This feature is a little different from the other interviews I have done. It’s about beauty – but not the physical aspect of it – it goes much deeper than that. Here is my interview with Cathy Algaba, Health Coach and founder of Modern Human Experience.
Health Coach and Founder | Modern Human Experience (MHE)
You studied and received your certification as a Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). Tell us a little about what your studies covered.
I had first heard of IIN through Sahara Rose’s podcast, she was offering a promotion for the program. I remember thinking how cool it would be to become a health coach, and to have the opportunity to help others lead a more happy and holistic life. After contemplating if I should take the plunge, I decided to do the 1 year program. I’m happy to share that I officially graduated in March 2021!
I learned so many things, but the most important takeaway was realizing that we are all bio individuals. We are all different in the sense that what works for me (diet, exercise routines, etc), won’t necessarily work for you. And that’s where health coaches play such a special role in improving another person’s life. We look at all areas when working with a client: relationships, exercise, career, spirituality, and so much more. Life isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of deal, we take the time to understand who the person is and what they are struggling with in order to help them succeed in fostering better health.
The beauty and fashion industry have long been guilty of pushing unrealistic beauty standards on women. Now with social media, the problem has been exasperated – beauty has become almost an illusion.
Do you believe that this has had an impact on physical and mental health?
I think that social media can either be a very empowering tool, or it can be detrimental to mental health. The same goes for physical health. I think physical health is so important for grounding yourself, enhancing endorphins, and clearing your mind, but I also believe that your “why” for exercising is important.
I’ve noticed lately that influencers are exposing the truth about beauty — we don’t all walk around with perfectly smooth faces and rock hard, defined abs. Debunking the myth of always having exposed abs (especially for women) is so groundbreaking and positive. For a long time I would over-exercise to look like these women with perfect abs, but the truth is that our bodies fluctuate and change all the time. Now, I workout to feel good, not to look good.
I believe that healthy habits are not just about what you eat – it’s also about relationships – how you treat others and allow yourself to be treated. How would you describe a health journey?
My health journey is an on-going process. I used to have a very unhealthy and self-destructive lifestyle. I wasn’t feeling good about myself and I would numb out by drinking, partying and eating processed foods. And because I had such a destructive lifestyle, I developed relationships of the same calibre. A healthy journey usually starts when things are going very wrong. Sometimes we need to hit rock bottom in order to make a change in our lives. Health journeys are never-ending, but they keep getting better and better the more you work at improving yourself.
BEING CONNECTED WITH YOUR TRUE SELF, LETTING GO OF SELF-LIMITING BELIEFS AND DISCOVERING WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU IS THE FIRST STEP INTO MANIFESTING YOUR DREAM LIFE INTO REALITY. [MHE]
Tell us a little bit about the MHE program you offer and what it entails.
My 6-month program specializes in helping women establish a healthy relationship with food and body image, in order to live a happy and sustainable life. Through my own recovery with disordered eating and over-exercising, I was able to shed light on the damaging effects of social media and the importance of loving yourself beyond what meets the eye. I meet with clients twice a month where we discuss their goals and together, curate an actionable plan to ensure their success. I don’t have a hard-set plan for every client, as we are all bio individuals. Every plan is customized for the client.
SELF-LIMITING BELIEFS ACT AS ROAD-BLOCKS THAT HINDER OUR ABILITY TO ACHIEVE OUR GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS — OUR DREAM LIFE. [MHE]
I have always hated ‘labels’ I think it puts people into a box – and that is never a good thing. Is mindset a big component of having a healthy lifestyle?
Mindset and awareness is everything! Everything begins in the mind, and it’s usually from our subconscious mind. Our subconscious mind is formed between the ages of 0-7 and influences the relationships and behaviour we have as adults. It’s so important to become aware of where we need to change our “mind” and improve our life choices. If you believe that you aren’t worthy of happiness, guess what? You are probably not going to treat yourself with a lot of kindness. This will also influence your food choices and how much others respect you. It all starts with your mind and becoming aware of the story looping on replay.
You said at one point in your life, you lost your identity. I think that this is more common than people think – some are willing to admit it, while others tend to bury it away. Do you think that self-realization is the biggest step to changing your life?
Awareness/self-realization is the first step. How can you fix something that you are not aware of? For me, it took hitting a rock-bottom to realize that I needed to change my Self. I never realized that because I treated myself with little respect, I was attracting people who would treat me the same. They were mirroring back to me where I needed to re-align myself. I’m a huge advocate for healthy relationships. Once you start spending time with people who love themselves, you quickly learn how you’ve neglected your own well-being. It’s a big motivator.
I have never been a huge fan of meat so about six years ago I adopted a vegetarian lifestyle (I eat fish on occasion as well). There are huge misconceptions about vegetarianism – that it is difficult, limiting and boring. Nothing can be further from the truth.
I have always been drawn to the Mediterranean, Latin and Middle Eastern diets. Food for me now is about nourishment and taste – so when I cook – I am very conscious of what ingredients I use and how I prepare my meals. It’s kind of food for thought.
How has your approach to food changed over the years?
I used to eat to look a certain way, but now I eat to feel a certain way. I eat foods that allow me to feel energized and vibrant. I believe that we are all bio individuals and that one person’s food can be another person’s poison. Some people thrive off of a vegan diet, others swear by keto. It takes a lot of self-awareness and listening to your body and intuition to really make an informed decision on how to eat. Personally, I love eating organic, grass-fed, wild-caught meat/fish. I believe in regenerative farming and keeping our oceans and soil clean. Quality and animal welfare means everything to me.
Do you think women find it more difficult to be compassionate to themselves than others?
Unfortunately, I do. I think that the media has influenced women to believe that they need to look a certain way in order to be beautiful. But, social media has taken a turn and people are sharing the truth about being human. We have our good days and our bad days. And sharing the bad shows that you never know what someone is going through. It allows us to have more compassion for others and to see that we are all part of the same society.
We need to be kind to one another.
What is your definition of beauty?
My definition of beauty has nothing to do with facial features, body-type, clothes etc.
Beauty to me means embracing who you are entirely, and loving yourself for it.
It means working through the “ugly” parts: the trauma, the self-limiting beliefs, and the low-self worth in order to come out as a radiant woman/man. Kindness goes a long way, and it starts from within. You need to love and appreciate yourself in order to treat others the same. A beautiful person to me is someone who is respectful, kind, loving, warm and supportive.
How would you describe your personal style?
I love fashion! It’s always been a passion of mine and a way of self-expression. These days you can catch me in athleisure wear, but when I’m out I love to wear unique, high-quality pieces. Comfort is #1!
I’m a little obsessed with skincare. Do you have a skincare routine you follow?
I love skincare! It’s so important to me. Lately I’ve upped by skincare game and have opted for clean beauty products. I love using an oil cleanse, followed by a BHA face wash (my nose has always been such a problem area, so BHA really helps with the textured skin!), then I use hyaluronic acid to maintain supple skin, vitamin c serum for brightening, eye serum/cream and then moisturizer. Keeping your skin hydrated and away from harsh chemicals is very anti-aging.
What is your favorite way to destress and pamper yourself?
Journaling in the morning has been life-changing for me. It helps me keep a clear mind and I actually come up with so many brilliant ideas. I love doing a body scrub, followed by body oil. Doing a hair treatment to maintain my curls hydrated and taking time to do a full skincare routine keeps me on a high vibe!
Finally, what three words would you pick to describe yourself?
Supportive, beautiful, and intuitive.