Welcome to another Freedom Friday Interview! To read more about Freedom Friday Interviews, please click here.
This week we’re welcoming Steph Gaudreau to the blog to share her story about freedom. I “met” Steph quite a few years ago and she was the one who inspired me to do my first Whole 30, which allowed me to discover some health issues I didn’t understand until then! I am so grateful for this lady and honoured to have her participate in this series!
1. I am so happy to have you on as a Freedom Friday guest! Give us a little background about yourself before we dive into the juiciness of freedom and how it applies to you and your life!
I’ll give you the abridged edition: I’m 37 years old, and by day, I’m a holistic nutrition practitioner, weightlifting coach, food blogger / photographer / cookbook author. I’ve been doing that for the last three years, but prior to that, I taught high school chemistry and biology for 12 years. In 2013, I decided to take my love of teaching beyond the classroom. In my personal life, I’m a competitive Olympic weightlifter, tend to my urban garden and honeybees, and am loving life with my husband and cat in sunny San Diego.
2. What does “freedom” mean to you?
I’ve been reflecting on this a lot lately, and it’s the ability to create what I want to in this world, to make things that are true to my core values and that happen to help others.
3. Share about the time in your life when you lacked freedom. What was your struggle?
One that comes to mind is spending many, many years hating my body. Growing up, I always felt different and was teased about it. That feeling of unease eventually spiraled into a constant background state of self-loathing and feeling less than. I spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about how my body looked and being really disgusted, even though there was nothing wrong with it when I reflect back.
4. What was your turning point? When did you realize that you needed to embrace freedom?
For me, the turning point was a major lifestyle overhaul. In 2010, I changed the way I ate and started focusing on foods that were nourishing, giving up processed food. I started strength training and discovered how incredible it felt to let go of how I looked and instead focus on what my body could do. I slept more. It took a while for everything to fall into place, and it’s a continual journey, but there’s joy and freedom in the fact that it is a process…not something I have to achieve in two weeks like the online diet gurus say.
5. How do you allow freedom into your life on a daily basis?
I listen to my body a lot more than I ever did. Just today I wasn’t feeling a lifting session, so I stopped, came home, and did some stretching instead.
6. I believe our journey towards freedom never truly ends, it just continues to progress to more and more freedom. How have you challenged yourself recently to embrace more freedom into your life?
One thing I’m working on as a business owner, is being okay with not having a rigid plan and not always having the next idea in the pipeline. I love to work and create, so when faced with a fuzzier future, it’s sometimes hard for me. But I know that forcing ideas often leads me to pursue projects that aren’t in the best alignment to my core values and what I really love.
7. What is one golden nugget of wisdom you can provide to those who are currently struggling with embracing freedom today?
When creating goals, focus more on process-oriented goals and don’t focus so much on outcome-oriented goals. The latter can lead to frustration when it takes longer than expected, and in many cases, there are multiple factors that align to control you reaching that goal. Instead, focus on action steps you can take daily and be more in tuned to the process.
8. And before we say good bye, how can we stay connect with you over social media?