"What does health mean to you?" is a question that can raise varied answers for people. For some health can mean feeling good, for others it can mean looking good.
This week, LetsGetChecked find out what health means to others to help you uncover what health means to you.
We are joined by Vanessa Grimaldi. Vanessa is an actress, founder of "No Better You", co-host on "Help! I Suck At Dating" and a former contestant on the hit U.S show "The Bachelor". Vanessa joined LetsGetChecked to share her secrets for staying healthy, and answering the ultimate question of what health means to her.
Who Is Vanessa Grimaldi?
Vanessa Grimaldi is known for her acting appearances in "Ascension", "Blue Mountain State" and "Being Human". Most recently, Vanessa was a contestant of the hit U.S TV Series "The Bachelor" where she was crowned as winner of the series.
Day to day, Vanessa is a special education teacher and is known for her work in founding No Better You which is a foundation that aims to advance education by providing specialized tools and programs for exceptional learners across Canada.
Vanessa is also a co-host on the podcast "Help! I Suck At Dating", which answers discusses matters of the heart through the voices of experts, psychics and celebrities.
Vanessa is known for managing to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle despite her multiple projects and this week she shares her hints and tips with LetsGetChecked.
What Does Health Mean To Vanessa Grimaldi?
What does your health mean to you?
When you think of health, you’re thinking about “how do I physically feel?" or "how do I physically look?" If I sit on the couch all day, I’m going to feel sluggish. If I go for a walk or jump around or dance I’m going to feel energetic.
I’m a big advocate for working out to feel good, to look and feel good. I love physical exercise but it’s also important to exercise your mental health. If people need to talk to a therapist, I totally encourage that. I first tried therapy out around the time of The Bachelor and I found it so helpful.
I also think it’s so important to keep highlighting how social media isn’t real. The apps out there used to alter your apperance shouldn’t be there anymore, it’s not real life. What is real is what you see in the mirror.
What you see in the mirror is what people will fall in love with, it’s the person that someone will want to go into business with or have as a friend.
What is it like to be a person of influence in the Instagram era?
I feel like for a person who is in the spotlight, there is a responsibility to be authentic.
Everyone is posting their best version of their lives online. I try really hard to be as authentic with my posts as I can. I focus on the importance of being yourself. That’s how “No Better You” came about, a charity that I founded for schools who don’t have the resources to focus on people living with autism. I chose that name because I wanted to highlight the importance of loving yourself.
What was being on "The Bachelor" like, when it came to your personal health and wellness?
It was hard on my self-esteem. When I’m really stressed out, I lose weight but the way people reacted to it was like "OMG you lost weight" as if it was a good thing.
I'm Italian, in italian culture, you’re believed to be attractive if you look healthy and are carrying a couple of extra pounds. I didn't like the way people turned me losing weight due to stress into a positive thing.
How did "No Better You" get started?
"No Better You" means just that. I really wanted to highlight the importance of loving yourself for exactly who you are. We raised $50K in the first year and $50K for the second year running with FearFactor. We gave back to schools that didn’t have the budget to help those that are living with autism.
It's something I'm really passionate about and I'm delighted to see it grow and develop.
How does your podcast act as an outlet for you?
The podcast is a form of therapy for me. It’s basically talking about what we go through and what we are dealing with when it comes to dating but in a format that other people can listen to and enjoy. We talk about our dating experiences and what the dating world is like now because it’s so different to how it used to be even 5 years ago.
We keep it real, recently we even had a conversation about freezing my eggs. I just turned 31 and I was wondering, "Do I need to think a certain way”? I have a responsibility to vocalize it for the people out there who might be thinking about it but aren't sure if they are making the right step.
Do you think there are a lot of health fads out there?
When I was living on the West Coast, I definitely noticed that there were a lot more different lifestyles out there. The West Coast mentality is extremely different to Montreal in Canada. The ability to go outdoors is always there because the weather is so nice and there are so many activities you can do.
Some of my favourite health moments include:
I really got into pilates when I was in California, I was also into circuits and Crossfit. Pilates is surprisingly hard but it’s so good. It elongates your muscles and strengthens your core.
I was in Bali in September and they have amazing food, it’s super healthy. It's so easy to be healthy over there so I went vegan for two months.
Today I have adapted vegetarianism and a gluten free lifestyle. I find that I have way more energy than I ever did before. In Italy, we genuinely eat pasta 3 times a day. In my opinion, it’s not the most healthy lifestyle.
I am really into celery juicing, I drink an entire stalk. It replaces my morning coffee and it has so many benefits.
I always carry water in my handbag because I am prone to headaches so I always want to stay hydrated.
What is your advice for someone who is trying to be the happiest and healthiest they can be?
My main advice is loving yourself. I didn’t truly know what that meant until I was in my 30s. Now I feel really good in my skin because I learned to adopt my mentality of loving myself.
Look in the mirror and highlight the things you love about yourself. If you have the space and time to do so, walk around the house naked and admire parts of your body that you do like. Get used to seeing yourself. Love every ounce of your body and brain.
Each day you go to bed with that person and each morning you wake up with that person and that person is you.
Are there any fitness apps or technologies that you swear by when it comes to knowing your fitness?
I’m more old school, I like to keep track of everything with a pen and paper. I don’t even have a calendar or memo on my phone. I do have a bit of anxiety in my day to day life so I enjoy being productive and knowing what is coming up for the month ahead.
I also think meal prep is important. I hate missing a meal, I like to buy and cook specific meals for each day. I like having my planner.
I do not own a weighing scales, I measure myself in a different way; “How do I feel in my clothes?”
I think it can become an unhealthy habit to know what you weight all the time, just like with social media, we can become fixated on quantifying ourselves through our number of likes or followers.
If we could eliminate the weighing scale and enjoy what we see in the mirror instead, we could radically change our lives.