8.30.18 | Photo Credit: Health and Well Jess
Jessica Procter is passionate about healthy lifestyle. She’s into clean and healthy eating, fitness and maintaining a positive, empowered mindset. And lucky for the rest of us, she shares all of her tips around these things on her website and social media pages.
We had the opportunity to chat with the former Miss Alabama and we asked her everything…how her own background in sports led her to where she is now with living a healthy and active lifestyle, what her own favorite workouts and healthy meals are and where she believes we should start in creating a healthier mindset for those of us living in the South…
YOU COME FROM A BACKGROUND OF BEING ACTIVE WITH SPORTS. HOW DID YOUR OWN JOURNEY BRING YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW WITH LIVING A HELTHY AND BALANCED LIFESTYLE?
I grew up very active and stayed involved in multiple sports (gymnastics, volleyball, basketball, track), but I never put much thought into how nutrition and exercise benefitted me. It wasn’t until hight school that I really got interested in these areas. I pole-vaulted on the track team, and every weekend we had to “make weight” for our track meets. I had to learn quickly how to best nourish myself pre-competition while trying to stay in my weight class. Throughout this time, I developed a desire for getting my body as healthy as it could be. Somehow I was able to keep from developing a negative body image or eating disorder. My love for health and fitness only grew when I started competing in the Miss Alabama Organization. Yes, I wanted to look my best and feel as lean as possible in the swimsuit competition, but I also made a promise to myself, the Lord and the little girls who would one day look up to me that I would only strive for my fitness goals in honest, sustainable and truly healthy ways. I wanted my outer appearance to reflect the inner health I was cultivating and to inspire others to be that way, too. It wasn’t about doing this for one week to get the most points from a subjective panel of judges. Over the years, my curiosity and desire to grow have kept me learning from track coaches, personal trainers, the internet, the Bible and everything in between. I eventually started my Instagram wellness account @healthandwelljess to share workouts, recipes and simple healthy tips, but I’m so grateful it has now grown into having my own website and fitness guide.
YOU GREW UP IN ALABAMA…WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE AROUND GROWING UP AND FINDING YOUR WAY TOWARDS A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE, BEING RAISED IN THE SOUTH?
I grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and have never lived anywhere else except for my year last year as Miss Alabama. The South is often characterized as “less fit” than other places but I’ve always felt like broad generalizations like that are made to be broken, right?
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS GOING WELL AS FAR AS CHANGING THE DEEP SOUTHERN MINDSET AROUND UNHEALTHY FOODS AND LIFESTYLE HABITS? WHAT AREAS DO YOU THINK STILL NEED WORK?
Chef’s across the globe are starting to realize that there is a growing number of people who want to not only go out and enjoy great food, but they want food that actually makes them FEEL good, too. More and more restaurants are offering healthier menu options, using cleaner ingredients, and listing nutritional information on their menus. I think this is a great start, but the number one thing I think we should focus on next is teaching people the values and skills of cooking and preparing good food at home. Even the healthiest meal on the menu is probably not going to be as clean and good for you as something you can cook at home. Most people would love to eat healthier but feel inadequate in the kitchen. We also have to show people healthy food can still taste good and make you feel even better than unhealthier options.
YOU HAVE ONLINE WORKOUT GUIDES THAT PEOPLE CAN PURCHASE ON YOUR WEBSITE AND YOU ALSO POST LOADS OF FREE CONTENT AND WORKOUTS VIA YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES. WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST FOR WOMEN WHO ONLY HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF TIME EACH DAY AND ARE TRYING TO FIT IN MOVEMENT?
The online workout guide currently available for purchase on my website is specifically designed to be used in a gym as it is the “4 Weeks to Fit: Weights Edition.” However, most workouts can be easily modified to suit those with minimal to no equipment at home. I do have something in the works that will cater to those people with less time and equipment, so watch for that coming soon.
WHAT DO YOU SAY TO WOMEN WHO THINK IF THEY DON’T HAVE THE TIME FOR A 45 MINUTE OR LONGER WORKOUT, THEN THEY SHOULDN’T BOTHER DOING ANYTHING AT ALL?
I’ve always said that “anything is better than nothing,” so even if you feel like you don’t have time to get in a longer workout, a good, short workout is better than no workout at all. Just get your body moving. Pretty soon, you’ll start craving the feeling you get after a workout and you’ll want to make more time for it in your schedule. I promise!
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AROUND HOW WOMEN CAN BUILD MORE CONFIDENCE IN THEMSELVES FROM THE INSIDE OUT?
Learning to love yourself and your body as you are right now is the first step you can take in improving your health, because true health really starts in your mind and in your heart. Once those are in a good place and you’re grateful for the GIFT of being able to live and move, you’ll find that you want to make choices and develop habits that support that gratitude. Serve your body well so you can better serve others. Also, it makes a huge difference when you realize that how you feel about your body and how you look cannot and should not depend on anyone else’s body or appearance. The moment that thoughts of comparison start to creep into your head, you have to take that thought captive and replace it with truth. You are created uniquely and beautifully for a specific purpose that only YOU have.
WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNGER WOMEN WHO WANT TO LEARN HOW TO PREP MORE OF THIER OWN FOOD, IF THEY’VE NEVER REALLY BEEN IN THE KITCHEN BEFORE AND THEY DON’T FEEL CONFIDENT COOKING AT ALL, MUCH LESS COOKING HEALTHY FOOD?
Everyone has to start somewhere. Instagram is actually a great place to get inspiration and resources to start cooking healthier at home. You also have to let go of your fear of failure in the kitchen because you will definitely never get better if you never even try! Start with learning how to cook food, like properly cooking a protein or roasting veggies, instead of focusing on meals. I promise it’s easier than you think! Then you can start mixing and matching them and changing it up with different seasonings and spices.
WHAT’S YOUR OWN GO-TO, EASY AND HEALTHY WEEKNIGHT MEAL?
I could eat shredded chicken with hot sauce, a sweet potato, a few brussels sprouts and half an avocado every single night and I would never get tired of it!
WHAT’S YOUR OWN WORKOUT SCHEDULE LOOK LIKE?
Lifting weights is my favorite way to workout, so I do that about four to five times a week and throw in cardio whenever I have the time. I’m not really working out towards any specific goal right now which is really freeing and new for me. I’m just working out to feel good and steward my body well. I also love long walks with friends.
THREE FRIDGE OR PANTRY STAPLES THAT YOU ALWAYS HAVE ON HAND?
Eggs, avocado and carrots. I’m a carrot fanatic…especially dipped in hummus.
MOTTO YOU’RE LIVING BY RIGHT NOW?
Leave people better than you found them. Whether that’s through a conversation about Jesus or about nutrition, there’s no point in having a bunch of knowledge about something if you never share it with others. I feel like God has blessed me so I can bless others, and I’ll never stop trying to do that in every avenue of my life.