Photo Credit: Amanda Wilson
We like Amanda Wilson’s style. She’s a wife, mama, foster mama and a temporarily “retired” RN based in the Fayetteville, Arkansas area, and she’s really into wellness.
But what we like best about her wellness style is that she keeps it simple. Really, really simple. You won’t find complicated recipes or crazy wellness “hacks” over on Amanda’s Instagram page. You’ll just find straightforward, sensible info and tips on how to live your healthiest life. Attainable, sustainable wellness, as she calls it.
And she’s taken that simple wellness philosophy to her digital subscription which she calls A. Wellness Note. These monthly issues are filled with information and tips on healthy living, but they’re also, in perfect Amanda style, simple, straightforward and not overwhelming. She works hard to keep each issue to only two pages, so it’s just enough wellness content to inspire and educate readers, but not so much that it overwhelms them.
We interviewed this beautiful mama to find out more about her story around healthy living, how she prioritizes her own wellness routine and her tips for teaching kids how to eat healthy…
ONE LOOK AT YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED AND IT’S OBVIOUS THAT YOU HAVE A PASSION FOR HEALTH AND FITNESS. TELL US A BIT ABOUT HOW YOU GOT TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW, SO PASSIONATE ABOUT LIVING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE AND SHARING THAT WITH OTHERS…
Growing up, my mom is who first established an importance towards healthy eating, but she always kept a balanced approach. All of us kids were always participating in a sport, which created a priority towards being active. Both of these things laid a great foundation toward health and fitness. When I became an RN, I realized many circumstances my patients found themselves in were the result of lifestyle choices. I started to really pay attention to how food and fitness can be medicine and fuel to our bodies. It quickly became apparent that making lifestyle changes toward this was overwhelming to most because it appeared to be complicated, inconvenient and unenjoyable.
When I became a mom, my perspective started to shift in my motivation for wellness, and that was to focus on being a steward of my body. I realized that stewardship created a healthy mindset for eating well and moving your body, because it wasn’t based on guilt or shame, but on caring for your body in a way that allows it to thrive. I also knew that healthy didn’t have to be complicated and can be enjoyable. I pursued it with a very simplified approach that allowed it to be sustainable and attainable. I found myself wanting to share this with others, because I was aware that it can be an overwhelming and complicated journey for many. I didn’t want to be the “annoying girl” who shared her food and workouts on her personal Instagram (ha!), so I created a separate account just for fun and for others to see a simplified, realistic approach that might inspire them. I didn’t picture it growing into the space that it is today, but I am so grateful for it and I really enjoy it.
AS A MOM, HOW DO YOU PRIORITIZE YOUR OWN HEALTHY ROUTINE, YOUR WORKOUTS, SELF CARE, ETC?
It always goes back to stewardship. The awesome thing about stewardship is that it can be a constant in different seasons of life, which change like the wind in motherhood. In order for me to maintain wellness as a priority, I have to be willing to adjust my approach according to my season of life. That might mean that I have to change the time I workout or the type of workouts. Stewardship doesn’t have a standard of a certain method; it’s how you can best care for and fuel your body within your capacity at that moment. Operating out of that framework doesn’t leave room for comparison, which will always make healthy a fight and never a lifestyle. Practically speaking, as a mom, the only way I’m able to eat clean, whole foods during the day is through food prep. I prep elements of a meal (proteins, veggies, etc) and mix and match them throughout the week for lunches and breakfast. Those meals always come together in an average of 5 minutes, because any mama knows we don’t have much more time than that!
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON EATING HEALTHY AND BALANCED AND WHY DIET PLAYS SUCH A BIG PART IN A PERSON REACHING HIS OR HER HEALTH GOALS?
Food is a massive player in your overall health and any health goals. Our culture looks at food as something that satisfies a hunger desire, but it does much more than that. It fuels us to function. When we start looking at food in that way, our choices will follow suit. What we consume doesn’t just full up our bellies and tell us we are “full”. Food does something inside of us, good or bad. I’m a big believer in working towards your default and preference to be clean, whole foods. However, I’m not a big believer in perfectionism. I think balance is so important! If there is no balance, then clean eating will just become another “diet” we are obsessed with, it will create bondage, and we’ll never gain a healthy relationship with food. When clean, whole foods become your default, then when you decide to eat a more indulgent meal or dessert, you can eat it, truly enjoy it, then move on and go back to your “normal” without a thought. That choice of indulging shouldn’t dictate your next food choice.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR TEACHING CHILDREN TO EAT HEALTHIER AND TO MAKE HEALTHIER CHOICES?
