Finding Balance: An Introduction

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Introducing “Finding Balance,” a new series that focuses on the achievement of creative balance among those with extremely demanding lifestyles…

This post comes to us from nutritionist and model, Courtney James.

I’m Courtney James (or as my mates call me, CJ), and my journey to wellness has been a passionate one. Specifically, it has been crucial in allowing me to live an energized life in the fashion industry.

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Perth, Western Australia. It was here where my parents raised me and guided me toward good health from a young age. Mum basically forbid me to eat sugar — anything processed — but, as a child, still I found ways to get my hands on the nastier stuff. Despite my good fortune,  learning about ‘gojis berries’ before what seems like the dawn of time, I easily fell sick, particularly with stomachaches, while also suffering from a constantly compromised immune system.

My primary school friends will vouch that I could catch the flu at the drop of a hat, and develop inexplicable stomachaches at sleepovers (from which I would often leave because I was experiencing so much pain). It began to inhibit my freedom and limited the activities I felt I could take part in with the others kids!

I was admitted to the hospital with chronic appendicitis at about 14 years old, my poor body pumped full of any antibiotic imaginable, in an effort to to save me from septicemia or blood poisoning. Yes, it was that serious!

A few years later I was admitted again, this time with glandular fever (or ‘mono’), and I realized this was my next huge wake-up call, the time to ensure my body was strong enough to withstand this world. As a highly sensitive individual, I wasn’t sure how I was going to stay fit and healthy for the impending travel and adventures that lay ahead.

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After living and studying in France after high school, I returned to Perth for university and soon signed with a local modelling agency, where work quickly began to flourish. To strengthen my immune system and combat the sicknesses I earlier experienced, I began taking spirulina, potent probiotics and high-quality fish oils while, at the same time, avoiding gluten.  When I traveled, I passionately and purposefully befriended local, organic cafes to fuel my body with nutrients and energy to to manage those endless castings and long shooting hours. I felt like a kid in a candy store in the local health food stores also (nothing has changed there!).

Along the way (and particularly when I was living in London), I shared my learnings with other models who suffered from inexplicable health ailments. Many girls, overwhelmed by the stress and demands of the industry, felt lost when it came to caring for both body and mind whilst traveling without routine. After two years in London and further wellness exploration, I moved to New York, and it was here that it really dawned on me — health and wellness were what motivated me at my core, every day, and I loved helping others realize this, too.

Studying at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition empowered me to become a health and wellness coach, and validated so much of what I had already learned. This course continues to affords me the opportunity to certifiably assist anyone in becoming a healthier and happier version of themselves!

Living in a city as fast paced as New York, I quickly understood the importance of ones’ emotional state and mindset via well-being and general quality of life. It’s easy to simply acknowledge the importance, but quite another to incorporate a powerful mindset and self care ritual into our daily lives. Wellness really IS holistic and, with my clients, I additionally incorporate modalities including aromatherapy, meditation and mindfulness.

I hope that you will join me on this continuing journey, sharing the tips and tricks that will ultimately help us to be happier and healthier in this often crazy but wonderful world we live in!

Love, light and Sunny CJ blessings!

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Photos by Justin Macala and Rudy Duboue.

Follow Courtney here and via Instagram.

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