Our featured influencer this month is Kelsey Ellis, an awe-inspiring registered holistic nutritionist and certified personal trainer who has dedicated her life to helping people move with joy, build self-acceptance and take the shame out of their wellness game. Amen! Read all about Kelsey below, and watch for more fabulous influencer insights in the coming months! —Vita Daily
Hi Kelsey! Tell us a bit about yourself to start!
I am the owner of Healthy With Kelsey, a personal wellness brand that aims to help people move with joy, overcome body shame and divest from unhealthy behaviours rooted in diet culture. My work is centred around non-diet and healthy at every size (HAES) approaches to helping my clients build healthier relationships with food and exercise. My mission for the past few years has been to deconstruct conventional wellness practices and teach clients how to heal the body physically, mentally and emotionally through self-nurturing practices like joyful movement and intuitive eating. My work is founded on both my background in holistic nutrition, trauma-informed training and my personal experience of developing disordered eating behaviours after 10 years of working in a conventional fitness environment. I believe that as a society we have reached a point where we recognize that the systems of suppression and oppression under the guise of wellness are no longer working for us and we need to relearn our instinctual ability to self-trust and use our own internal guidance as a way to navigate our health. I help people take back their personal autonomy around their body and wellness.
How do you use your platform to impact those who follow you?
Diets and rigid exercise programs that were considered the “gold standard” of healthful living up until this point are now being recognized as one of the leading causes of eating disorders, which have the second-highest mortality among all mental illnesses. My goal is to tackle this issue along with weight stigma and racism, which also are rampant in the health and wellness sector, by advocating for all bodies to be considered valid and receive equal treatment by fitness and health professionals alike. I use my social media platforms to educate, inspire and empower individuals to redefine what being healthy looks like. To educate my audience on the dangers of dieting, inspire them to choose exercise as a form of self-care, not self-punishment and share stories of diverse bodies (including my own) overcoming the challenges of a world that has up until recently, largely centred on white, thin women in fitness. I share vulnerable stories of my own challenges and triumphs to help others who are in similar circumstances feel seen and validated and offer a range of wellness services and resources that are accessible at different price points, including my YouTube channel which provides free body-positive workouts under 30 minutes.
What’s your personal fitness/wellness/health mantra?
“I don’t have to, I get to.” It is a simple and clear reminder to have gratitude for my health and the ability to move my body. I can acknowledge the privilege that I have the time, accessibility and resources to care for my body in a way that not all have access to. This reminds me to stay curious about other’s wellness practices and be compassionate toward all.
What’s your favourite thing about starting a new year? Do you make resolutions?
My favourite thing about the new year is meeting new people and the energy they bring to their goals! People generally start to make some serious considerations about changing their health this time of year and I get so excited for them because I know how powerful and exciting taking control of your health is. They are eager to learn and understand that working together can be the difference between using will power alone to accomplish one month of progress toward their goals or working with a coach to accomplish 12 months of progress toward their goals. Instead of creating surface-level resolutions without any action plan, I get to help them bring the vision they have for their health to life, create a sustainable strategy plan and help them stay accountable when the going inevitably gets tough. I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with creating resolutions, but I don’t personally set them as I make a continuous effort throughout the year to evaluate many areas of my life and take action as needed. I don’t want to reduce it down to once per year, when humans are always learning, evolving and growing!
Any advice for people who want to boost their health and up their fitness levels in 2022?
The best place to start making changes to your health is by addressing basic self-care and looking at where your body could use more support. Basic self-care is having shelter and safety, eating nutrient rich foods, drinking clean water, getting enough sleep, moving your body regularly, breathing fresh air, getting enough sunlight and having meaningful relationships. Basic self-care is often ignored in lieu of shiny new health trends, but unless you are meeting your basic needs you will find new lifestyle changes above and beyond these basic needs difficult to sustain long term.