Real People, Real Inspiration
This week’s spotlight is on a truly remarkable woman. Dani is a 24-year-old lifestyle coach living in Calgary, Alberta Canada. This girl defines the word motivation and her story is both inspiring and impressive. I stumbled across her Instagram and was instantly drawn to her infectious smile and positive attitude. She considers herself a “self love guru” and provides her clients with support and the tools they need to become the best version of themselves. She loves coffee, cooking and spending time with her boyfriend and their puppy, Tucker. Dani has managed to drastically change her life in so many ways in just a few years. Not only did she go through a dramatic weight loss and lifestyle change, she also found her true passion in life and has based her career around it.
Have you always been passionate about nutrition and healthy living? What made you get into this field?
Healthy living? No - way. I was the get-skinny diet queen through junior high up until I was about 21. I had no idea what healthy living was, I just knew that I felt my hips were too big, my thighs were too thick, and that If I did “insert quick fix here” that I would lose weight and be deemed socially acceptable. I was pretty heavily bullied because of my weight & curves all throughout my life.
At 21 I finally decided to create a healthy lifestyle and educate myself about food. That is when my life changed and I focused less about how I looked and more about how I felt every day. It wasn’t my weight loss that empowered me, it was the knowledge I gained, the energy I gained, and the sudden understanding of what it meant to truly love myself, from the inside out.
You describe yourself as a life coach. Please explain what this title means.
Ooo! Yes! I like to call myself the “quarter life crisis coach”. I went through a huge free fall after university. After studying a degree I was completely in love with, I left having no idea how to adult. How do I make money? How do I take care of myself? What if I am not using my degree? These questions circled my brain on the daily! (all while working 55+ hours a week crying during my commute). So instead of sitting and sulking in my free fall, I took action. I decided to learn from the leaders who inspired me, and actually take their advice! I found myself crawling out of the free fall and falling back in love with my life.
I wanted to show others how to do the same. I found a passion for helping people find their passion, purpose, and a vision for their life. I mix spiritual practices and practical practices in order to teach people how to dig down deep and be unapologetic about how they really want to live. Before you can change your life, you have to know what impact you want to create in this world, and what your super power is. My super power just happens to be helping people live their life with determination and a smile.
Dani spreading her message and love through her website and social media.
I know you’re passionate about nutrition, but what do you think about exercise?
When it comes to moving your body, I think it's about what truly feels good to you. If it’s lifting, awesome, if it’s yoga, sweet, if it’s dancing in your kitchen or walking your dog, AMAZING. Move your body to get your heart pumping and your creativity flowing- not to impress others with the definition of your body. When it comes down to it, what you feel is right for you is perfect. Don’t let someone else try to convince you that in order to be successful you have to drop what you love and take up what they’re doing. You’re perfect. Some days I dance in my kitchen, or lay on my floor recognizing my breath, that right there is perfect.
What is your diet like?
One of the things that have kept me on this journey is variety. I have a mission to make EVERYTHING in a way that is healthy & fuels my body. So some days I make mac and cheese (healthy), or paleo brownies, or oven baked wings. If someone tells me they are ready to give up on their healthy lifestyle because they want nachos, my answer is always, “I have a challenge for you, how can you make that from scratch at home?”
I fell in love with knowing that what I eat is going to make me feel strong that day, and avoiding things that make my brain foggy. I know what you’re going to ask, do you ever “cheat” and I have a big problem with that word. How can you “cheat” on a lifestyle? I eat tacos and donuts when I want to but I know in the long run, those donuts will make me sluggish and foggy. So yes I enjoy life and “cheat” sometimes, but I enjoy life in every aspect. And in order to enjoy life to the fullest I have to have the energy to truly LIVE.
Dani cooking up one of her healthy and tasty recipes. Photo credit Jolisa Tweedie
What has been your biggest nutrition/health achievement?
I would say finally understanding how I can love myself a little more each day. Yes I lost 60 pounds, yes I get sick a lot less, yes I have more energy, but it all doesn’t matter unless I am okay with the person in the mirror. You are the only person who is there with you from birth to death. When that person is your best friend & your greatest teacher, life is a lot easier.
Do you ever struggle to stay motivated? What do you do to get back at it?
Every day. Every single day. The bad days are the days I have to pull myself to the side, ask myself why I started, how I want to feel, and what I truly desire.
I always tell my clients to ask empowering questions when it comes to the down times. Drop the “why me” attitude and replace it with “how can this teach me”. It’s all about how you react to the setbacks. It’s okay to fail; failure is actually awesome because the magic happens when you have to pull yourself up.
What is the best piece of advice you have for someone who is struggling to stay motivated?
Seek out inspiration every day. Motivation is a feeling; you can’t expect it to be there every day. But when you are actively seeking out guidance, inspiration, lessons, ways to improve, etc., you build up a bank of strength for the days you want to give up. You have to keep filling that bank up so when you need to take some motivation out, you have the support to do so. Seek out mentors or a tribe of like-minded people you can tap into. You don’t have to do this alone.
People will always have excuses, they will tell you they can’t afford to get help, they don’t have time, they are lazy. But it is when you find that reason that makes you cry, jump for joy, hug strangers, that’s what breaks through all the excuses. That’s what makes you unstoppable.
This self-love guru truly is unstoppable.
I had such a great time learning about Dani and her inspiring story. She shows how important self-love is and that without it; you really can't begin your journey. No matter how much weight you lose or how toned your body is, you’ll never be happy until you truly love and believe in yourself. I love how she says being healthy isn't about how much you weigh- it's about how you feel inside and out. This is such an important message for women today, especially young girls. Society and beauty standards try to define how women should look and make us feel that the only way to be considered “pretty” is to be thin. We are constantly having to compare ourselves to these thin and beautiful women we see in magazines, TV and social media and it can be so discouraging. Dani preaches how important it is to not compare yourself to others. Everyone is different and you have to figure out what makes you happy.
Even though Dani is a life coach, she admits that sometimes even she has trouble finding motivation. However, she always takes responsibilities for herself and actions and uses her failures as a way to grow and learn. She proves that it's never too late to find your passion and figure out what drives you. She started her life coaching as a way to give back to other women that are struggling like she once was, and ended up making a career out of it. Dani is proof that anything can be accomplished with dedication, passion and the right attitude. Self-love is so important and we should all learn to love and believe in ourselves as much as Dani does.
Thank you for sharing your story with us Dani! We love you girl!Check back each week to see a new spotlight on someone who makes us smile, laugh, and gasp at everything they are able to accomplish!