Chase your joy. There is something inside each of us that makes us unique and different. When we feel good, we share that love with others and it changes the world. If we can all learn to chase what brings us joy, not only will we be happy but we won’t have time to focus on what others are doing or saying. If you have a desire to start taking pictures, and it brings you joy, do it. Chase that joy.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ange Alex, an award-winning author and photographer. She is an expert in holistic health and weight loss, as well as living the limitless life. Her newest book, “Unravel — Finding Happiness by Coming Completely Undone” is out now.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
Sure, and thank you for having me. I had an unearthly relationship with food and fitness when I was younger, so it wasn’t until I was much older that I really started to get to know myself, through health and fitness. I was very sick in mid-30s and through a series of events I found myself in the middle of a cornfield, literally, during the bird flu epidemic with an epiphany that I was sick because the food I was eating was sick. This was instrumental in the way I saw food and health. I changed what I put into my body and guess what? My body changed! That is how I got started on this path.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Wow, an interesting story huh? I have a few of those. I would say that traveling North America in an RV with my family for the last few years is by far the best. It made it even more apparent to my clients that you can choose health wherever you go. If I can eat healthy and exercise while traveling, anyone can do it, especially from the comfort of their home. The summer of 2018, we drove from Florida all the way to Alaska. It was interesting.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
Humorous. Well I would say it’s funny now but not really at the time. I guess that is how most lessons go right? When I first started out and I had my health practice outside of Atlanta, I was so set on the fact that I found the key to health that I didn’t really consider that key is different for everyone. Just because it worked for me, doesn’t mean it will work the same way for you. I can laugh about my naivety now only because I know better 😉 there is not a one size fits all when it comes to health and wellness.
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
Sure, I would love to. I guess my expertise starts with my education. I am a Board-Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Ho’oponopono Practitioner, Certified Master Coach and 200 hr. Yoga professional. I completely believe that you cannot just treat the body, you must treat the mind, body and soul. Hence the holistic part of that. I spent 9 years with an eating disorder. From the time I was 15 through 24. I healed from that mentally, through believing my worth was not based on my weight. Then I became ill in my 30s and had gained over 90 pounds. I had several miscarriages and health issues I dealt with. Through learning about my body and mind connection, I began to heal myself. I am now 42 years old and in the best shape of my life. I lead by example and hope to inspire others to care about themselves enough to show that love, that beautiful self-love.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am grateful for everyone that has come across my path. Not one person was by accident. I think for me my biggest change came when I attended the “Paradigm Shift” conference with Bob Proctor and really began learning about my subconscious mind. That was crucial to me becoming who I am today. Healing starts in your mind first. If you can heal and set the stage for your health in your mind, your body will follow that.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
I will be brutally honest here. I am not going to sugar coat things, so I believe the main reason is Excuses. We all make them. We know we are uncomfortable; we feel it every day. Our body is crying out for us to make changes, but we have learned how to tune it out and we have learned how to live with that pain. So instead of listening to the urges to change, we instead make excuses as to why we are like that. Excuses will keep you exactly where you are, and excuses are nothing but lies we tell ourselves to help us feel better. It doesn’t work though. We never feel better giving ourselves excuses.
Distractions or Drifting is probably number 2. We are all so easily distracted by everything around us. There is a great book about “drifting” that I read in which it explained that is how most people never change but also never achieve anything either. Drifting is when we simply can’t focus on something so we drift to this thought or to that idea. We don’t focus on something like our health so we get distracted by everything. Social media is big for distractions. How many people just wasted 30 minutes reading mindless nonsense on Facebook, then say they don’t have time to work out. Distractions are a big part of blocking.
Knowledge. I think that is in the top 3. If you don’t have knowledge, how are you supposed to even began to know what to do. Get knowledge and understanding. Read about your body, what foods are better than others, how your body heals itself. Read about stories of others healing themselves. Get knowledge, then you will change your perspective and change your life. Once you’ve seen something from a different, or expanded and knowledgeable point of view, you will have a hard time going back to it. For me, I don’t eat any sugar. I know 100% what it did to me and therefore from my elevated perspective on sugar, it is not a temptation because I have the knowledge and understanding about it. How can you blame yourself if you just don’t know something. You can’t. So get knowledge and start to love yourself.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
- Gratitude. This might not even be on your mind, but it should. Gratitude changes everything. I think if we can focus on what we are grateful for, we will see more things to be grateful for. Even in our darkest times, we can find some gratitude. I can assure you. I lost my daughter Kiley Grace in 2011 on Thanksgiving Day, and although I was devastated, I was able to heal over time by being grateful for what I did have and the lessons she was able to teach me. Gratitude is a master healer.
- Unraveling — I wrote a book about this concept. The idea is that we are all balls of tangled knotted mess. We are born into other people’s thoughts and ideas of us and as we grow, we take on more and more of this. Not really stopping to discover who we truly are, just believing what is told us. In order to dramatically improve your well-being, you need to pull those strings and fall apart. You aren’t your fathers dreams and your mother’s fears. You are something so much more. You are a unique and wonderful being. You deserve to discover that.
