Wellness Warrior – Renee Sexton
For the latest instalment of our Wellness Warriors series, we caught up with nutritionist and health coach Renee Sexton. She’s a vegan and a foodie who loves all things health and wellness. Her blog is filled with nourishing recipes that are super tasty and simple to put together.
Renee shared with us how she keeps life balanced while juggling work with her modelling career, the importance of prioritising self-care and her top tips for keeping well.
Tell us about yourself and what you do.
I’m a holistic nutritionist and health coach. I work from my home in Takapuna (Auckland) where I see clients throughout the week and try to help them to be their best. I also host monthly wellness talks, cooking workshops and group coaching programs. Basically I do everything that I can think of that will help my clients and followers to be at their best. I also try to teach them a bunch of tips and tricks that will help make healthy eating easy and simple.
What was the ‘a-ha’ moment that encouraged you to get involved in health and nutrition?
I really wish I had an ‘a-ha’ moment that kicked off my passion for whole foods, but truth be told there wasn’t. I have always loved good food and finding that daily balance that makes me feel amazing. I guess I have spent most of my life testing out different ways to eat, to move, to find balance in my life and now I’m just bringing it all together and sharing it with my clients.
What have been your highlights since you started working in the wellness industry?
It would have to be getting messages from clients telling me how great they feel and how thankful they are that I have helped them to change their diet and their perspective on food. That really is what I do and it brings me so much joy when I see people making and loving these changes. That’s why I’m a nutritionist and health coach, to help people to feel incredible every day and to realise that it doesn’t have to be hard to achieve and that food can be both delicious and healthy.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I love this question since no day or week is typical for me. This is because apart from being a nutritionist, I also model each week and run a blog. I normally get up around 6.30am with my husband, Matt. I’ll then either grab a cold-pressed juice that I made the night before and drink it on my way to hot yoga, or I will have a warm lemon, turmeric and ginger tea and check my emails. During the week I will fit in some form of exercise in the morning followed by 1-2 client sessions, or perhaps a morning at my desk going over my notes, writing articles or recipes for my blog.
I will always head into the kitchen to whip up something for lunch. I love to have leftovers such as pumpkin soup or a curry, which I can enjoy while having a read and relax. Then I’m back to my desk, either seeing a client, blogging, or picking up some food for dinner. I try to get a 30 minute break during the day when I will stretch my legs and get outside for some fresh air and vitamin D.
Then it’s time to cook dinner. I love this part of the day as it helps me unwind and sign off from work. Because I work from home this is so important, otherwise I can keep going all day and night and end up exhausted. After Matt and I have eaten dinner together, we normally just relax. I love reading and drinking a cup of herbal tea with a little fruit or perhaps a hot chocolate if I’m having a sweet craving.
Then it’s bed before 10pm so I get a good 8 hours sleep.
That is probably my typical day, but of course if a modelling job is booked in then it’s all hands on deck and I’m fitting in notes and blog work while I’m getting my hair and makeup done. On those days, my workouts get pushed to the evening or first thing in the morning.
How do you maintain balance and keep your wellbeing a priority when life gets busy?
This is something that is so important to me, I really prioritise balance. I have what I like to call a daily non-negotiable list (which is what I also ask my clients to do). This is a list of 5-10 things that are most important to me and that help to ensure that I am at my best.
- Getting 8 hours of sleep a night.
- Drinking 8 glasses of water a day.
- Eating 90% home cooked meals.
- Moving my butt for at least 30 minutes every day.
- Having me time each day, i.e stopping and doing something that I love and that makes me happy.
- Eating every 3-4 hours during the day
If I can tick these off, then I know I have done everything in order to be balanced and look after myself. A lot of people don’t prioritise their health and wellbeing and let it get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list when life gets busy. For me this is when I am extra vigilant with my daily non-negotiables and everything else fits around them.
What are your top three tips for staying fit and healthy?
- Make sure at least 85-90% of your food is home cooked. This ensures that you know exactly what goes into it your meals as well as having control over your portions.
- Find a form of exercise that you love doing so that you are excited to do it, rather than dreading it. This is so important and having fun makes it easier to exercise each day.
- Schedule your daily ‘me time’. You would be surprised how many people go the whole week without fitting in something that’s just for them. It can be as simple as sitting down for 5 minutes and enjoying your favourite tea, running a bath at the end of the day, or reading for 20 minutes each night. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it makes you feel good and helps you to relax and unwind.
Do you have a life motto or mantra you live by?
I really love this mantra at the moment… ‘Progress, not perfection’
We can get so caught up in trying to do everything perfectly, when really it’s just about taking one step at a time. No one is perfect and no diet is perfect. It’s not about eating salads every day for the rest of your life, but it is about adding in positive and healthy actions that help you to be your best.