Nacho I Wanna Be Libre

How to fail at being at fitness model, and succeed at life.



Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was at my favourite pub.

I was allowing myself the one vodka soda that fit in the pre-photo shoot calorie budget. My husband, Evan, was drinking beer. I really wanted a beer. I looked around at everyone in the place. Looked at them laughing, drinking, eating.

Eating nachos.

And I felt hate.

Like deep, seething hate.

Hate at every asshole in there who didn't give a shit what went in their mouths. These messed up people felt want, so they had what they wanted.

I wanted nachos. I wanted to be 12% body fat for my photo shoot. I wanted to take Evan's beer bottle, smash it, and stab everyone in the room.

The depth of this feeling was terrifying – so much hate. It got me thinking about my career choices, my life choices.

I guess I realized I was sick of the fitness industry BS. The smiles, the boobs, the hot CrossFit chicks in knee socks, the "clean eating or die" pulpit most fitness people live and die on. I was sick of my all or nothing approach.

Everything I ate or drank had 'dire' physique consequences. I HAD to sleep enough, HAD to train enough, HAD to eat x amount of carb/protein/fat, but for what?

Two Months Post Nacho Rage the Lesson Was Clear

My fitness shoot footage came back. I thought I looked terrible. Yet another 60 straight days of denial, training, stress, repeat and then fork out for a spray tan to feel terrible?

That isn't the definition of crazy, it's just plain stupid.

To the average person I probably looked super human in those shots, but I felt super fat, demoralized and ready to lie down and die in a pile of brownies. Evan, bless his patient heart, pulled me out before the baked goods spiral could commence. But here I was back on my feet and back at food-based denial. So good at saying "HELL NO".

Giving my all left me with zilch. I had become cardboard.

With this reality, my life came to a crossroads:

Door Number 1: Achieve 12% body fat some of the time after 2 months of walking on dietary/training eggshells and wanting to murder a bar full of people with a makeshift beer bottle shiv.

OR

Door Number 2: Maintain 18% body fat all of the time after some hard core training (which I love), eating the combinations foods that work for me (whether they have a marketing group or not), occasionally drinking too much with friends, baking at Christmas (and not just giving it to other people to get fat on) and having the free licence to NOT sink into a pit of loathing and despair at the ingestion of something on the fitness model 'no fly' list.

So which door did I choose?

I Hid Behind Door Number 3

I wasn’t ready for the self acceptance that would lead to Door Number 2, so I walked away from fitness and health completely. In an attempt to not live in the fitness industry chains of all or nothing, I did the ironic thing and opted for a different nothing.

I went back to the creative communications industry, barely worked out, felt stress 24/7 and parked my butt at a desk 8 to 10 hours a day with the same result: total misery.

The worst part was my body started to fall apart. I had a hip injury out of nowhere. Like a bad one. Hip flexor strain from sitting! Jesus H Christ more irony… Not to mention no energy and no desire to do anything but stress eat in front of the fridge between work nightmares.

But that wasn’t enough of a wake up call – I needed stronger stuff. The universe had other plans.

As Luck Would Have It, I Got in A Car Accident.

Before you start picturing mangled steel and the jaws of life, it was definitely not that dramatic. It isn’t even a good story. Through a serious stroke of rotten luck, I ended up getting whiplash as a passenger. I was immobilized from the waist up and looking left was not in my skill set.

I was so freakin’ angry with nowhere physical to channel that rage.

I wallowed for a bit that’s for damn sure. Deep depression came right on queue. I was robbed of my love of movement. Sure I’d scorned that love, but how dare this unfair world take away former nobody fitness model Heather Mounsey’s ability to do push ups?

Every day I worked in constant, burning pain, was afraid to sneeze and slept really badly. I felt like a super gross blob monster from Planet Fat-dromda 9 and the sleep-deprived voices in my head told me I deserved it.

It took months to be able to perform a bodyweight squat without feeling a shock through my neck, and that pissed me off so much I wanted to wrap my truck around a telephone pole instead of facing another of day of sitting in pain at my ‘career’ job.

It wasn’t until I told off my Worker’s Comp adjuster at her suggestion I settle for ‘pain management’ via prescription drugs that I decided to fight back. I was really worried people were taking that advice. That’s the shittiest rehab advice in history – you’ll never heal if you don’t move.

AltFit Is How We All Get Behind Door Number 2

The moral of this story is not that I ran back to regimented health with open arms. I'm not going to bullshit you in to thinking I do everything perfectly. I sure don't.

You'll find fitness industry people who tell you they love eating clean more than life itself and that they only workout 15min a day to be shredded. I’m not buying it. Everyone loves dirty pizza at 2am. Everyone. The fitness industry is a business machine that churns out new content, products and studies so you feel fat and afraid. They tirelessly tell you you’re not doing enough or taking the right thing. I've fallen for ALL of it, but you don't have to.

To not end up obese, diabetic, tumourus and dead, you do have to make good food and exercise choices a solid 75% of the time. But since you could get hit by a bus tomorrow, don't waste your life in a rigid game of mental anguish and constantly falling off the waggon. The real moral is that you never have to fall off the wagon if the road you're travelling on isn't a roller coaster track littered with nails.

I created AltFit to show people you can live your life, still be super cut and tremendously healthy without turning into a devout clean eating, training zombie who brings chicken breasts to dinner parties in case there isn’t enough protein. Trust me, you’ll be just as miserable at 16% body fat as you were at 30% if your motivation comes from a dark place.

What I finally appreciate as a sweet body that moves without pain is a huge source of pride for me, but I do not sweat the small stuff anymore. This doesn't mean I binge eat on Doritos whenever I feel like it. It means sometimes instead of that HITT cardio session I had planned, I go for a walk with my husband. I eat buttered popcorn at the movies because I want to and I have the balls to enjoy it.

The healthy food you put in your mouth and the time you dedicate to intense movement will change your whole life for the way better – I firmly believe this. But I also know the world’s best diet and exercise plan is one you’ll stick to over the long term. I want to help everyone find balance and flexibility so they can experience life as it happens without huge swings of guilt, anxiety and failure. And that's as motivational poster as I get.

If that’s cool and you want to hang out with a flock of fitness black sheep, then I just might have something relevant to your interests.

Never has one plate of nachos inspired so much.

Muchas gracias,

Heather