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Women in Sports

The Flexible Chef on Why Wellness Requires Foundation and Flexibility

In a world filled with fads and questionable medical advice, finding the right healthy diet and lifestyle for you can be tricky.

Nealy Fischer, a.k.a. The Flexible Chef, wants to take the guesswork out of that look-and-feel-good formula. On her blog and in her new book, “Food That You Want for the Life You Crave,” she preaches flexibility, individuality, and inclusivity (meaning: yes, dessert is allowed, too).

“I launched The Flexible Chef in 2015 after nearly two decades of teaching fitness classes, crafting creative cooking demos, and leading various wellness retreats,” said Fischer, a mom of four. “It started with a blog where I shared recipes, fitness tips, parenting thoughts, and other healthy lifestyle inspirations.”

Today, her brand counts nearly 40,700 followers on Instagram, 33,000 on Facebook followers, and 5,000 on Pinterest.

Developing a flexible approach

Fischer’s personal wellness journey involved taking a yoga class for the first time about 18 years ago. That experience, she said, “would change my whole outlook on life.”

Fischer described how she was eager not just to touch her toes like her fellow yogis, but also to achieve more complex poses that her classmates twisted into so easily. Those feats, she explained, taught her key lessons.

“I was eager to nail arm balances and handstands, but that stuff wouldn’t come until I understood and mastered the basics. Once you do, yoga helps both the mind and the body become flexible and strong,” she said. “Poses like inversions and backbends help with posture and inner confidence, and forward bends and twists are healing and quieting. Plus, quiet time you spend on your mat looking inward is the perfect opportunity to reflect and grow.”

So it may not come as a surprise that the very ethos of her brand also stems from an experience on her yoga mat, where she finally accomplished one of those more complex moves, the headstand, which is now her favorite yoga pose.

“While teaching my students how to bend, I began to realize strength is the foundation of flexibility. We first have to be skilled in the rules in order to veer off course and play. The same principles apply to food,” Fischer said. “Once you understand the fundamental elements of what makes a dish work, or how certain foods make your body feel, you can play around and figure out what works best for you.”

Empowering her audience

That same philosophy of knowing the basics and rejecting a one-size-fits-all approach guides Fischer’s teachings today.

Her new 300-page cookbook is packed with tips for hacking your lifestyle and adopting flexibility. To complete it, Fischer had to hone in on her message and test numerous recipes, often well before sunrise.

“I still continue to push my limits and find new ways to share my flexible method,” Fischer said. “Plus, with four maturing kids at home, I’m always kept on my toes!”

In Fischer’s opinion, a resistance to perfectionism is also a key component in achieving wellness. In life and business, counterbalancing your priorities and what’s important to you in the now is critical for happiness, she emphasized.

“Here’s a great example: I recently spent three weeks traveling across the U.S. for my ‘Food You Want’ book tour. That was time I spent away from my husband and four kids, and focused solely on my career,” Fischer said. “So, as soon as I got home, I immediately shut off emails and took my bunch to the beach. That whole next week I went into full mom-mode.”

The lesson? “Always get clear and realistic about what you can accomplish,” she said. “Stay focused on your priorities and create a life of excellence that brings you fulfillment.”

Melinda Carter, [email protected]

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