Who’s that girl? Each week, we interview local up-and-coming influencers, It girls and future #girlbosses. This is Lauren Meale from @nourishing.loz
What’s your story?
I was born and raised in Auckland and had your typical kiwi childhood. I was always super active and tried almost every sport, focusing on netball, touch and running by the time I reached high school. I have always been a high achiever and put a lot of pressure on myself to do well academically. Straight after school I began studying law at the University of Auckland. While I loved the course, the lifestyle just wasn’t for me. The following year I moved down to Wellington for uni and haven’t looked back. I am currently studying towards a BCom, majoring in Finance and Commercial Law and love it.
Tell us about your how your wellness journey began…
About four years ago, when I was in year 12 at school, I took a sudden interest in nutrition and healthy eating and to this day I couldn’t tell you what triggered it. While this started out with good intentions (less takeaways and junk food), it soon spiraled completely beyond my control. I was skeletal, training far too much and living off oats, tuna and vegetables. I was crippled by anxiety and depression and just wasn’t the Lauren everyone knew anymore. It wasn’t sustainable at all and I eventually ended up in hospital being treated for anorexia. Your final year of school is meant to be one of the greatest years of your life – not spent at medical appointments and being babysat by your parents and even friends.
It wasn’t easy, but with the endless support of my family, friends, doctors and therapists; I eventually turned my life around. While this obviously wasn’t the greatest start to my ‘wellness journey,’ I know it has shaped who I am today and in a lot of ways I wouldn’t change it.
These days I am a lot wiser and more balanced in my approach to ‘healthy.’ While I do train a lot, I also eat a lot, and focus on fueling my body with all the energy and nutrients I need to thrive.
I was watching the NZ series ‘I know this to be true’ (absolute must watch if you’re a kiwi❤️- hit up TVNZ ondemand) and two statements from Sir John Kirwan really stuck with me. He said “I don’t give advice, I share my experience” and “I don’t believe in failure, I believe in not trying.” It’s important to keep moving forward, but it’s also important to remember where you came from. Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom to realise that the only way is upAnorexia is a harsh word that is barely spoken yet as a nation we are facing an epidemic. It has shockingly low rates of full recovery and is the most fatal mental illness. Being ‘healthy’ is great, but mental health is just as important as physical health, let’s talk about it #stigmafree
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What has been your greatest success since sharing your honest experiences on social media?
When I first made my [Instagram] account, it was my own little diary of inspiration, it was private and I didn’t tell anyone about it. I had absolutely no idea how much it would grow, the people I would meet and the opportunities I would gain from it. What stands out to me the most is definitely the connections I have made and like minded people I have met. Some of my closest friends, running pals and just general advice givers were once DMs.
People are quick to condemn social media but we believe it can do good. How has your Instagram community supported you in your journey to being happy and healthy?
I think that social media has the power to be both a positive and negative force, depending on how you use it. At the end of the day, more people need to take a step back and realise that they have complete control over who they are influenced by. If following a bikini model that lives a lavish lifestyle makes you feel bad about yourself, you don’t have to subscribe to it. This realization actually changed my life as strange as it sounds.
I think in the early days, having social media kept me accountable. It also helped me realise the person that I wanted to be and the image I wanted to portray.
What is your advice to young women who want to grow their Instagram following?
Be real, be authentic and post good content. Nothing worth having comes easy and you can’t expect your account to grow overnight! Get inspired by your favourite accounts and then create something that is unique and 100% you.
How do you rise above the haters?
I think that unless the person knows you personally, don’t take what they have to say personally. There are a lot of jealous keyboard warriors out there. You just have to keep doing your thing and remember that it’s impossible to please everyone. The positive messages and comments I get outweigh the negative ones x1000 and that’s all that matters to me.
What is your favourite inspirational quote to live by?
“The dream is free but the hustle is sold separately.” I’m a firm believer in hard work paying off.
Being mentally healthy is just as important as being active. How do you practice mindfulness and keep your mental wellbeing in check?
One thing I have learnt from my past ordeals is that I have that A-type, perfectionist, highly driven personality type. This is not a bad thing, just something that is good to be aware of so I can ‘catch myself’ and keep my mental wellbeing in check. For example, I love my Fitbit, but if I ever begin to feel down on myself for not hitting my step goal, I know I need to put it in the back of my drawers for a week and take a break. The same goes for my diet, I love to eat healthily, but if I ever feel myself getting anxious at the thought of coffee and cake, then I know that’s exactly what I need.
Since moving out of home I have had to grow up and take responsibility for these things myself and I think it’s been the best thing and has really helped me grow.
What is your favourite healthy habit you practice daily?
I cannot emphasise how important and life changing it is to learn how to listen to your body. I know it is a phrase that is thrown around a lot, but for good reason! Having routine is great, but what is also great is taking a step back and evaluating what will serve you best in this very moment. It’s the little things like turning off your alarm because that extra hour sleep is more beneficial to you than a workout right now, ordering the steak because you’re fatigued and craving red meat or even making a big green smoothie because you’ve overindulged and in need of some goodness. It takes practice but [listening to my body] is without a doubt my number one healthy habit.
What’s your go-to breakfast recipe?
I think anyone that has stumbled across my Instagram will know I am a total smoothie bowl addict!
My go to at the moment is:
- Blend a few handfuls of spinach/kale with almond milk until smooth.
- Add one frozen banana, frozen berries, protein powder, chia seeds, plain yogurt and any superfood powders you have (cacao, maca, greens powder etc.)
- Top with any combination of muesli, granola, nuts, seeds, nut butters and dig in.
Note: The smoothie bowls you buy out will likely contain a lot of sugar and not too much fat/protein. This is totally fine when you’re not having them every day! When making them at home, I like to make sure my smoothie bowls contain greens, protein, fats and no more than 2 serves of fruit for stable blood sugar and energy levels.
List five of your favourite healthy Instagrammers…
1. Sarah’s Day (@sarahs_day)
2. Amanda Bisk (@amadabisk)
3. Lydia Odonnell (@lydiaodo)
4. Julia and Libby (@juliaandlibby)
5. Steph Smith and Laura Henshaw from (@keepitcleaner)
Where do you hope to be in five years’ time?
Everything going to plan, hopefully in five years time I will have enough experience in the corporate world to potentially start a business venture of my own. My ultimate dream would be to be my own boss and grow my own empire based on something I am truly passionate about.
What does being a millennial mean to you?
Apparently we’re the generation that spends all our money on avocados and coffee and will therefore never own homes?
To be honest, I am excited. We are the most diverse and educated generation to walk this planet and there is a whole raft of issues that will be up to us to address. I think we are more clued up and sensible than we are often given credit for and I have faith that we are capable of creating our own innovative, and highly functioning society. Watch this space.