Allocate time for self-care — Prioritize yourself as the focal point of your life. Often, we overlook our own needs amidst work, social engagements, childcare, family commitments, and other obligations. Consider this: within the 24 hours of a day, how much of that time is dedicated to self-care? It's simple to claim "I'm too busy," yet end up spending an hour or two aimlessly browsing social platforms.
In today's context, the discourse around wellness holds greater prominence than ever before. Women, particularly, are actively spearheading discussions on mental and physical well-being, initiating transformative changes, and establishing fresh benchmarks. Despite encountering distinct hurdles, they are demolishing barriers, sparking inspiration within communities, and redefining the very essence of health and wellness. Our "Women in Wellness" series engages with female professionals encompassing doctors, nurses, nutritionists, therapists, fitness instructors, researchers, health experts, coaches, and other wellness practitioners, aiming to unveil their narratives and valuable perspectives. As part of this initiative, we had the privilege of conversing with Trichelle Nieuwenhuizen.
Trichelle Nieuwenhuizen — The Champion of Your Well-being!
She holds certifications as a Fitness Instructor, Life Coach, and ardently embraces a passion for health. Her journey into health and wellness stemmed from her personal struggles and past setbacks. Through her blog, she endeavors to uplift fellow women, empowering them to recognize their inherent value and worth.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Hi, I’m Trich! I am a wellness blogger based in a small town in South Africa. I am a qualified fitness instructor, aerial artist, life coach, Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner and just an overall health enthusiast. I am also a mom to two sweet toddler boys who can definitely make things challenging, but I wouldn’t change a thing!
I started my blog because I loved seeing how people can change when they find themselves and a healthy lifestyle. Even though I might not see the changes, I hope to inspire women to love themselves unconditionally and feel worthy.
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?
I was never into the whole wellness and fitness thing throughout high school and always struggled with my health and being slightly overweight. I hated sports and being active, it felt like a punishment. In my early 20’s I really struggled with self-confidence, gut problems, acne and my general health was really not great.
I started dieting, didn’t stick to it. Went to the gym, didn’t stick to it. Started cross-fit, didn’t stick to it. Then I found pole fitness and it ignited a spark inside me I just can’t explain. I found something I loved doing and the passion for wellness just grew and grew. Soon enough I started doing aerial silks, aerial lyra, kangoo jumps, bootcamp and bungee fitness.
I qualified as a fitness instructor and just loved sharing my passion with everyone around me. I felt empowered! I went from someone who hated any type of physical activity to managing a fitness studio, instructing hundreds of women and now running my own wellness blog. Can you believe it?
The most important thing I learned was this — Don’t expect to start big and fall in love with wellness. For some people it might happen, but not everyone. Find something you love and start small. Whether it be a dance class, going for a walk, doing yoga or even going for a hike. Find something you are excited to be doing and once you start feeling better and seeing changes, that spark will ignite just as mine did and before you know it you are engulfed in the world of health and wellness. Find your passion and let that lead you!
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The biggest mistake I have ever made was comparing myself to the women around me.
When I started with the pole fitness and finally got into the groove of health and wellness, I would constantly look at the people around me and get mad at myself about how slowly I was seeing results. If someone who started after I did was losing more weight or they were getting stronger faster than I was. I would get mad and push myself even harder, so much so that I ended up dislocating my knee and had to get an ACL repair.
Moral of the story. You are your own person. Your life, schedule, eating habits and routine are all different to the person standing next to you. You should only ever be your own competition. And remember, off scale changes are a win too. If you have more energy, sleeping better and keeping consistent. Those are massive wins and should never be overlooked! Being the healthiest you have ever been is a lifestyle and it takes time. Give yourself the credit you deserve!
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?
I started by wellness blog because I felt that I wasn’t reaching enough people. I was only able to educate the people I had face to face contact with, which wasn’t nearly enough. Covid happened and the whole world changed. All of a sudden the amount of people I was reaching was even less. When the fitness studio I managed closed down, I decided to start writing a blog. Writing about things I wished I knew earlier, fitness and nutrition tips and topics that I had questions about myself.
I hope that other women find my blog relatable and that I can change lives along the way. If I can just get one person to live a healthier life and see their true worth, then I’ve achieved my goal. If I can change even more lives, I’ll know I have a real purpose.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?
1 . Drink a lot of water — Most people don’t realize how important staying hydrated really is. And it doesn’t have to be something you hate. I love spicing up my water. I add fresh fruits or low calorie flavor enhancers to my water to keep things exciting. The health benefits are beyond comprehension. When I’m really just in the mood for something different I opt for sugar free drink options. Just drinking a sugar free drink instead of regular can already have major benefits in the long run.
2 . Don’t forget about dessert — Hear me out. Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to the sweet stuff. In fact, if you go cold turkey and cut out all sugar from your diet, the chances are that at one point you are going to cave, probably binge eat everything you missed out on and then start over the next day.
