Healthier Living With Chelsea Williams

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Being an advocate for wellness and healthier living, Chelsea Williams was rightfully one of the first people that I sought out to be featured in this issue. Chelsea is a health communications associate and plant-based wellness blogger based in the Washington, DC area. Struggling most of her life with Graves Disease, transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle is how Chelsea has successfully been able to balance and maintain her health while dealing with her medical condition. If she isn't inspiring us through her post on her Twitter and Instagram feed, she's inspiring us on shows such as Good Morning Washington and News One Now. I hope that you're just as inspired by Chelsea's story as well all are. 

How important is it for you to use your platform to inspire others to make healthier living choices?

Inspiring others to make healthier choices is the core mission of my blog. I do share fun things from time to time, but my goal is to help make healthy living a little easier for all.

Was being diagnosed with Graves Disease and Hypothyroidism the driving force behind your lifestyle change or were there other factors?

In addition to my own health issues, I wanted to be a positive example for someone else that I didn’t have at a time when I was ready to make a change. I started my blog because I felt like it was important that we share our stories. There's someone out there that needs this information and from specifically from someone who looks like me. I want to help break the cycle of disease in my family and in our community. 

What has been the most difficult obstacle when it comes to your health? 

The most difficult obstacle has been maintaining balance throughout the ups and downs of life. Readjusting my routing to ensure that I feel the best I possibly can in any situation. 

So, you have a day job in health philanthropy, you blog about your personal health/life journey, you're making public appearances 24/7, does it get hard to manage your time?

Juggling my time can definitely be challenging. However, my employer is very flexible. When I first interviewed for the role, I was transparent. I told them I was a blogger. If I need to travel or do a TV segment, they are totally supportive as long as the work gets done. I make sure that I instill trust in them by staying focused so I can do both. 

Do you feel like your daily schedule helps you to be more responsible and accountable? 

Yes, I do feel like a schedule helps me to be more responsible and accountable. However, my readers also keep me even more accountable. They want health tips and new information on a regular basis. If I don’t post for too long, they check-in on me and ask about my whereabouts.  

I remember you tweeting once about the importance of doing the work, staying in your lane, not focusing on popularity etc. How important is it to you to follow this advice on your own journey? 

It is so important for me to remain authentic. You quickly lose credibility when your readers know you are not staying true to your values. I can’t imagine that putting up a front is comfortable for anyone. 

Do you ever feel pressured to be a certain way 24/7 for your online audience? 

In some instances I do feel pressured to consistently publish new content. However, as far as my personality, I feel no pressure to be a certain way. I’m always myself, especially in my Insta-stories. It’s too draining to be any other way. 

What does self-care mean to you and what does your self-care routine look like? 

Self-care to me is more than a green smoothie. It’s knowing when to stop overthinking.
We can’t be everywhere or everything to everybody. It’s saying, “No” to anything that’s too much for me to handle and leave the guilt behind. I used to be a people pleaser. I never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings. I realized I was sacrificing my own health. I was moody and cranky because I was always saying yes to things I didn’t really want to do. My mental health and wellness are now at the forefront of my self-care. 

Are you as committed to using non-toxic beauty products as you are to eating clean? Do you feel the two are equally important?

I am more committed to clean eating than non-toxic beauty products. Nutrient-dense is my fuel. Makeup and beauty products are just accessories. Although some brands are making a legitimate effort to expand their color range, the reality is, options for black women and people of color are still limited. Whether it’s the wrong undertone in a foundation, high price points or just a failure to see myself in a brand’s marketing, I can’t always use the absolute cleanest or safest options that this community has to offer. I’m not a purist.

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Who are some of your favorite bloggers or influencers that keep you inspired daily? 

Lalah Delia of Vibrate Higher Daily reminds me often, to recenter myself. Melinda Alexander of Mumu Mansion is truly a breath of fresh air. Her story of how she battled depression and is still healing and rising through it all is oh so familiar. Lauren Von Der Pool from Queen of Green creates the most beautiful plant-based plates and she is, even more, fun in person. She inspires me more than she will ever know. Heather Lindsey gives me a daily source of spiritual inspiration. 

Do you feel like as women we have a tendency to disregard our health and assume everything is okay until it's too late?

I do think that there are instances when we forget our own needs because we are taking care of everyone else. However, I do think when we make our minds to do something, that we can accomplish anything. I have to consistently remind myself that if I don’t feel my best, I can’t serve others to the best of my abilities.   

What advice do you have for others looking to transition to a plant-based diet or just live better and healthier life overall?

Don’t tell anyone at first. There’s a lot of nay-sayers and plant-based isn’t mainstream yet. When I was transitioning I told my family and they were excited, but I also heard things like “you don’t know anything about nutrition," which made me get my nutrition degree. Keep it to yourself. When you feel you can stand somewhat firmly on your own two feet, share with other people.

What do you hope to instill in others as you continue on your path in life?

My hope is that others will see my story and be inspired to a healthier lifestyle no matter where they may be in their wellness journey. 

Many can say you've accomplished a lot and have a great level of success, but how do you define success?

I still am in awe when people say that I have achieved a great level of success. I’ve been blogging for just under 2 years. While I am humbled by this viewpoint, I still feel like a newbie. I have a lot to learn.  Success to me is fulfilling my purpose and being able to do what I love for a living while positively impacting as many lives as possible. 

What goals career, health and personal wise do you hope to achieve in the coming years?

I am currently studying becoming to become a board certified health coach at Duke University School of Medicine. I sit for board certification in June 2018. My long term goals are to open my own integrative health coaching practice and wellness space.

To keep up with Chelsea daily, connect with her online: thatschelsea.com Instagram.com/thatschelsea 

Amber Janae