"I am now 100% convinced that how we fuel our bodies plays the most vital role in our mental health. Everyone is different and not everyone will feel the same way as I did when I adopted a Paleo lifestyle, but I truly believe everyone can benefit from at least reducing if not cutting out entirely, refined sugar. It really is a game changer."
Today we welcome Carolyn Lacey, as our At Health Australia 'Fit Foodie Inspo of the Month'.
After meeting Carolyn at a Health & Wellness Workshop, I was so inspired by her passion for health and well-being, I knew she had to be one of our Fit Foodies. As a Pilates and Fitness Instructor, Carolyn is not only incredibly passionate about pilates but she is also an avid CrossFitter - plus she's a dog lover, which gives her extra brownie points ( Paleo brownie points that is).
Her dedication to clean eating and following a Paleo diet is so fascinating and inspiring, and I LOVED hearing how changing her diet had impacted so positively on her life.
We hope you enjoy reading Carolyn's health and wellness journey, I found it incredibly inspirational - definitely locking in that gym session tomorrow morning!
How would you describe your diet?
I would say I'm 95% Paleo and I eat this way simply because it works for me!
I don’t think of this as a diet though, I think of it as eating the way our bodies are designed to be fuelled to help us to thrive and be our healthiest. I have been Gluten free for around 15 years due to intolerance. Around 18 months ago I decided to follow a strict Paleo lifestyle, eliminating all dairy, refined sugar, caffeine, legumes etc etc from my diet, as well as increasing my fats and proteins. I experienced pretty drastic affects to my health, not just physically but psychologically as well. My gut issues improved dramatically, my sinuses cleared up (I had suffered with post nasal drip for as long as I could remember that I had just come to accept it as normal), but the most significant affect which I was astounded with was how much clearer my mind felt, how much happier I felt.
I am now 100% convinced that how we fuel our bodies plays the most vital role in our mental health. Everyone is different and not everyone will feel the same way as I did when I adopted a Paleo lifestyle, but I truly believe everyone can benefit from at least reducing if not cutting out entirely, refined sugar. It really is a game changer.
What do you usually eat for breakfast?
I’m usually on the run, so it has to be something I’ve pre-prepared and can carry with me such as a protein smoothie or banana pancakes. If I go home for a break in the day and on weekends it’s often eggs and bacon/salmon with avocado, baby spinach, and pre made-sweet potato or zucchini & fennel fritters!
What are your favourite Protein Smoothie ingredients - have you got a fav recipe to share?
What's your favourite healthy treat?
Paleo banana coconut pancakes and homemade chocolate - These are always well stocked in the fridge/freezer! I can’t live without them.
The pancakes are great for breakfast but also serve as a fantastic snack when I’m on the run, especially delicious with Mayvers Almond Cacao Coconut Spread or berries and coconut yoghurt.
Making your own chocolate is great because you know exactly what’s gone into it, nothing artificial and it’s fun to experiment with adding extra ingredients, eg lately I’ve been mixing in buckinis, almonds or brazil nuts for crunch, shredded coconut and goji berries. Yum!
We know it's important to have health & fitness goals... What's your current fitness goal or challenge?
I currently have a 'Ring Muscleup' in my sights. It’s a super-challenging gymnastics skill which requires so much coordination, strength and stability of different parts of the body all coming together at once.
I have set myself a goal to achieve this by April 2016 as it takes a lot of work on progressions to build up to the skill.
How many times a week do you work out, and how long do you typically train for?
I train/workout 5 days a week, sometimes 6. Heavy sessions which involve Olympic style lifting components, gymnastics skills and metabolic conditioning are usually 60-75 mins, occasionally a bit longer 4-5 days p/week and I spend extra time doing Pilates, mobility work and stretches when I can, so that can vary a lot depending on how busy my week is. That's not including all of the classes I teach, or anything else I do to get out and moving - I guess you could say I’m pretty active and not great at sitting still!! ;)
What are your 3 favourite ways to work out?
What is a tough challenge you have set yourself, and achieved?
I rowed 10km in 46 minutes a few months ago (indoor rower).
The power of the mind is incredible. It was a mental challenge more than anything to hold on even when I could feel the blisters forming on my hands!
Have you always been this fit and active? What has your fitness journey been like?
I am definitely the fittest now over all that I have ever been although I have been very active since I was young. I started classical ballet at age 5 which I continued throughout my childhood and teenage years before training full time for 2 years in ballet, jazz, tap and performing arts. I danced for a few years professionally after that. I also went to Gymnastics lessons for a few years as a child and again as a teenager and learned to waterski at a very young age also. I never played any team sports or excelled in any athletic field though, and I’ve always been terrible at ball sports!!
What is your biggest personal challenge when it comes to staying fit or healthy eating, and how do you combat it?
Staying hydrated! Sounds crazy but drinking enough water is my big battle! I often struggle to drink the required amount of H2O which I know my body needs, particularly when I am getting extremely sweaty, which is most days!
Instead of trying to guzzle down plain old H2o all day, I mix it up, by drinking caffeine free herbal teas (peppermint and licorice teas are my fave) and coconut water to replace lost electrolytes.
Best advice you've ever been given?
Often we get so caught up focusing on a long term goal and can start to feel demotivated when we have setbacks and obstacles to overcome, or when it takes longer than we thought it would to reach a goal.
What is your favourite inspirational quote?
Following on from the last question my current favourite quote would have to be
“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in doing it”.
It reminds me to live in the present and enjoy the now.
On that positive note, thank you so much for being our At Health Australia Fit Foodie of the Month - We love meeting inspirational and motivated individuals who follow their passion!! Your drive and commitment to clean eating, and healthy living is so inspiring.
Carolyn Lacey is a Pilates / Fitness Instructor who has recently moved to Frankfurt - but we hope she will be back home to Australia soon! Check out her instagram @pilatefit to share her health & wellness journey.
Alexis & Trent - Co Founders, At Health Australia
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