Of course, it’s so much easier to start from the beginning when they first start consuming solid food and into toddlerhood. However, that’s not always a place that moms find themselves in. Children are very observant and are like sponges with information, but they also require a lot of patience. Talking to them about food and what it does for and in our bodies is a great way to set a healthy perspective towards food. I don’t do it at every meal. but when it feels natural or when I think about it, I talk about how the food we are eating does our bodies a lot of good. Some examples might sound like this, “Chicken has a lot of protein, did you know that it makes our muscles strong and gives us a lot of energy?” “Carrot have a special job to make our eyes healthy, so that we can see airplanes in the sky or tiny bugs on the ground.” You get the idea! Sometimes kids will respond, and sometimes they just look at you, ha! But know that you are creating a foundation that is so important, so that when they’re adults, they aren’t fighting to learn a healthy relationship with food. On the flipside, when my kids have already had enough treats or sugar and want more, I might say something like, “Treats are so yummy and so fun to eat! But too much doesn’t make our bodies strong or feel good.” Our words are so powerful with children, so it’s important we are careful with the words we use when talking about eating healthy or working out. I make sure to use words like “strong, healthy, energy,” and never “lose weight, skinny, eating too much,” etc. Every family has what works for them, but in our home, we don’t ever force them to eat “all” of anything. I make sure there are 1-2 things on their plate I know they will eat or have eaten before, and then everything else we just require a “try bite” and that’s it. It allows their taste buds to be exposed and encourages them to try new things.
WHAT ABOUT TIPS FOR HOW TO MAKE BUDGET FRIENDLY CHOICES WHILE GROCERY SHOPPING FOR A FAMILY, TO HELP KEEP COSTS OF EATING HEALTHY AS LOW AS POSSIBLE?
I think that’s one of the biggest perceived hurdles to eating healthy. It can get expensive quickly with weird, hard to find ingredients. A few things I do to keep it within our budget is to 1) keep ingredients simple, 2) shop at Aldi when I can and 3) assess my fridge and pantry before making my grocery list. The latter is always my saving grace! Before I create a grocery list, I always see if I can make a meal out of what I have on hand or if I can meal plan around ingredients that I already have. I assess snacks, breakfast and lunch options with this method.
TELL US MORE ABOUT A. WELLNESS NOTE…
I mentioned before that I quickly realized that wellness is perceived, by most, as complicated and overwhelming. So many go through the cycle of trying out a new diet or workout plan only to find they can’t keep up with it realistically, so they deem healthy as unrealistic. I created A. Wellness Note to help simplify the approach to wellness so that it can become a lifestyle that is sustainable and attainable. It’s a bite-sized health resource that provides practical information and knowledge for the purpose of equipping the reader towards overall wellness. It’s a subscription in which one digital issue is delivered each month. Right now, there is a free preview issue available for download on my website along with the subscription options. Since then, I’ve tweaked some things to improve the layout and the way the information is delivered. However, I have kept it at a two-page issue, because I want it to be something that doesn’t become another thing on your “healthy to-do list”, but instead something that serves you and your time well.
WHAT KIND OF CONTENT AND INFORMATION WILL READERS FIND IN A. WELLNESS NOTE?
When creating A. Wellness Note, I was aware that healthy isn’t everyone’s hobby, but I do believe it’s everyone’s responsibility. However, in order to make healthy a lifestyle, a little knowledge is required in order to be successful. I take topics that are floating out there in the health world, that could be confusing, misleading or overwhelming, and I break them down into an explanation that allows the reader to feel informed and empowered to make their own personal health choices. It could be anything from supplements, a diet or how a certain food impacts our bodies. I also address different topics that deal with our heart and mindset behind wellness, because if that aspect isn’t healthy, then we aren’t doing ourselves much good at all. For that, I find inspiration from things that I’ve had to mentally and emotionally sort through and common unhealthy mindsets that I’ve seen in the pursuit of wellness. Along with the informative side of it, I provide practical steps, like food prep. a goal section and workouts to make wellness a reality in the day to day. Every once in a while, I ask Instagram followers for what they would like to learn about, what they are struggling with or what goals they have, so I can really make A. Wellness Note applicable and personable.
THEY SAY HOW YOU START THE DAY IS HOW YOU’LL MOVE THROUGH THE DAY. DO YOU HAVE A MORNING ROUTINE THAT SETS YOU UP FOR SUCCESS EACH DAY?
I love that thought and completely agree with it! I used to workout early in the mornings (and still do sometimes), because that’s what worked best for my family in that season of life. However, in the past year, I’ve tried to establish a rhythm that allows me to simplify my day and sets me up for success, allowing me brain space to make things like wellness a priority. I feel like when our brains are full and overwhelmed, we don’t even have the capacity to think about changing the basics of our day like eating and moving. Getting up before my kids, even 10 minutes before, is always a game changer. I try to do that or even earlier to read my bible or have some quiet time. I love presetting my coffee machine (thank you to whoever invented that!) the night before, so coffee is ready to go when I wake up and I can quickly make my collagen coffee (I talk about that a lot on my Instagram). The way our morning flows varies a little bit since my kids are still little, but three things I always do is: unload the dishwasher and load breakfast dishes, start a load of laundry and make my bed. It only takes 10-15 minutes and doing those three things in the morning always makes such a difference in my day.
WHAT ARE THE THREE FRIDGE STAPLES YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT?
Greek yogurt, almond milk and eggs. Oh, or any nut butter…if it needs to be refrigerated.
CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA?
Chocolate all the way. I have a little bit, in some form, almost every day. However, I do love a good vanilla protein powder to create a variety of delicious smoothies!