This is a horrible and cruel cycle to get stuck in. Allow yourself to enjoy life and everything it has to offer, just do it smarter. Have a lower calorie chocolate bar and only eat half instead of a whole bar and add some fruits and sugar free pudding to make it an entire dessert. There are so many great alternative recipes available that are extremely good for you and your taste buds!
3 . Low-Calorie, High-Volume Foods — Let me tell you something, this girl LOVES food! I am constantly eating or snacking and half of the time people ask me where I put it all. Now, I know some people hit the genetics jackpot and have an amazing metabolism, but that’s not me. I gain weight like nothing if I don’t focus on what I’m eating.
That’s why I load up on low-calorie, high-volume foods and snacks. I rely strongly on calorie counting to know exactly what I am putting in my mouth and how to plan my meals better. Now that I’ve been at it for quite some time, it’s easy to make healthier choices. I now eat meals that leave me absolutely stuffed without the sick feeling afterwards.
4 . Make time for yourself — You should be the most important thing in your life. We tend to forget about ourselves. Between our jobs, social lives, children, family and priorities, we forget. You have 24 hours in a day, how many of those hours do you actually spend looking after yourself? It’s easy to say “I don’t have time” and then spend an hour or two mindlessly scrolling through social media.
You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone or anything else. You should be living life, not just letting it go by. Whether you meditate, workout, spend time on skincare or just relax without interruptions, that’s enough to make yourself a priority.
5 . Practice gratitude — We tend to look over the small stuff and forget what we’ve accomplished. It’s easy to get discouraged if you forget where you started and what you’ve accomplished so far. One of the most powerful saying I’ve ever heard is “where the mind goes, energy flows” and this is so powerful because if you focus on the good things, that’s what you’ll attract in life and the same goes for the negative things.
Take the time and make a point of focusing on the things you are grateful for every single day. I remember when I was grateful for losing 3kg’s (6 pounds) and then for 7kg’s (15 pounds) and so on. Now, on days when I feel bad about myself, I just remember how far I’ve come and I’m grateful for the journey.
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 would focus the whole movement around Self-Love. Being healthy is a mindset and a matter of how much you care about yourself. If you can fall in love with yourself, everything else would follow. You would WANT to eat healthier, workout, look after yourself and make healthier decisions because that’s what’s best for you.
People don’t realize that health and wellness is more mental than anything else and once the switch is flipped of “I am worthy”, that’s when everything really starts happening. If I can get that message to women, we would have a world filled with empowered women who know that they are worthy of so much more than they have been given.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- It’s okey to fall of the band wagon, as long as you get back up again. It’s not easy to change bad habits and there are going to be days when you overeat, binge, don’t workout. Pick yourself up and start again tomorrow. Having one healthy day won’t change a thing, and having one unhealthy day won’t make you lose all your progress.
- There is nothing wrong with starting small. Start by taking a walk and drinking two glasses of water per day. Add in more fresh vegetables and protein and less processed foods. Take small steps in the right direction and eventually they’ll get bigger as you learn to love the process.
- Have a good support system. It’s really hard to stay motivated if you don’t have friends or family that support you on your journey and keep shutting you down. If you don’t have a good support system, look to social media for the right groups. Strangers can be a life saver and great cheerleaders when you need them.
- It takes time. Don’t expect to see major changes in one or two months. There is a lot going on in your body and life that need to be dealt with first before you can physically start seeing changes. Give yourself time, there is no quick fix to having a healthy life.
- Find your own groove. You are unique and what works for someone else, might not work for you. Find something that fits into your schedule and lifestyle and stick to it. My family prefers weighted workouts and I prefer walking workouts, if they had to force me to join them, I would be miserable. I still have my support system, but I do what makes ME happy and feel good.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Sustainability by far. When you start looking into changing your lifestyle to a healthier one, you need to realize that you need to break down bad habits and form new, good habits. If you want to change your diet and you choose a diet that you need to convince yourself it’s only 8 or 12 weeks, you’ve already failed.
Once the diet ends, you’ll just fall back into your old habits and would have to constantly diet. Sustainability is key to a healthy lifestyle. Find something you are excited to do. Find a diet that works for you. Find fitness options that get you excited every time you get there. You need to feel good about the decisions you are making. Once you’ve reached that point, your life will never be the same again.
What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?
Pinterest — https://za.pinterest.com/Trich_WellnessWarrior/
Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/trich_wellnesswarrior/
Thank you for these fantastic insights! We wish you continued success and good health.
About the interviewer: Wanda Malhotra is a wellness entrepreneur, lifestyle journalist, and the CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living. CMB empowers individuals with educational resources and vetted products to help them make informed choices. Passionate about social causes like environmental preservation and animal welfare, Wanda writes about clean beauty, wellness, nutrition, social impact and sustainability, simplifying wellness with curated resources. Join Wanda and the Crunchy Mama Box community in embracing a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle at CrunchyMamaBox.com.