Hello, Nomad Girls! We are so excited to introduce you to Bre from www.thepositivechangeco.com =) We were so lucky to talk to Bre as we have been thinking a lot about the topic of health and fitness with regards to digital nomad lifestyle. We think this interview with Bre will be so so useful for current digital nomads, most female travelers, as well as freelancers, as we all share the same problems and struggles 😉 So, please, read on and enjoy. Bre has given us some really awesome and very useful tips on how to stay healthy during non-stop travel.
Tell us about your background and how did you become a digital nomad and healthy living coach? What was the turning point?
My background is actually in marketing, I got my masters degree in digital media a couple years ago and I didn’t want to go work for a big agency or corporation, so I just decided to take off to travel on a whim. I started a travel blog and was doing that for awhile, but didn’t really have a business model behind it, so I was just picking up freelance marketing projects while traveling around Southeast Asia and Australia. I started getting really into healthy cooking and living while I was in Australia, and the more I got into that the more I noticed how much of an impact my eating and lifestyle choices had on ALL aspects of my life, not just my appearance. I felt more energetic, motivated, powerful, productive, and optimistic than I ever had before. And once I felt those things, I knew never wanted to go back to feeling the way I did before. Then I started noticing how crappy other travelers and digital nomad’s eating and daily habits were. And I just wanted to help them feel as amazing as I did and be able to experience their full potential. That’s when I got the idea to create a program to help them change their habits and create a healthier lifestyle just like I did. So I enrolled in the best nutrition coaching program I could find, worked my butt off, and created The Positive Change Co.
How did your health game change over time? Where did you start and where are you now?
I’ve always been fairly health-conscious and aware of what I needed to do to be healthy, but I struggled with actually following through for a long time. I was a bit overweight in high school, and I ended up losing a bunch of that extra weight in my early twenties, but I was never really “in shape”. I was always extremely self-conscious, and my weight fluctuated a lot over the years. Looking back, I would say my biggest issue was inconsistency. It wasn’t until last year when I started really focusing on prioritizing my health and fitness above everything else, and changing my daily habits, that I was able to finally get the confidence I’ve always wanted – both in my appearance AND in knowing that this is a lifestyle I’m going to stick with for the rest of my life.
Give us your 7 ultimate tips on staying healthy while traveling and working.
- Always keep a big stash of fresh fruit. When I need to add some extra nutrients to my breakfast…I eat fruit. When I’m hungry for a midday snack…I eat fruit. When I’m craving something sweet after dinner…I eat fruit. It’s nature’s candy, baby!
- I plan my meals around veggies rather than carbs. Basically, think of your veggies as the “main course” taking up most of your plate, and protein and carbs as the side dishes rather than the other way around. And If you’re still hungry, go for seconds on the veggies, not the pasta or bread.
- When working endlessly out of coffee shops, order green tea or herbal tea instead of one latte after another.
- Cut back on the screen time at night and allow time to wind down before bed by reading a book, journaling, meditating, or listening to a podcast.
- Make a list of 5-10 different workout routines you enjoy, so that when it comes time to workout you can just pick one and get started without putting too much thought into it.
- Pack healthy snacks in your carry-on bag/daypack (like almonds, protein bars, apples, or trail mix) so when the munchies hit you won’t be tempted to buy candy and chips.
- Get your beauty sleep! Allowing your body and mind time to relax and recover will give you way more energy, strength, and motivation to kick ass again the next day!
What can be the biggest challenge here? How do you deal with it?
The biggest challenge with staying healthy while traveling is definitely wanting to eat all the yummy food! Experiencing authentic foods of a different culture is one of the BEST parts about traveling, but it’s also really hard to find the right balance between indulging in the local cuisine and sticking with your healthy eating habits. When I arrive at a new destination, one of the first things I do is wander around and map out healthy dining options and vegetarian restaurants. (Even if you’re not a vegetarian, at least you’ll know where to go if you’ve been slacking in the veggie department!) Then I head to the grocery store to see what I’m working with, and stock up on fruit, veggies, a few things I can add to a salad, and something for breakfast (oatmeal with berries and peanut butter is my go-to breakfast). So basically, I set myself up for success from the first day by getting to know all of my healthy options while I’m in that place.
