Tell us about yourself! Who are you, what’s your official ‘title’ if you have one, and fill us in on what you’re currently doing professionally.
My name is Abby Mallard and I am a nutrition and food relationship coach! I am a lover of all things sunshine, beach, music, dancing, and tacos! I currently run my own business, Health, My Friend, work part time at a local yoga studio, and partner as a coach with Cadre! Helping others build healthy relationships with food, exercise, and themselves and also achieve health goals in a HEALTHY way is my greatest passion! I am so honored and grateful and blessed to be able to do it on a daily basis.
What inspired you to get into the field you’re in?
I struggled a LOT when I was younger with an eating disorder, zero self-confidence, and depression. Food and exercise were really hard for me. I hated myself, my body, my life, and felt very suffocated. I am very grateful for the healing I found and now it is my life’s mission to help other people who struggle with those same things. I never want someone to feel alone in it all like I did.
What’s your personal definition of health and wellness?
I mean, I feel like my definition of health and wellness could be a whole damn essay. But what it really boils down to for me is having healthy relationships with those three components: food, exercise, and yourself. Loving and enjoying your food but also eating to fuel your body and eating foods that make your body feel strong. Enjoying exercise and finding movement that makes you feel good mentally and physically. Being aware of your mental and physical body and taking care of it well. Loving yourself and focusing on health because you love yourself, not because you hate yourself. And I think it all comes down to small, simple, SUSTAINABLE habits and not over-obsessing.
What are some of the most effective strategies you recommend for achieving and maintaining good health and wellness as it relates to your specialty?
I think the most effective strategy that I work on with my clients is starting small. Small habits make the BIGGEST difference, and when we can add on small, sustainable habits and continue to add on small, sustainable habits, that is what’s going to create those big changes. And another BIG part of achieving and maintaining good health and wellness is working on how you talk to yourself, being aware of the little voice in the back of your head, and loving yourself well. We can be in really good physical health and STILL struggle with mental health and with loving ourselves and being proud of ourselves, so making sure that we’re working through those unhealthy beliefs and patterns and voices is SO important.
What motivates you? Any tips/routines you want to share with us?
Seeing clients make progress and start to love themselves a little more makes me SO happy and motivates me to keep doing this beautiful, hard, important, fulfilling work. Having small things to look forward to or planned days completely off from all work or date days/nights with my husband all motivate me/help keep me balanced while working hard.
I think routines are so important! And I think they’re really easy to build when you use the small habits and habit stacking method: add one small habit for 2-3 weeks, let it become natural, and then add another habit on top of that, do both for 2-3 weeks, and so on.
I have a really good morning routine that I’ve built up over time that helps me start the day really well. I get up, drink a glass of water, do skincare/makeup for the day if I have meetings, brush my teeth, go out to the kitchen and make a shake for breakfast, make pre-workout (instead of coffee), sit down at the table or outside if it’s sunny and journal (affirmations, gratitude, random thoughts), do a meditation, and then start my day. This helps me SO much with starting the day with myself rather than the world.
SIDE NOTE: this doesn’t ALWAYS happen. I am not perfect – but that’s my go-to routine.
Can you tell us about a time when you overcame a health/wellness challenge or obstacle, and what you learned from that experience?
I can think of so many. Struggling with bulimia from the age of 13-20 was probably my BIGGEST health/wellness challenge. I am so so grateful to be healed from that struggle and to be able to help others now. I think one of the biggest things I learned from that is that it’s OKAY to set boundaries and create space and a life for yourself that is healthiest for you. Obviously that’s hard as a teenager/kid in your own home sometimes, but when you have the resources and the legal ability, it’s OKAY to re-create your life. It taught me that there is hope and healing available, even when you feel like you’ll never make it through. And it also taught me that there is SO much beauty and peace and confidence that can be found with food, exercise, and your body.
What are some of your favorite resources, such as books, podcasts, etc.?
I love reading and listening to podcasts!! I actually host a podcast: Health, My Friend and I am a huge fan of anything by Brene Brown, Glennon Doyle, Mel Robbins, and Gabby Bernstein (books or podcasts!). The book “Good Enough” by Dr. Becky Kennedy was also really healing for me. If anyone wants a list of good books though, I have SO many more!
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting on their health and wellness journey?
When you’re just starting out—and even when you’re in the middle of it—it’s SO important to start small. Implement small habits and just start! You’re never going to feel completely ready or on top of it, but that’s okay. Get some type of support/accountability, implement the small things, and have a lot of grace for yourself! Also count the SMALLEST wins!
Can you tell us about a health, wellness, or even personal goal you have for the future? Tell us about all 3 if you’d like!
Health: continue to work on my gut health and listen to my body/do what feels best for it. I’m really focusing on mixing up my training and foods and trying to go with the flow.
Wellness: continue to work on my mental health. I struggle with anxiety and some days it’s better than others. I am trying to make yoga, breathwork, time in nature, and meditation priorities for me – even when life is busy!
What else should the world know about you?
I’m married to my amazing husband and best friend and we love all things beach and sports! We’re in Charlotte, NC after relocating from Louisiana last year. We don’t have any kids or pets, but we keep talking about getting a dog 🙂
One last thing… I keep it real! If you follow me or work with me you’ll find that I try really hard to share the good, the bad, and everything in between. I am a coach and I love my work and I am ALSO a work in progress and on the journey with you. None of us are perfect, and I want to always show the progress and the struggle.
Where can people follow you?
You can find me on Instagram @healthmyfriend, my podcast @Health, My Friend on Apple, Spotify, Facebook, etc. at Abby Mallard (Horst), and my business website @www.healthmyfriend.com. I would love to connect with you!