Here’s the first of many interview-style blogs, showcasing individuals in our community who are doing good in their own lives and making a conscious effort to contribute to the lives of others. In sharing these feel-good conversations with you, I hope they inspire you (the way they have me) and show how eating good, feeling good and doing good can make a world of difference to you, as well as the world around you.
To kick off, I’m showcasing the life of Turia Pitt (a fellow Aussie and Bounce Ambassador) whose personal strength and inspiring attitude to life has seen her turn a major setback into something good.
Here’s a little bit about Turia (for those of you who may not be familiar with her story). Back in 2011, whilst competing in a 100km ultra marathon in outback Western Australia, Turia was trapped in a bush fire and suffered life-threatening burns to 64% of her body. After several painful surgeries and skin grafts, she defied the odds with her incredible physical and emotional recovery. After such a devastating setback, she bounced back with fierce determination and a renewed sense of purpose; her spirit untouched by the flames.
Turia has since taken on and completed a number of intense physical challenges – cycling to Uluru, taking part in a long distance swim across Lake Argyle (Western Australia) and walking a section of the Great Wall of China (to name a few), all the while fundraising for those less fortunate than herself. Her next big goal is to complete an Iron Man event next year. Oh, and I forgot to mention that she does motivational speaking at schools on the topic of body image.
I could go on and on about how inspiring and courageous Turia is…but the words wouldn’t do her justice. She tends to shrug them off anyway. She doesn’t think she’s any more or less inspiring than anyone else. She’s as down to earth as they come…as far as she’s concerned she’s just making the most out of life.
Turia’s approach to life and her humility are equally endearing. She would be just as happy to talk about what’s going on in my life as chat about her own. I did, however, pin her down to ask some questions about how she eats good, what makes her feel good and how she’s doing good in her own life and the lives of others.
What does the term ‘eat good’ mean to you?
Eating fresh whole foods – eating REAL food. Very basic, a bit boring… but it works.
Do you follow any particular food philosophy?
Eating everything and anything? No, I’m joking! I don’t follow one particular philosophy or diet (like the paleo diet, cave man diet, 80/20 diet etc.) because I find a lot of diets are restrictive in some aspect, with not much scientific backing. I prefer to eat healthy, fresh and real foods – pretty simple really.
You have always been active and continue to physically challenge yourself, fundraising for many good causes. How do you stay energised?
I see ‘energy’ as being made of three equal parts – being focused in your mind, eating well and being physically active. I try and get up early (5:30) and use this time in the morning as time for me, and as time to work on projects which I feel are beneficial to my life. As the day goes on it’s so easy to get caught up in everything – like emails, meetings and phone calls. By using the morning as ‘me time’ I’m able to stay focused throughout the day. Nutrition wise, I eat real foods and I make a green smoothie in the morning (which has everything from almonds to avocadoes) and sip on this throughout the day. Staying physically active is just as important as the first two – I’ve always got more energy whenever I exercise and it always helps to clear my mind.
What makes you feel good?
Surrounding myself with positive and like-minded people. Negativity is contagious – I don’t pursue relationships with people who have a negative mindset – life’s far too short to waste my time.
How do you stay fit and healthy?
You know what, I love exercise but sometimes it can be a challenge to drag myself out of bed. Being organised, scheduling the week and planning workouts are crucial to maintaining my fitness: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
As part of my job, I’m required to do a lot of travel, which can wreak havoc on my routine. Again, staying organised is the key – I always travel with my joggers, my gym gear, my swimmers, my goggles and healthy snacks – like Bounce balls and nuts.
How would you describe your attitude to life? How does this support you?
We only get one shot at life – just one! I want to live it to the fullest, I want to make the most of it and I don’t want to be on my deathbed wishing I could have done more, or seen more or lived more. Life is the craziest experience we’ll ever get, and I’m so lucky because I’ve been given another shot at it.
You have overcome many challenges in your own life – what helped you rise above them?
Honestly, I’m not sure. There’s an extraordinary Aussie bloke who I found incredibly inspiring. Sam Bailey is an absolute legend! He had a motor vehicle accident in his early twenties and was left a quadriplegic. Now he is not only a farmer but also a motivational speaker and will be the first quadriplegic in the world to fly a helicopter.
What’s your mantra?
I have a mantra, which I say over and over on my bad days: “I may feel bad today, but I won’t always feel this way.” Say it enough times, and the message sinks in!
You support many good causes – tell us about them.
One of the causes that I’m really passionate about is Interplast. This charity provides free reconstructive surgery to people in developing countries, so they can perform surgery on people with cleft palate, women who are victims of an acid attack or even other burn survivors. My plastic surgeon also volunteers for Interplast on an annual basis, so I’m sure you can understand why I’m so passionate about the cause! This year I took on the Great Wall of China with a team of extraordinary women and we managed to raise close to $200,000 for this amazing cause. Next year, we’ll be taking on the Inca Trail and we hope to raise even more money for Interplast!
What motivates you to do good for others?
Honestly – my motivation is a selfish one. I enjoy helping others because it actually makes me feel better. It is so easy to be introspective and I think it’s so important to be able to take the focus off your self and help someone in need.
How does it feel when you make a difference to the lives of others?
It really is one of the best feelings in the world. There are very few individuals in the world who are in a position to make a difference, so I’m overwhelmingly grateful for this ability. I received a message from a woman who said that after hearing of my journey, she gave up smoking. Now that’s a very simply story, but a very powerful one. I reckon it’s pretty special that I’m able to make a positive impact on someone’s life.
For more information about the great stuff Interplast is doing in developing countries, go to http://www.interplast.org.au
If you feel like making a donation, visit https://www.interplast.org.au/get-involved/donate/
If you feel inspired to join Turia on the Inca Trail Challenge, here’s the link http://www.inspiredadventures.com.au/interplast/peru
PS. I reckon we can all make a difference…more on that in future posts x