Hi Beuuties,

I’m so excited to share a new Real Women, Real Balance interview with you today. I first discovered Andrea’s blog through her Instagram account, Gwyneth Made Me Do It.

I was immediately drawn to her honest approach to healthy eating and natural authenticity. She spent the last year overhauling her diet to eliminate processed junk and is a fun person to follow if you’re looking for inspiration for feeding your self and family well.

Her blog is full of healthy recipes, personal stories, DIY’s and approachable fashion. I love her message and her style and think you will too…

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Hi Andrea! Thank you for joining us today. First things first, what do you do for a living?

I consider myself a stay at home working mom since I work part time about 20 hours a week, and squeeze it in between the mom stuff. Before I did this though, I worked in the fashion industry for 11+ years, which is why my blog was initially so focused on style.

What led you to start a blog?

I started my first blog just to document family life, but then I started realizing that there was this whole world of blogs that existed to showcase creativity, writing, art, etc. I decided that I wanted to incorporate more of my own personal interests into my blog, so eventually blogging became more of a creative outlet, and less about documenting family life. As the kids have gotten older, that has been a good thing though.

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What do you do when you’re not working/blogging?

The usual things that bring most of us happiness; spending time with our family and friends. Cooking, working out, the usual. And of course plenty of the stuff we tend to not enjoy so much, like cleaning up the house, laundry, running the kids all over the place, homework. It’s incredibly amazing how much time is involved with managing a house and taking care of 3 children.

What inspired you to change your approach to diet and exercise?

It sort of just began as curiosity and my own sort of personal challenge. I was interested in learning a new way to swap out the conventional foods I had been eating and cooking with my whole life, for healthier alternatives, but I didn’t really know where or how to start. It all seemed so overwhelming and complex.

For some strange reason, Gwyneth Paltrow’s book, It’s All Good, sort of just came along for me at the right time. I started cooking from it, and realized it wasn’t all that complex. After a couple of months, I started researching more and figuring out how I could leave the safety net of the cookbook and cook/eat like this on my own.

It’s been a year now, and it just comes so natural for me. In many ways I still eat the same foods, I have just swapped out some of them for their healthier versions of themselves. Like Eggo waffles for homemade, fake syrup for real maple syrup. I think the diet and food industry likes to make it seem really complex, but when you just focus on eating the real stuff, it really demystifies the whole thing.

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As you know, The Balanced Life is all about empowering women to approach health & fitness with a balanced mindset. How do you handle the pressure in your arena (or as a woman) to look a certain way?

It’s funny because you would think as I get older, I would feel more pressure, but I can say with utmost sincerity that now at 38, I feel the least amount of pressure, and the most secure with my body than I ever have before.

I think a lot of it has to do with finally having figured out how to feed myself. Before, I always felt that if I could just figure out the right way to eat, the right diet, my body would naturally change into the body it was meant to be. But now that I’m doing all I can to feed and nourish myself the best, and I still see some of those old “flaws” I used to resent, I figure that’s just the way God made me. Sure, now that I’ve been eating better and doing yoga consistently, my arms are looking better than they ever have before, but I still have a little pudge around my tummy.

I now realize that’s okay, that’s just my body and instead of trying to fight it and make myself miserable, I’ll just embrace it and move on. Life’s too short to get so caught up with trying to make every bit of ourselves perfect. Such an exhausting feat.

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What does balance mean to you during your current season of life?

Balance means devoting time and energy to taking care of myself, including my body and overall health, but also realizing it’s okay to give myself a break. For the last year I have been so dedicated to overhauling my diet, I was afraid to make accommodations here and there, feeling that it would be like giving in. Now I know that the changes I’ve made are longstanding and just a natural part of my way of life, and the occasional In ‘N Out won’t hurt a thing.

What is your best tip for maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the midst of a busy life?

Rest!

I know that seems easier said than done, believe me, but when I stand back and analyze the weeks when things go off track, it always comes down to being tired. If I am well rested, which is usually achieved by going to bed on time and skipping some favorite TV shows, I can accomplish so much more, and am so much more efficient. When you are tired, all aspects of our lives start to fall apart a bit. We are more emotional, we run around in circles, we zone out more, we can’t think, and we certainly don’t have the energy to cook or exercise.

Making sure I get enough rest is vital to my total health, and I think many of us women try to do way too much, sacrificing rest and recovery for a longer checked off to-do list. It’s been a hard lesson to learn, one I am still learning, but a valuable one.

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I couldn’t agree more! What projects are you currently working on that you’d like us to know about?

Right now, besides my writing obligations at Babble in the Body & Mind channel, I am trying to take it easy and spend some time with the kids over summer. I’m making it a personal goal of mine to not take on any new projects for the next 2 months! We’ll see how that goes ;)

Thank you, Andrea!

For more from Andrea be sure to check out her blog, For The Love Of…Approachable Modern Living and connect with her on Instagram / Twitter / Pinterest / Facebook.

xo,

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PS – for more Real Women, Real Balance interviews click here.