My first job after college was actually in the advertising industry. It was a great learning experience, but I wanted to find a career that was a better fit for my personality, goals, and values. My “aha” moment happened while watching the first season of British chef Jamie Oliver’s television show “Food Revolution” in 2010. Jamie made cooking and healthy eating look fun, and it was clear that he was positively impacting so many people. I was definitely inspired, and, after doing a little research, I learned that I could combine my own passion for food and cooking with my desire to help others into a career as a registered dietitian!
What is the Wellie Project?
The Wellie Project is three things: it’s a movement that is empowering girls to take charge of their health; it’s a lifestyle that encourages them to find the wellness habits and practices that work best for them; and it’s a community where girls can connect and share their stories with each other. Our goal is to provide as much information and inspiration as possible to help everyone become their best self, no matter what point they are starting from.
What inspired you to start the Wellie Project?
It originally started as a personal wellness blog called “Diary of a Wellie” that I had for a couple of years during graduate school. I love writing, photography, inspiring people and sharing content that I find interesting, and the blog gave me a way to do that with my friends and family. But I wanted to do more than just document my journey; I wanted to create a place where I could also help others start their own journey by sharing what I’ve learned and what I continue to learn every day.
During my time as a grad student, I was babysitting for an amazing family with two girls, and that’s when the pieces really started coming together. As I watched them and their friends grow from kids to teenagers, I noticed that they were dealing with many of the same themes I was, like health, relationships, stress, balance, happiness, etc. We spent a lot of time talking about these things, and in a way we were all navigating life together – I just had a few more years of experience under my belt, as well as more tools for dealing with it all. Naturally it didn’t take long before I realized that they were the ones I most wanted to share my message with. They were smart, savvy, and had access to the same technology that I did, so there was no reason why they needed to wait until they were older to start embracing wellness. My goal became to create The Wellie Project as a resource for them, and from there the idea has just kept growing!
Why do you believe it is important for young people to live healthy lifestyles?
Because it makes life so much better! When you practice healthy living, you are more in tune with your body and mind. You have a greater ability to recognize when something is off, and you know how to get yourself back on track to feeling your best. It also becomes easier to deal with life’s ups and downs because you have something to lean on that will guide you through it.
What characteristics make up a "Wellie Life"?
A wellie life is based on the following principles:
- Eat for nourishment
- Move your body
- Sleep well
- Deal with stress
- Build healthy relationships
- Explore your passions
- Find balance
- Embrace mindfulness
- Express gratitude
- Practice self-compassion
- Nurture your spirituality
- Radiate love
These principles can mean different things to different people, and they may not apply in the same ways to everyone. Their meanings can also evolve or change throughout life, and that’s totally OK too! Ultimately, they are here to remind you of what’s important when you need a little guidance. I know I come back to them whenever I’m feeling out of whack, and they help me figure out how to feel better.
What advice would you give to young people that are currently struggling to lead a healthy lifestyle?
I think it’s so important to spend time thinking about the big picture of health and defining what it means to you. Become clear on your intentions and give your journey a purpose. What do you want your ideal life to look like? How do you want to feel? How will leading a healthy lifestyle help you get there? Why is this important to you? Write it out, create a vision board, tell someone you trust, or express it any other way you want. This is the first step in bringing that vision to life.
Rather than fighting to “figure it all out” right away and getting frustrated if nothing is working, think about this as a journey of discovery. Now is the best time to open yourself up to new experiences and ideas so you can start learning what feels right for you. And even if you try 10 new things and none of them work out, that’s still progress! Sooner or later you’ll find things that do work, and piece-by-piece you’ll begin to build a solid foundation of health practices that you can be proud of.
What are your hopes for the future regarding the Wellie Project?
I want it to become the ultimate go-to place for girls who are ready to take charge of their health, where they can find all of the information, support and inspiration they need. As it continues to grow online, I hope to someday start offering in-person experiences and events, teach workshops, create local chapters that girls can join, and so much more!
Thank you Nancy! Make sure to check out The Wellie Project on Instagram, @thewellieproject, and on thewelliproject.com!