Simplifying Wellness: Amanda Wilson

By: Anna Whitehead

“I loved being your nurse, but I never want to see you again (as a patient).”

It wasn’t until Amanda Wilson, founder of Amanda Wilson Wellness, became a cardiac nurse that she realized lifestyle is one of the biggest contributing factors to a person’s long term health and wellness - and the key to doing that is eating well and staying active. Amanda knew that the approach to wellness could be simplified - and so could her mindset.

“I realized that I am the steward of my body, I get to take care of it, and my body does so much for me and was created in an incredible way. And if I steward my body well, I will feel better from the inside out, and therefore, be able to show up better in all areas of my life,” Wilson said.

Another shift came when she began staying home after the birth of her first son. Amanda was inspired to share easy, yet nutritious and fueling meals with her Instagram audience. In order to avoid overloading family and friends, she took a chance and created a separate account to post meals and workouts there.

Amanda started posting a little over five years ago with the goal and intention of sharing how wellness can be simplified, stewarded well, and to help others find freedom and joy in their wellness journey. Since then, she has amassed over 14,000 followers on Instagram and authored wellness workout plans, food preparation guides and kid’s lunch box plans.

“I love using this space to equip and encourage others to steward their wellness journey in a sustainable way with intention and joy while navigating each season of life… I find a lot of joy and celebrate in seeing how others’ approach to wellness has simplified and transformed through the years,” she said.

Photo Courtesy of @awilsonwellness on Instagram

A recent study by Wallethub ranked Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers No. 15 for most obese/overweight adults per capita in the US. The Little Rock-NLR area placed 4th. The study also ranked cities based upon their access to healthy food and fitness resources, in which both Arkansas cities ranked poorly. Does this surprise you at all?

It’s sad to see that statistic, but not out of shame or judgement to anyone at all, but to the lack of education and access to healthy food and fitness resources across the board. Unfortunately, that’s due to the way our country has changed the way food is produced, provided, and over time has changed the mindset toward food in general.

The general approach to food is to eat what’s convenient, tastes good, and fulfill a hunger desire, without thought to the fact that food does something inside your body once consumed other than just make you full.

Education and simplifying the approach to the fact that it comes down to real food and movement, I believe, can transform that statistic as people feel empowered as stewards of their body. Unfortunately, it’s so hard to do when you have millions of messages from unrealistic diets, methods of eating, and a list of do’s and don’ts that are constantly at conflict.

Sadly too, access to real foods can be scarce for many, whether that’s due to a financial situation or actual access to a store with fresh food. There are places called “food deserts”, which categorizes a place that has very limited access to healthy or nutritious food. This should not be the case.

Photo Courtesy of @awilsonwellness on Instagram

Even so, Amanda believes the future of Northwest Arkansas is bright.

"I think NWA is really growing in resources and opportunities to support and equip the individual in a healthy lifestyle, and I am pumped about it! We have endless trails, new wellness clinics, restaurants using real food ingredients, and incredible options for all types of movement,” she said.

On a sunny spring day, Amanda hits the local trails to get moving. “Not only is it a great workout, but being outdoors truly has an effect on our mental health and mood. There is incredible science behind it. Getting outdoors is a beautiful way to steward your total body well - physically, mentally, and emotionally,” she said.

And she’s right - a 2018 study published by Harvard Medical School found that research in a growing scientific field called "ecotherapy" has shown a strong connection between time spent in nature and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. -Harvard Health Publishing

Photo Courtesy of @awilsonwellness on Instagram

Do you have any helpful tips or advice for those seeking a healthier lifestyle?

  1. Simplify your efforts and focus on one change at a time. The latter can be a slightly painful part of the process, because we all want transformation right away, but it will result in sustainable and attainable results.
  2. Before you dive into a specific way of eating, I encourage you to just focus on learning to prepare and cook real food. Find things that you enjoy and focus on real, whole ingredients as much as possible! We want to establish a healthy relationship with nourishing our body and not let our foundation be dependent on specific restrictions. We want to feel empowered and enjoyment in fueling our bodies well in order for it to be sustainable.
  3. When it comes to working out, shift your focus to just moving your body in some way. I think sometimes our idea of working out takes the mold of a certain standard because someone else did it. Let go of standards for a minute and just move. Be willing to learn and try new things to find what you enjoy and what works for your season of life! Look at movement as a celebration of your body and not a punishment.

Photo Courtesy of @awilsonwellness on Instagram

Currently, Amanda is dreaming of future wellness workshops, working full time as an RN and mom of two boys, all the while creating in her platform.

“I am really thankful for any connections that come through @awilsonwellness and find joy in showing others how we can simplify our individual wellness journey… I am being more intentional to make sure to create margin and to be present in my personal life, so I will continue to filter any future plans or opportunities through that,” Wilson said.

Photo Courtesy of @awilsonwellness on Instagram

Amanda’s NWA Favorites:

More indulgent favorites:

Any studios or workouts you love in the area?

I enjoy regularly working out at Fitness One, but I love trying out different classes when I can. The next time they make it available, everyone needs to go do Goat Yoga! This fall, I did yoga outside, fed goats, and drank beer. I mean, come on, what a hoot!

Float Yoga with Cocoon Yoga Lab is so fun! When the weather warms up, make sure to sign up. I’ll definitely be doing it again.

I am looking forward to trying out some classes soon from Spoon Moon — they have such a cool variety of classes!

Best place to relax?

Catch me at the farmers market in the morning and a patio dinner in the evening! Two of my favorite ways to enjoy the warm weather weekends. Another favorite — live music! Thankful NWA has provided more and more events in the past. Looking forward to seeing that happening again as places and events can more safely open back up.

Keep up with Amanda on Instagram. Visit her website and shop products HERE.

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