We’ve started a new Health in Action series to profile people in the community who are living Actively Northwest. Follow along each week as we profile new people who are committed to living active, healthy lives through fitness and food.
Kicking off our series is Kirsten Helle, a personal chef, nutrition consultant and lifestyle and weight management specialist. Kirsten is committed to helping others live healthier lives through changing their approach to food. Meet Kirsten in the video below and learn about some of her favorite healthy eating tips.
ANW: You made a significant life change that helped you become healthier. Tell us about that “aha” moment?
Helle: My aha moment came when my daughter was a little over 2 years old. She was playing on the floor next to me as I sat on the couch, lacking energy to even get down and play with her. I was more than 100 pounds overweight, technically obese and always unhappy with my body. I had pre-diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol at 25 years old. As she was playing, so full of energy and healthy, I realized if I continued to model the kind of lifestyle that got me to where I was, she was likely to end up unhealthy as well. I decided then and there that instead of dieting by eating fake and processed diet food, I was going to be healthy from then on. I was going to live every day for a healthy future.
ANW: What steps did you take to make your healthy motivation a reality?
Helle: From that moment on, I learned about what it meant to be healthy. I ate real food in the proper portions and started walking multiple times a day. These simple changes led to my 100-pound weight loss that I have maintained for more than 6 years.
When I feel like taking the day off or choosing that big hamburger for dinner, I stay on track by remembering what my ultimate goal is: a long, healthy, vibrant life and being a good role model for my family. I want to see my daughter get married and walk down the aisle, meet my great-grandchildren and have the energy to be able to pick them up and swing them around when I am 90 years old.
ANW: After your transformation you devoted your life to helping others become healthier. What inspired you to start your own business and what’s the most exciting part of your work?
Helle: I love food! I grew up in a foodie household, exposed to so many different flavors and ethnic foods. I started studying to run my own business and become a personal chef out of that love of food. After my breakthrough I wanted to help others enjoy healthy food that tastes absolutely amazing, but is still healthy.
The most exciting part of my work is the food. I love it. I read about it, write about it, study it, experiment with it and, of course, love eating it! It is my hobby, my passion, my work and it fulfills me every day. I also love working with families that end up having their own breakthroughs as well. They truly are creating an entirely new family legacy that will help everyone live longer, more vibrant, healthier lives that will be passed on for generations.
ANW: How do you approach fitness? Can you share a few tips that you’ve learned along the way that keep you motivated?
Helle: Do activities that you love and fit them in wherever you can! All I could do was 10 minutes at a time before I got healthy. Also, it’s important to find workouts that fit your lifestyle. If you like hitting the gym on your way to work, go for it. If you enjoy biking, give it a try. If you like working out at home in your pajamas in front of the television, do that!
ANW: Healthy eating is the backbone of your work. If you could convey a few bits of wisdom to our readers, what would you tell them about your approach to healthy eating?
Helle: Eat real food. Learn to love the process of nourishing (meal planning, shopping, and cooking) by seeing it as an opportunity to enjoy delicious food, sit around the table and enjoy your family. Make nourishment part of your day and plan accordingly. Don’t make fueling yourself an afterthought. Take care of your body – it is the only one you’ve got!
Feature photo credit: Mackenzie Helle-Richardson of Studio Soul Photography
Tags: Health in Action