Many of us really struggle with motivation and consistency for healthy living. Do you have tips on how to not give up and keep motivated?
I know that struggle all too well! I’d say definitely start small, and choose activities you enjoy and can look forward to. The key is focusing on taking one small healthy action each day and continuing to work your way up. As long as you take one step in the right direction every day, you’ll always be improving. That’s what I base my entire coaching program around because it’s the only way to stay consistent and never get burnt out. I struggle with motivation and cravings just like everyone else. But I always have a strategy to just get started making healthy choices. I don’t put pressure on myself to do a one-hour intense training session every day; if I don’t have a lot of energy I cut myself some slack and do something more enjoyable that will still count as being active. I’m a sucker for listening to podcasts while taking long walks (preferably on the beach), so I’ll do that instead. Or I’ll spend a little extra time preparing a nice, healthy meal for myself that I know I’ll enjoy. As long as I take some sort of intentional, healthy action each day, I give myself a high-five.
What tools, apps, websites can you recommend, which are really helping to keep control of health, diet, and fitness while traveling?
I use a FitBit Charge 2 activity tracker watch, which I absolutely love! I use it to set daily exercise goals, track my sleep quality, and participate in “Challenges” with other FitBit users. It really helps hold me accountable, and remind me when I’m being too lazy! There are plenty of activity tracking apps that you can set up on your phone to send you reminders to move, track your steps and calories burned. My favorite recipe finder app is called “Yummly”, you enter all of your food preferences in and it will show you only recipes using foods you like. It’s particularly helpful when I’m introduced to new foods abroad and have no idea how to cook them… I can just search for that food in the Yummly app and it will give me a bunch of recipes. But I honestly get most of my healthy eating inspiration from Instagram! My Instagram account is a mix of the things I eat on a daily basis and healthy foods other digital nomads are eating around the world. I frequently scroll back through my IG feed before going grocery shopping to make my list! And last, but not least, of course, I have to mention that I regularly post new tips for staying healthy while traveling on my blog! So that’s a good place to start too =)
What is your go-to healthy snack? How do they differ from country to country?
Fruit and nuts! Which fortunately can be found all over the world, but in different varieties depending on the country. Bananas and apples travel well, and I try to eat them with nut butter when it’s available. Fruit and nut bars work well too when I need a quick energy boost, but they tend to be higher in processed sugar so I always try to go for fresh fruit.
Name 3 usual and 1 unusual thing on your packing list.
3 usual things on my packing list are an extra iPhone charger (mine always tend to go missing), a journal (I actually carry 3 with me at all times haha), and flip-flops (or “thongs” depending on where you live in the world!) to wear in showers. And 1 unusual thing I pack is a softball to help stretch out and massage my sore muscles after workouts.
What is your next goal and next destination?
I’m heading to Europe (for the first time) in a couple weeks! I’ll be going to Iceland, London, Spain, Morocco, Portugal, and Italy. My main goals for this trip are connecting with other digital nomads in those countries, promoting my Healthy Lifestyle Coaching Program, and hopefully getting to collaborate on some awesome projects that will help nomads live a healthier lifestyle while traveling and working remotely.
Finally, tell us about the best/craziest/amazing place you have visited or done last year.
Tasmania, hands down! The wildlife and nature was truly mindblowing there. I was only planning on going for a few days, but ended up staying six weeks! I had a lot of firsts during those 6 weeks. I climbed to my first mountain summit; swam out to an uninhabited island which turned out to actually be inhabited by a colony of Fairy Penguins; learned to drive on the opposite side of the road (and opposite side of the car); got chased by an angry pig; saw my first and only snake during my entire year in Australia; explored glowworm caves; and saw wild platypus, Tasmanian devils, wombats, peacocks, and pademelons, which very few people in the world ever get to see in their natural habitat. I was pretty much in a constant state of awe. I think it was the most transformational 6 weeks of my life. Plus, it’s where I created The Positive Change Co.! From the attic of a haunted hostel haha.
Thank you, Bre! That was totally awesome. Did you enjoy it, girls? Leave your thoughts and comments below. We would love to find out how you deal with health & fitness while traveling. Have a great day!
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