Welcome to another Freedom Friday Interview! To read more about Freedom Friday Interviews, please click here.
Today we have my best friend, business partner, and podcast co-host, Shawn Mynar, joining us to share her story of freedom!
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 am a holistic health practitioner living in beautiful Boulder, Colorado! I spend my days helping people all over the globe find the root cause of their health issues and it’s the best job in the world! After years as a personal trainer, I found the holistic health path on my own journey to heal from chronic health issues. I have two autoimmune diseases that I have been able to fully put into remission by using a holistic approach and now am on a mission to help others do the same. I love cooking and eating, going to the gym, bingeing on Netflix, reading both educational and not-at-all educational books, finding a good trail in the mountains, going on a leisurely walk while listening to podcasts, hanging out with my nieces and nephews, and sleeping.
2. What does “freedom” mean to you?
To be free is to be unapologetically YOU. Free of all labels, rules, standards. Not putting anyone else’s opinion or beliefs above your own. Honouring yourself and what you think, feel, do, and aspire to and not letting anything get in the way of that, even YOU getting in the way of you. So many people sabotage their freedom with their own self-imposed limitations!
3. Share about the time in your life when you lacked freedom. What was your struggle?
I didn’t know how to be free until the last few years, so I have a lot of options to choose from! Being a slave to dieting for the majority of my adult life kept me from finding freedom in all aspects of my life for a really long time. As soon as I knew what it meant to be on a diet, probably in middle school, I went on one. I loved the idea of being able to control my looks just by monitoring the food I ate. Every female I knew was on a diet too, so I never really thought there was any other way to be. This mentality culminated in a very severe way as I decided to prepare for my first fitness competition 4 years ago. For 14 weeks, my only concern surrounded how much (little) food I ate and how those decisions affected my physique. I spent countless hours calculating calories, tweaking macros, meal prepping the exact same meals every single day, and not taking part in any enjoyable activities in order to reach my goal. That process allows for zero room for freedom, and entirely too much space for obsession and restriction. At the time, I really enjoyed this behaviour because I thought it showed discipline and effort. Plus, I was getting physical results that my years of dieting had never gotten me! It’s so easy to get sucked into that trap when you are getting physical results, whether they be healthy or not. It’s what you DON’T see or realize at the time that is so scary. I was blinded.
4. What was your turning point? When did you realize that you needed to embrace freedom?
There is a silver lining to this event in my life…it ended up shaping my new mentality! After that competition was over, my health was so depleted that I could no longer ignore the signs my body was giving me. At the time, I had already been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune disease that affects the colon. During that prep time, my symptoms and severity of the disease worsened drastically. I also lost my menstrual cycle for a significant amount of time during and after this time of extreme dieting. Having my body scream in this way helped me decide that my number one priority had to change. I needed to take care of myself from the inside out, not the other way around. I needed my health back. It was then that I began really getting involved with the holistic health world and studying nutritional therapy. I applied the knowledge I was gaining from my studies to my own case and learned a whole new way to view health. I began measuring food by it’s nutritional value versus the amount of calories, carbs, or fat content. I started truly nourishing myself to get my health back. And at the same time, I realized how much fun it is to eat a TON of really good, high quality food and not have to give it a number value before it goes into my mouth!
5. How do you allow freedom into your life on a daily basis?
I have so much freedom in my life right now and I love it! For me, freedom is a necessity. After 30+ years, I’ve finally realized that I don’t do well with restriction in any aspect of my life and honor that daily. I don’t follow any one ‘diet’ anymore. Now that health is my main focus, I eat what makes me feel good. Sometimes that’s a huge plate of veggies and sometimes it’s a gluten-free cookie! I am an entrepreneur so I set my own schedule and tasks for the day. I spent over 10 years as a manager in a corporate environment and couldn’t handle the lack of freedom it provided. I was born to be my own boss! I don’t hang out with one group of friends or do something social just to be social. For a long time, I was spending tons of time at events that I don’t even enjoy, just to be social. I now value my time so much more…if I don’t want to do it, I’m not doing it! Most recently, I found complete freedom in my workouts and movement habits. Being someone with many years in the fitness industry, I always followed a workout program based on my goals at that time. I’ve always thought I really liked having that structure. While I do really enjoy training for a goal, I also have found that I really enjoy intuitive movement. Some days, I can’t wait to lift a bunch of weight. And some days, lifting even 10 pounds sounds terrible. Being able to make that decision based on what my body is telling me is very empowering. This isn’t to say that I will never follow a program again to reach a goal. But even just having the knowledge to decide when it’s the right time for that is freeing.
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?
This is a big one as I just made a major change this week to give me more freedom! I am letting go of my ’security blanket’ job in order to pursue my true passion as a holistic nutritionist 100% of the time. This has been in the works for a year now and I finally took the plunge! While there is a bit of fear involved, the freedom aspect is incredibly exciting and empowering.
7. What is one golden nugget of wisdom you can provide to those who are currently struggling with embracing freedom today?
The only thing stopping you is YOU. Find a motivation greater than yourself if need be, but regardless, dig deep and find it. There is the most amazing feeling waiting for you on the other side.
8. And before we say good bye, how can we stay connect with you over social media?
Always on IG @well_belly. Loving snapchat right now @shawnmynar. My website for all the good stuff www.well-belly.com.