Andréa Albright, 37, is a natural weight loss coach, writer and speaker. Here we chat with our January cover model on all things health and fitness.
I was born with what I call ‘fat-storing’ genetics. My entire family has struggled with obesity, and I was headed there myself. Very early in life, I started noticing extra fat storage on my belly, hips and thighs. I was a destructive yo-yo dieter, I was obsessed with scales, and I even got addicted to dangerous diet pills. At 22, I had an awakening and I realised that my body was not my enemy…my body is something to be cherished and loved. My new obsession became about gaining health rather than losing weight. That mind shift led me to a lifestyle path that was enjoyable and sustainable. At my heaviest I was an Australian size 16. With this healthy approach to my body, I’ve maintained my current size for almost a decade.
I love goals! I’m kinda geeky when it comes to systems; I have a system for everything, from my business to my training. I do daily and weekly check-ins to ensure I’m on the right track. My husband and I also live this lifestyle together, which helps in amazing ways. I’ve been studying personal growth and motivation for years. At the core, motivation is emotionally driven. It’s doing what you need to do, when you need to do it, even when you don’t feel like it, so you have to manage your emotional states. Some people think I’m too over-the-top with my energy and excitement. What they may not realise is that I’m keeping myself in the zone – I surround myself with positive-minded people who believe in me. And, I do take photographs and I make videos weekly to track the progress. Of course, the hundreds of thousands of women in my online community for whom I have to show up daily certainly keep me motivated!
ON EMOTIONAL BALANCE
A year ago, I was diagnosed with PTSD, which stems from some painful things I experienced in childhood. Working through that is my greatest journey right now, as it can affect every aspect of your life. I have a daily meditation practice; sometimes it’s only three breaths. Sometimes it’s an hour-and-a-half of yoga. I tune in to that loving essence. At night, after a hard day of work and training, I love a hot bath with candles. I created a special temple in my bathroom with colours, aromatherapy, epsom salts…I love to crawl in and get lost in some great reading material. Honestly, my favourite thing to read these days is fitness magazines — and yes, that includes WH&F!
ON BODY IMAGE
I stopped weighing myself when I had my body awakening at 22. I literally tossed the scale out the window! I no longer pinch my belly or use ‘fat talk’ when speaking to myself. The conversation you have with yourself is perhaps the most important conversation you will ever have, so I find it crucial to speak to myself with love and affirmation. My mentors say,”progress is perfection”, so I try to keep that in mind, even though I slip into being a bit of a perfectionist at times. My husband talks me down off the ledge. I’ve come to see that when I go into perfectionism, it’s false security, and I go into that mode when I’m having bouts of insecurity.
My major life take-aways were learned through yoga, mostly. The distractions and fluctuations of the mind can be very confusing. You only find your true centre when you are still, quiet, and listening. In this place of stillness, you can tune in to the love of your body, your spirit, your partner and humanity. I recommend taking time to be quiet and to find that nurturing silence inside of you every day, even if it’s just a few deep breaths here and there. Another major thing for me is to always have a mentor; someone who has an aspect of life that you want and who has been down a similar path. I have mentors in business, fitness, spirituality, you name it. I married my favourite mentor, and he married his!
My number one weight loss secret is my trademarked phrase, Count Chemicals, Not Calories!. This will the stop calorie-counting obsession that the diet industry has brainwashed us into believing. One of the biggest changes in my diet, and subsequently my body, was changing from a low-fat to a relatively high-fat diet. I trained my body to be a fat-burning rather than a sugar-burning machine. I eat carbs at night! (Gasp!) That’s actually the best time to do it. I also eat a lot of food for a tiny girl. I don’t know how many calories, but I eat six meals a day, each with 20 to 25 grams of protein, and a heap of green vegies, along with natural fats, coconut oil, olive oil, and nuts here and there. Water, water everywhere! I never eat sugar; it’s toxic for me, and for a lot of other women.
I never leave the house hungry, and I always leave with healthy food packed and ready. The outside world is a war zone when it comes to bad food! When I do ‘cheat’, and it’s actually not cheating but calorie-spiking to keep my metabolic rate elevated, it’s Thai food. Just planning it here and there keeps me away from any bingeing, as I know I’m only a few days away all the time from a treat. And honestly, I love the taste of the foods I eat every day. It sounds like common sense, but you should never eat something that you don’t love to eat.
I cut out all alcohol, decrease my salt intake, and of course, no sugar. Sugar is directly related to cellulite and a host of other problems. I do unique yoga postures that help to eliminate cellulite and increase fat burning. My training is four days a week, and I combine my in-home workout routine called My Bikini Butt (bikinibutt.com) with weights and limited cardio. The workouts are body weight only, and that gets the cardio and lower body work in at the same time.