- Listen to Your Body — It speaks all the time. Unfortunately, over the years we all have gotten really good at tuning it out. Listen to it. It will tell you when you are truly hungry. It will tell you when you are full. It will tell you what it needs. It takes time. but get aligned with yourself. Listen.
- Feel the feels. That is what I always tell people at conferences or workshops. Feeling your feelings is important. Pushing them aside or trying to make them go away never works. This is a “feeling” reality here. We have feelings for a reason. We need to feel what we are feeling, assess them as accurate or not, then move on. I spent a lot of time in my younger days feeling negative feelings. I am committed to spending the next half of my life only chasing the good feelings. I want to feel the best I can. Mentally, physically, emotionally. All of it. In order to really do that. I must feel whatever feelings I have. If it is negative, I must ask myself why? Why do I feel like that. Inside that question is an answer, and it usually involves a false belief about myself. If I can process that, than I can move on. When we choose to not feel the feelings, it doesn’t go away. It just gets more tangled up inside of us. So feel the feels, good and bad. That’s what we’re here for.
- Chase your joy. There is something inside each of us that makes us unique and different. When we feel good, we share that love with others and it changes the world. If we can all learn to chase what brings us joy, not only will we be happy but we won’t have time to focus on what others are doing or saying. If you have a desire to start taking pictures, and it brings you joy, do it. Chase that joy.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
Well, the major benefit is mental health. Your mood is better when you move your body. We were not made to be sedentary, yet most of us live that sort of lifestyle. Most of us sit for the majority of our days so our bodies aren’t getting the movement they need and our minds suffer. Just by taking a brief walk you can raise your mood tremendously. I think the next thing would be physical health. Your body does so much in a day that you don’t even know about. So, you should do what you can to keep it running at its optimum pace. It needs to be stimulated. Your muscles need movement. All of this helps with your overall performance. Why wouldn’t you want your immune system working the best is can? Especially now in the age of this pandemic. We need to build our bodies up.
I think that accomplishments are a big deal for us as people. We like to set goals and achieve them. It gives us more inspiration when we do so I think the 3rd thing would be accomplishing something we set out to do. It feels good. I set a goal of running in the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend this last February. I had never run a race in my life. But I worked hard and I did it. It was the best feeling in the world to accomplish that and wear that medal. I earned it and it inspired me to keep bettering myself.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are critical?
Walking. Most of us can do this regardless of age. Walking is a great starter and can drastically improve our mood. Weight Training. Even if you just start out with the 3-pound weights, you will start strengthening your body and it was respond to that. Do the exercises correctly so you don’t hurt yourself and listen to your body when it is tired. I once had a trainer push me so hard that I had damage done to my arms. I couldn’t move them for 2 weeks and the pain was excruciating. I should have spoken up and said I couldn’t do anymore but I pushed through and deeply regretted it. Yoga. Mindful movement is just as important as weight training. Doing some simple stretching and breathing will work wonders for your body.
In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?
Again, the theme is to listen to your body. If you are tired or sore, stop. If you feel like you need to skip a day, do it. Listen to your body. You are not in competition with anyone, this includes yourself. So be kind to your body. Proper nutrition can help in healing and recovery as well.
There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?
I do not recommend pledging to any diet as you are constantly changing and if you are so focused on one diet, you can miss what your body is trying to tell you. I do not eat any sugar and I tell everyone that is probably the most effective thing you can do. If you don’t want to change anything else, change that. Cut the sugar out. Read the labels and your body will thank you.
I eat only organic when possible. I do not eat sugar, bread, pasta, or most other high carb foods. I get high-quality fat in my diet and I only eat about two times a day depending on my body. If I feel extra hungry one day, I listen. If I don’t feel very hungry, I listen.
Is there a book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Well, a great book that impacted my life tremendously was “The Secret” It is about the Law of Attraction. It is also a documentary style movie as well. It allowed me to see the power of your sub-conscious mind, and therefore alter my thoughts and opinions of myself and my reality. It is a great introduction.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The movement is “Unravel” — Fall apart, don’t hold yourself together. Come undone! Then rebuild yourself in the image you truly want. The life you truly desire. Love yourself and find your worth. That is the best thing you can all do. Pull the string, unravel, then find your peace and happiness.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
I share this philosophy all the time. “I’ve slipped in that before” Sometimes there is an extra word in there for added emphasis. It means you fell in that mess before, so you don’t need to do it again.
This comes from an old friend of mine who told me this story: He was from the South so you have to imagine this told with a southern accent.
“When I was a little boy, I had a lot of energy, so I would go in my back yard and run all around the outside of my fenced backyard. I just ran and ran. Circles. One time I was coming around a corner and I slipped in a big pile of dog poop. Well, you know what happened the next time I came around that corner? I didn’t slip in that poop cause I done slipped in that poop before!”
I laugh every time I tell that story and it is so true. We’ve all slipped in that poop before, the key is not doing it again.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I am always interested in talking to new people. Regardless of titles, I value deep conversations with people from all over.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
I love interacting on social media, so find me online. I am most active on my Instagram page — @theangealex
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!