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Women in Wellness with Author Nealy Fischer

You can’t pour from an empty cup, so make sure to schedule in downtime like you would any other important meeting. This could be going to the spa for a massage, grabbing a glass of wine with a good friend, or simply enjoying a warm bubble bath with a good book in hand. Often times […]

You can’t pour from an empty cup, so make sure to schedule in downtime like you would any other important meeting. This could be going to the spa for a massage, grabbing a glass of wine with a good friend, or simply enjoying a warm bubble bath with a good book in hand. Often times we feel guilty to press the pause button on work and family responsibilities to do something for ourselves. But remember: Self-care isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity!


Asa part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nealy Fischer. Nealy is the founder of The Flexible Chef and author of the book, Food You Want For The Life You Crave. As a mother of four, home chef, yoga teacher, world traveler, and wellness entrepreneur, Nealy’s mission is to inspire people around the world to live their most vibrant and crave-worthy lives. The Flexible Chef is a global food and lifestyle brand with a large social media presence, consisting of blog shares, inspirational photos, and step-by-step YouTube videos where Nealy teaches her healthy yet flexible approach to cooking and eating to her tens of thousands of fans.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Nealy! What is your “backstory”?

My love for food started when I was a little girl, before I was even tall enough to reach my mother’s countertops. But that inner foodie eventually led to a larger pant size, which is what ultimately sparked my passion for healthy living.

I started to pay close attention to my diet and fitness routine in my early teens … to the point where it became an obsession. For about a decade, I adhered to strict diets (like that time all I ate were carrots until my palms turned orange) and crazy workout regimens. I was trying to carve a body and lifestyle that were as close to flawless as possible.

My turning point toward a gentler path came during my years of practicing and teaching yoga. I started to understand that strength is the foundation of flexibility. Once we become skilled in the poses, we can play around and have some fun. The same principles apply to cooking and dieting.

Once I took the time to understand what foods made my body thrive, and how much dessert I could indulge in without falling into a sugar rut, I was finally able to take control over my diet (and stop letting it control me)!

Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?

You can’t pour from an empty cup, so make sure to schedule in downtime like you would any other important meeting. This could be going to the spa for a massage, grabbing a glass of wine with a good friend, or simply enjoying a warm bubble bath with a good book in hand. Often times we feel guilty to press the pause button on work and family responsibilities to do something for ourselves. But remember: Self-care isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity!

Walk everywhere — especially during phone meetings. Walking meetings can actually help with your productivity and spark new ideas. Getting outdoors when possible also helps break up the monotony of working at a desk, helps you gain mental clarity, keeps lethargy at bay, and wards the pounds away!

Carve out a few minutes each morning to meditate and focus on the positive things happening in your life. In Judaism, the first prayer on waking each day is “Modeh Ani,” which translates to “I give thanks.”What are you grateful for? As part of your morning contemplation, meditate over elements of your life that you appreciate. Stating what you’re grateful for out loud has a more powerful effect on your ability to internalize your words. Indeed, being grateful has been scientifically proven to increase our happiness.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

After years of working as a fitness instructor, teaching cooking classes around the world, and launching a website, I dreamed of taking things to the next level. So, I looked into working with a book agent. One after the next wouldn’t even give me the time of day because they didn’t think my Instagram following was big enough. Seriously? Two decades of work and my Instagram account is my measure of worth?

For some people, I think the rejection would have been enough to quit. I’m not saying it didn’t sting, but, instead of letting it get to me, I listened to their advice and used it as fuel. Fast forward two years later: I’ve published a best-selling cookbook, hosted several sold-out books signings, and been featured on national television shows!

My advice? Keep believing in yourself, get out of your comfort zone, and put in the hard work. It will all pay off in the end!

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?

In 2014, I launched a company called Mayya+Movement. Along with a blog — which was chock full of food, fitness, and lifestyle tips — I organized and hosted large events that were filled with guest speakers, hand-crafted healthy bites, fitness classes, and luxurious gift bags. The good news: These events were a huge hit. People were constantly buzzing about their experience and asking for more. The bad news? I dumped a ton of money (and energy) into them and never saw a return. My biggest mistake was putting a vision into motion without first creating a business plan. So, to any aspiring business owner out there: Write out what you have to offer and create a clear business plan making it successful.

When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

In a world of extremes — cleanses, detoxes, and restrictive diets — many of us are confused what we should and shouldn’t eat. Get this: I recently Googled “Healthy Foods” and got 475,000,000 results. Through The Flexible Chef, I help people realize that diet isn’t one-size-fits-all — what works for me might now work for you. So, all of my recipes and food tips are peppered with flexible alternatives that honor your unique preferences and needs.

Once we figure out what works best for us — and realize that eating well doesn’t have to mean you need to compromise on flavor — we become more confident in the kitchen and beyond.

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?

My right-hand woman, Melissa, has been vital in the success of everything I do for The Flexible Chef. She first joined The Flexible Chef team about three years ago to help me out with social media, and has since worked her way up in the company. I often call her my “better brain” because anything I think of, she makes it better. Melissa is testament to the fact that hiring people who are better than you (and complement you) is integral for success.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I’ve always dreamed of revolutionizing the way schools teach — incorporating movement into classes, switching to standing desks, and getting kids off their butts all day. Also, teaching them what a vegetable is! Along with the traditional curriculum, a stronger message in healthy diet and lifestyle would be a lesson that sticks with them for the rest of their lives.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  • Know where you’re going — Spend time strategizing and creating a clear business plan. Map out your big picture ideas and also set many attainable goals that you can reach and celebrate along the way.
  • Things will get expensive, keep your day job — It’s true, you’ve gotta take risks to succeed. But, at the end of the month, your mortgage company, utility companies, and credit card companies don’t care about your dreams. So, until your business plan starts taking share and you’re financially stable enough to take the leap, do yourself a favor and keep your day job.
  • Hire people smarter than you — You can’t possibly be the best at everything. And, even if you think you are, you won’t have enough time to do it all yourself. The investment in smart employees can help skyrocket your business.
  • Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish!
  • Aim higher than you think you can — you may surprise yourself how far you can actually go!

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

You can follow along with my journey and get my latest recipes, tips, and tricks here:

www.TheFlexibleChef.com

www.Instagram.com/TheFlexibleChef

www.Facebook.com/FlexibleChef

www.Pinterest.com/FlexibleChef

www.YouTube.com/TheFlexbleChefByNealy

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

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