Starting last October, Wellness Brand Meta sponsored four “Meta Memphians” as part of its partnership with the City of Memphis, Tennessee. They served as inspiration in the city as they made small changes in their lives to create a lifetime of healthy habits. The Meta Memphians received support from local nutritionists and personal trainers, took part in health screenings, and integrated Meta products into their healthier lifestyles.
I asked Fabiola, one of the Meta Memphians, to share her story. Fabiola grew up in a culture where family gatherings centered around food and eating rich meals. She later opened her own catering company, but found that years of heavy eating negatively affected her health, sparking her to prioritize her health and wellness. Since then, she has made an effort to incorporate physical activities like Zumba or bike riding and health-conscious eating into a daily routine. Fabiola’s ultimate goal is to keep her cholesterol and overall health in check!
Q: What kind of food did you grow up eating (you mentioned family gatherings)?
A: We ate very healthy homemade food, not processed. It was a Middle Eastern diet with olive oil, parsley, bulgur, homemade yogurt, seeds and nuts. Also there were Guatemalan foods like black beans, homemade tortillas, fresh squeezed orange juice and lots of tropical fruits (mango, papaya, bananas).
Q: What inspired you to open a catering company and what kind of food do you specialize in cooking?
A: I felt that if I was working long hard hours for someone else and giving them ideas and food recipes, I could do it for me. But what inspired me the most was a good friend who saw my cooking talent and dedication, and believed in me. It only takes one person to believe in you!
Q: What types of health problems did you eventually develop?
A: My cholesterol was high but I controlled it by exercising. It has been low for over 10 years now. In fact my good cholesterol improved once I started incorporating physical activity.
Q: What types of lifestyle changes and small healthy habits have you been able to incorporate that are realistic for you?
A: I think just being aware of what are my triggers. Taking the time to eat and not feel so rushed. Slowing down and thinking about what I really want to put in my body versus, "Hey I'm hungry, move out of my way or else!"
Q: As a cook and former "heavy" eater, is it a challenge to eat smaller portions and cook lighter meals?
A: Haha! That is a good one—"former heavy eater." I’m still working on it. Cooking healthy, lighter meals is not a challenge, but eating too much is. The challenge is that I wait too long to eat and am starving once I sit down, so I end up eating too much. The hunger is greater than common sense. To avoid this from happening, I try and snack wisely throughout the day. For example instead of going for the cookies I'll grab a Meta Health Bar in between meals, which helps satisfy my hunger as a healthy snack.
Q: What is one healthy cooking tip you use?
A: Keep it simple but with lots of fresh colors from different fruits and vegetables: reds, greens, yellows. It is easy to add color to any meal. This makes the food taste better and at the same time my family and I get important nutrients.
Q: What are your current challenges with maintaining this lifestyle, and how are you overcoming them?
A: The fact that I realized I needed help was huge. Information regarding nutrition and healthy eating can be in our heads, but that does not mean we will use it wisely. Being aware has made me realize that although I love my job and what I do, it gets a bit stressful and hectic, and I forget to please ME. I please everyone all around me to the best of my ability. I have over 200 bosses in any given day, and I try to please them all. The biggest challenge has been taking time to give to myself.
Q: How would you encourage people who are trying to be healthier to stay on track if they become discouraged along the way?
A: I would talk to them as they were my best friend going through some tough times. I would say, “Girl/Dude take a deep breath, let’s analyze this situation. It may seem like the end of the world but it is not. We can do this, I am listening. By talking about it, you have found the answer yourself. Take baby steps and if you need to start again, then do so. Every day is different, and today you are talking to me. You are okay and I am here to see you shine and reach your goal.” And one more thing: remember to laugh and have fun in the process!
Fabiola is a great inspiration for everyone to take small steps on their health and wellness journey! To learn more about Meta, head to MetaWellness.com.
Disclosure: I've partnered with P&G on this sponsored post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more information at MetaWellness.com.