Having previously worked in the fashion industry, Hilary (also known as Holistic Hilary) has now transitioned to a career as a holistic health coach where she aims to help others transform their lives and make the best decisions for their health. She's been through her own health struggles growing up, finding difficulty in forming a positive relationship with food - but now she is thriving! We're so grateful that Hilary took the time to sit down to chat with us to share her story. Read on to learn more about Hilary's wellness journey and how she currently lives her best life.
How does your day get started?
I love mornings, they're my absolutely favourite! I like to wake up around 6AM and I always do my morning meditation and have breakfast, which is typically a smoothie with bananas, berries and kale. I also like to fit in some time to read something that keeps me inspired (I'm currently reading Creative Visualization). After that, I either go to the gym or do yoga.
What does wellness mean to you?
I view wellness means as a whole - it’s not just nutrition or exercise alone, although those two are big aspects of my life. Wellness is how you spend your day, every day. This includes who you’re connecting with and what kind of energy you’re bringing into the world. For me, it's important to maintain balance in all areas of your life, whether it means nurturing relationships or getting your finances in order.
How do you incorporate wellness throughout the rest of your day?
After my morning routine, I typically work from home. Since I work at a computer, it’s essential for me to get outside for a walk after lunch. I really value that time spent in nature, even if it's just 30 - 60 minutes everyday. After coming back home, I like to take a deep breaths and have green tea before going back to work. I set alarms on my phone to remind me to get up every hour from my seat so I can ensure I'm not sitting for too long.
At the end of the day, how do you complete your regimen?
I end my work day right at 6PM, that’s my cut-off time. I like to make dinner, usually something with lots of veggies and whole grains. Cooking has become a sort of meditation for me, as I find it really therapeutic! After dinner, I'll usually connect with my boyfriend and we'll go on a walk or just spend some quality time chatting about our day. Before I sleep, I'll use baking soda to wash my face. I also use my own home-made face oils as well!
Could you share with us a bit about how your wellness journey started?
I was born and raised in Iowa where processed snacks, doughnuts, pizza, burgers, and pork-chops were a staple of almost all my meals. I was watching my own loved ones struggle with weight, health problems, and what they were eating started at a very young age and I knew that something was wrong but did not know what. I developed a fear of food and I was brought up to believe that eating too much would make you gain weight. I didn't want to touch anything high in calories or fat. When I went to college, I wanted to fit in and stopped caring so much about food so I just ate everything. Naturally, that led to quite a jump in my weight and I still wasn't leading a healthy lifestyle. I also struggled with finding balance when I moved to New York to pursue a career in fashion, where I dealt with a lot of works stress.
It was through travelling where I had these moments of realization about nutrition and what healthy eating could mean. When I studied abroad in France, I stayed with a traditional French family and our meals were made with fresh and local produce. I rarely ate any processed foods during my time there. They treated dinners like a celebration every night where we would just connect and chat for literally 2 hours! During my travels to Egypt, it was Ramadan and I was completely amazed that a whole country could spend a month not eating during the day and then only breaking their fast when the sun went down. They do this to help themselves see how others would feel that do not have enough money to eat, homeless, or have less than they do. I thought if they can have this much control over their eating habits, I can too. I also met Australians that were practicing a vegan lifestyle and I was so intrigued by it. When I returned home, I did a lot of research into plant-based diets and decided it was perfect for me. After incorporating more vegetables and fruits into my diet, I found that my energy levels improved significantly, and I've continued on with this lifestyle to this day.
When did you know you had a message you wanted to share?
I found that my energy improved significantly after introducing more vegetables and fruits into my diet. I was so much happier, and I realized I needed to go further and help others with their own health journeys. 2 years ago, I opened my blog and I was so excited to share my healthy foods and recipes with others. However, because it was hard to connect with people just by blogging, I then decided I wanted to enrol in studies for integrated nutrition to become a health coach. I wanted to interact directly with people to truly make a difference in their personal lives.
How do you make time for balance and self care?
I used to burn myself out a lot with work in general. I'm the type of person that always has to succeed in everything I do, so it's easy to overwork myself. However, I try to take a step back if I start getting that anxious feeling that builds up when I feel like I have a lot on my plate and I have that itching need to do something now. I try to relax and remind myself that not everything needs to be done right now. In a day, I'll try to limit my work to 6 hours to ensure I have that balance of exercise and eating healthy food. Exercise and nutrition are my non-negotiables.
We all have stress, we're curious- what do you do to manage it, and how has your outlook on stress changed?
I think there’s always something that will go wrong. If something doesn’t go my way, that’s when I feel stressed. To manage my stress, I'll step back from my work and just remind myself to breathe and reassure myself that there will be a solution.
What is your go-to snack for a pick me up in the daytime?
I really love dates, especially medjool dates. They're delicious with some almond butter on them. Otherwise, I might have a raw cacao latte with almond milk and a little stevia.
What is the first thing you pick up at the grocery store?
I love picking up avocados, medjool dates and bananas! I eat a lot of whole foods in my diet.
How do you and your inner network support each other in living your best life?
My boyfriend and I are each other’s main support system, especially since we don't have any family here in New York. If he wants to run a triathlon in the next year, I support him and I'm there for him. And as I’m switching to my health coaching career full time, he supports me. We don’t try to change each other, we're very open with communication and we give each other unconditional support.
What are your favourite wellness trends?
I am all for plant-based trends because I’m a big advocate for animals, the environment and health. Even if someone isn’t vegan, just relying more on plant products is a really positive thing!
Do you have any advice for our audience on how to stay positive, and maintain a good outlook?
I think it's really just about trusting your instinct and knowing you can be healthy and that you are worthy of health. There are always ways to improve your health so just stay optimistic!
What advice do you have for someone who's ready to start sharing their message on wellness and health?
Take the time to listen to people and know that every single person is different. Not one thing would work for every single person. Provide encouragement to others to motivate them to make healthier choices in their own lives.
Big thank you to Hilary for sharing her story with us! You can find out more about her here @holistichilary