Don’t deprive yourself: It’s not necessary to be overly rigid on your meal and exercise regimen, as the greater goal is to incorporate a fit lifestyle rather than a short term program to shed pounds quickly. Learn how to enjoy good food, the overall positive feelings and confidence booster achieved after a workout, but also treat yourself to the occasional chocolate croissant or pizza night. This also prevents you from those binge moments.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Whitney Ross.
Whitney Ross is the integrative health and wellness coach of Whit + Well. As a holistic health coach and trained professional, she follows an integrative approach to both diet and lifestyle where happiness is the end result. Working as a motivational guide, Whitney reviews diet and fitness activity and offers healthier practices with lifelong benefits.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I became a health coach after my own personal struggle with thyroid issues, navigating my son’s food allergies, and the daily challenge of nourishing a family while juggling the time constraints of an active and busy schedule. As the mother of two teenagers, who are also competitive swimmers, I am committed to a healthy lifestyle with an emphasis on proper nutrition for optimal sports performance.
I earned a certificate in Health Coaching through The Institute of Integrative Nutrition. As a health coach, I focus on motivating clients to nourish all aspects of their life through nutrition and lifestyle changes. My belief is in a whole food, plant based approach, time conscious meal preparation, mind-body practices and daily movement.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
My assumption that I would be primarily working with busy moms was swiftly offset from the overwhelming interest young women had in their health, seeking tips and guidance in their busy and challenged lives. For instance, one athlete struggled with weight loss while fueling her body for sports. By incorporating more high quality foods, eliminating processed foods such as store-bought energy bars for plant-based options like avocado on whole wheat toast and oatmeal with almond butter, gave her the energy she needed.
Anyone can change their diet and take advantage of benefits that come from leading a healthy lifestyle.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I became too emotionally invested in my clients and felt remiss from the loss of contact once they achieved their goals, it was hard to let go! Luckily I still regularly connect with former clients.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I’ve always had coaches in my life. For instance, in my former career in media my supervisor always gave me constructive criticism and helped me with career decisions, including the guidance in my current role as an integrative health coach. I also have an integrative coach who motivates me.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
Practicing good health helps reduce stress, increase energy levels, self-esteem, promotes better sleep, maintains body weight and prevents illness. As a mother, advocating a healthy household has more benefits than just a refrigerator stocked with wholesome foods. As a family we are more active, manage challenges better, and it keeps us closer and connected. The ability to share this lifestyle to others promotes an ethos with a more purposeful direction. We can control making better choices with our food and fitness and, in today’s unpredictable times, it makes sense to incorporate a heavily plant-based diet and physical activity into the everyday. Overall, it’s a decision to live a better life.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- Begin the day with wellness: Start each morning with physical activity, even if it’s running in place or pushups. Have a healthy breakfast with such options as almond butter on whole wheat toast or a vegetable omelet with sliced avocado and salsa. Drink anti-oxidant rich green tea.
- Meditate: Find a time, ideally the same each day, where you shutdown outside influences to breathe and clear the mind for purposeful thoughts.
- Stock up on healthy foods: Market for fresh foods and support local food vendors at your neighborhood farmer’s market.
- Family meals: Prepare and eat dinner together as a household, where family can share their days over a healthy meal and are less inclined for a grab-and-go less nutritionally-dense foods.
- Don’t deprive yourself: It’s not necessary to be overly rigid on your meal and exercise regimen, as the greater goal is to incorporate a fit lifestyle rather than a short term program to shed pounds quickly. Learn how to enjoy good food, the overall positive feelings and confidence booster achieved after a workout, but also treat yourself to the occasional chocolate croissant or pizza night. This also prevents you from those binge moments.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
It’s all about an ‘80/20’ movement for me! I enjoy healthy eating 80% of the time and allow myself indulgences 20% of the time. It’s okay to grant such indulgences as dark chocolate, a glass of red wine or dessert with the family on Sunday nights.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- Building a career in wellness takes time, be patient.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Don’t take on too much.
- Create a network of supportive and like-minded professionals.
- Love what you do.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
While not fully vegan, veganism has many aspects that I abide by. Living a primarily plant-based diet saves animals, helps the environment, and it is a healthier lifestyle choice.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Health and Wellness Coach
IG is @whitandwell
Thank you for these fantastic insights!