serving of chocolate or cake you’re craving.
- Be gentle and kind to yourself. On the journey to a healthier lifestyle, we often beat ourselves up when we feel we have slipped up or that we haven’t progressed as quickly as we would like. I think it is SO important to remember to treat ourselves with self-compassion. Those who are loving and kind to themselves are more likely to be able to continue to take steps towards their healthy lifestyle goals, despite perceived set backs.
- Challenge black and white thinking. We can sometimes get caught up in the ideals of a healthy lifestyle. In doing this, we can see the world of health, fitness and nutrition using “black or white” or “all or nothing” thinking. Try to be flexible and to allow yourself to “break the rules” occasionally.
- Identify and use your personal psychological resources. Our mindset plays a big role in our pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Your personal psychological resources are those inner strengths or resources that help you get through challenging times and help propel you toward your goals. When we know what these inner strengths and resources are, we can consciously draw upon them and use them to our advantage.
- Ask for help. Don’t do it on your own. Consciously identify ways that your loved ones can help you. Invest in the help of professionals too - a life coach, health coach, nutritionist, dietitian, personal trainer, or any other professional that can help you along your journey. You are worth it. Your health is worth it.
Do you have any tips for eating well on a budget?
My biggest tip for eating well on a budget is to be organised. I do a family budget and try to mindful of how much money I can afford to spend on food each week - and then I aim to consistently stick to this amount. I also use the Nourishment + Movement Planner from my free wellness toolkit to plan my meals for the week. With my completed budget and Planner in mind, I can then shop accordingly and know that I am covered for the week ahead.
How do you deal with food struggles from your children and/or family?
I have learnt to relax, to ‘let go’ a little, and to ‘go with the flow’ more. I try to look at food challenges as an opportunity to explore and play a little. I am also vegetarian, unlike the rest of my family. So I like to cook simple meals that can easily be adapted to vegetarian or non-vegetarian versions.
What is your favourite food?
I have two favourite foods. My first is eggplant - if there is an eggplant option on a menu, I’ll always pitch it! And my second is good quality dark chocolate.
Who is your favourite foodie and why?
Apart from you Ness, my fave foodie is Angela Liddon from Oh She Glows. I love her cookbook and the recipes on her blog. She is vegan - yet my carnivore husband always enjoys her meals also.
What is something that you enjoy doing when you have some ‘me’ time?
I enjoy reading, meditating, writing, yoga, beach time, bush walking, and relaxing with my family.
What is your favourite recipe to cook? Can you share the recipe with us?
I love to have bliss balls on hand for snacks. One of my fave recipes from one of my freebie booklets involves simply mixing the below ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender before rolling into balls and covering with desiccated coconut.
- 8 medjool dates, pitted
- 2 cups shredded coconut
- 1tbs coconut oil
- Juice of one small lemon
- 2 tbs raw cacao powder
- 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
- 1 tbs protein powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix the ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender before rolling into balls and covering with desiccated coconut.
A little more about Naomi and where you can find her
Naomi Arnold is a life + wellness coach, writer and speaker with a background in psychology, counselling and health. She supports women who juggle lots of balls and are so busy looking after others, that sometimes looking after themselves doesn’t come as naturally. Naomi helps them prioritise their needs, identify their psychological resources, and find their unique path to building a life + body they love. Find Naomi and her free wellness toolkit at: www.projecthealthyhappyme.com. You can also connect with her via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.