IN HER SNEAKERS with CHARLOTTE BARBER (a.k.a @charlieshealthyfactory)
New week ... New Wellness babe!! This week you can read about the gorgeous Charlie (great name, hehe), also known as @charlieshealthyfactory. This babe is only 16 years old, and definitely has her life a lot more together than I did at her age! Charlie balances her school life and work while also maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle! Her insta showcases lots of yummy treats, fitspo and Charlie also has a blog which is super cool!
Enjoy the read lovelies ...
1. A little bit about you gorgeous …who are you, what do you do and what are you passionate about?
I am 16 years old and am in Year 12 at Queen Margaret College in Wellington. I do the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBD), a two year course where I study English, mathematics, biology, chemistry, French and psychology (the best subject ever in my opinion!). I work hard to prioritize my academic work as well as maintaining a balanced life outside of school – including coaching a number of teams and running a blog. With exercise I enjoy a more relaxed approach- I figure I put myself under enough stress as it is and exercise is more of an outlet for me to unwind and relax. Hence, I really enjoy doing breathing based practices like yoga and walks in the fresh air. The kitchen is my happy place - and I love experimenting with different foods and eating well. I am passionate about encouraging and empowering other young women to focus on their wellbeing in whatever form that takes for them in a completely non preachy or lectured way.
2. What does health mean to you?
To me, good health is about waking up everyday ready to thrive rather than merely survive. It is balance in three fold: maintaining physical health through good nutrition and movement, flexing your self-love muscle & knowing how to look after yourself as well as setting time aside for the people you love. It is so important to find what makes you happy in fulfilling these different aspects of health too rather than conforming to a strict regime because an ‘expert’ said to.
I stay healthy ultimately by trying to tune in to my body and identifying what it needs to thrive in any given moment. This includes working out when I’m focusing too much on a particular aspect of health and neglecting another, and then aiming to restore this equilibrium. Life is just one big balancing act after all!
3. What does a typical day in your sneakers look like?
As soon as I wake up, I meditate using the Headspace app for 15 minutes. This is one of my ‘non negotiable’ habits- it doesn’t matter where I am, I would never miss a day. I then either start my day with yoga (a studio class at Power Living or online with a Yogaholics video) or I just jump in to getting ready with the UE Boom blasting some music. I always take my supplements with an apple cider vinegar tonic in the morning- which I find helps in gently waking the digestive system up and preparing it for food. I then sit down to a nourishing breakfast, at the moment my favourite seems to be carrot and banana bircher muesli.
I usually have something on every morning and after school during the week days, so Monday-Friday involves many early starts and late finishes. I get to school at around 7.30am and leave at 5.00pm. On a good day I’ll head to Power Living at 5.30pm and catch one of the packed evening yoga classes. I’ll always sit down to dinner with my family followed by homework, before heading to bed at around 10.30pm with a cup of tea and a good book.
4. What does a normal day of eating look like for you?
My breakfast is usually my favourite instant Bircher muesli that I make – I mash half a banana, add a few tablespoons of chopped carrot and rolled oats, pour in some almond milk and voila, breakfast is ready! I usually top with a dollop of yoghurt, LSA and peanut butter. I find the oats to be a great slow release of energy throughout the morning and I always leave for school feeling satiated. On the weekends I tend more to have a cooked breakfast- eggs, salmon, avocado- the works!
For a morning snack, I usually have a piece of fruit – a mandarin, green apple, berries, depending on what is in season. I often make a batch of bliss balls on a Sunday and snack on them throughout the week too.
My go to lunch in winter is chicken vegetable soup- both warming and nourishing. I love making Buddha Bowls if I’m at home – using leafy cos lettuce and spinach as the base, along with zucchini, broccoli salad and capsicum as complementary vegetables. Salmon is the protein, brown rice the healthy starch and for a good dose of fat, some smashed avocado. I top it off with the JS Health Clean Life Dressing- a combo of lemon, tamari and apple cider vinegar.
In the afternoon I always try and have a 4pm snack to avoid any blood sugar crashes and keep my energy levels stable. I love the Venerdi paleo crackers with some peanut butter or pesto.
Dinner is usually some mix of protein and vegetables. I’m fortunate to have a very supportive mother who loves cooking nutritious meals, so I always come home to something very delicious!
My favourite treat to have after dinner sometimes is Little Bird granola with Greek yoghurt, or a few squares of dark chocolate along with a cup of tea.
5. How do you maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle and your tips and tricks for others?
In my opinion, being in tune with your body is the best way to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle in the long run. It can be difficult to not get swept up in fads when diet culture permeates modern life. However, when I took the time to block out the ‘noise’ and discovered what nutrition/exercise/lifestyle choices worked best for me, I started to feel so much better and the change was more sustainable.
For example, knowing that I feel better when I limit my consumption of refined sugar is different to following a ‘sugar-free’ diet. I practice yoga over going to the gym because I know that it helps me to feel less stress and I like the silence, but I have friends who love running or the gym because that works for them. When you’re in tune with what makes you tick, balance is achieved far more easily. You know when you need to work harder, rest, eat well, loosen up a little. That’s my tip!
6. How do you deal with stress and pressure in this fast paced world we all live in?
Maintaining a regular yoga and meditation practice is a fantastic antidote to stress in my life. Although day-to-day life is very fast paced, I can always count on the morning to be reliable and quiet – that’s why I love meditating first thing in the morning. I do put a lot of pressure on myself to do well in school and other roles, but through prioritising my commitments and having good time management skills, staying on top of work is easier and I tend to be less stressed.
Another important aspect of dealing with stress and pressure is definitely practicing self-love and care. For me this involves taking the time to be by myself in silence, whether that is through reading, blogging, cooking or yoga. I love equally being with friends, but a balance of both is best. I guess you could call be an introverted extrovert! After an hour or so I’m recharged and ready to go again.
7. What has been the hardest part of your wellness journey?
Definitely the balance I talked about earlier. I’ve had times over these past few years where I’ve become very obsessed with health and other times where I’ve let myself and my healthy habits go. I feel like I’m in the middle at the moment – I make decisions with my health in mind most of the time, but allow that lee way for ‘life’- for example, a good nights sleep always trumps early exercise and an ice cream won’t kill me once in a while.
8. Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given and from who?
In my favourite book ever, the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, Covey affirms, “don’t let fear make your decisions, you make them!”. This has stuck with me as a tangible phrase for what my parents have always encouraged me to do over the years – be daring, take risks and never mark something off as ‘impossible’. A year ago I thought it was ‘impossible’ to keep up a regular blog, and seven months down the track I’m doing just that. I definitely put it down to fearing less and making more of my own decisions.
9. Favourite treat?
Little Bird Cacao and Superfoods Granola with Greek yoghurt… honestly I’d eat it by the packet if I could!
10. Three foods you couldn’t live without?
Peanut butter, avocado and halloumi.
11. Favourite way to move your body?
Antigravity yoga (yoga hanging upside down in the air on silks!). The best stress release, core workout and the shift in perspective does wonders. I’m about to have my 16th birthday aerial yoga party with 12 of my friends and I’m so, so excited.
12. Any last words of wisdom?
No one is responsible for your happiness or wellbeing except yourself. Work out what makes you tick, and repeat it daily.
Follow this wellness beauty at @charlieshealthyfactory
Have a fab Monday!
Love and Health,