I first found Vanessa through Tumblr, and began following her journey there. She's evolved more than anyone I've ever known; her instagram is a source of inspiration for thousands and her wise words never fail to stop me in my mindless scrolling and pause to read. Her approach to health, relationships and dealing with obstacles is changing the way we think about life. Her ability to transform a simple occurrence into a beautiful life lesson to be cherished is incredible; every time I connect with her I feel happy and appreciative of the world we live in.
Vanessa lives what she preaches - passionately embracing a balance of mental and physical health, self-love, and nourishing foods. Her attitude towards life is infectious in the best way, and positively impacts everyone that has the privilege to connect with her! She is truly one of my biggest role models, I can always count on her to shed perspective, light and love in every aspect of life.
Tell us a little about yourself! What is your story?
My story? You mean novel that will take you a year times infinity to read? Haha.
All jokes aside- I am quite humbled I must mention first off, so thank you for choosing to interview me, I am beyond grateful.
Alright let’s begin, shall we?
I have always been a highly self- motivated goal driven individual however my perfectionist tendencies spiraled into obsessing over the need for everything to be done at a certain time, a certain way, and left me struggling with various mental disorders. Once I set my mind to something that I wanted, I would do anything-and I mean anything-to achieve it. In school I wanted a 4.0- I studied for hours neglecting friends and family, but I received that 4.0. With my passion- dance, I wanted to be on my high schools’ company and I auditioned and not only made it but landed an officer position both years I was on the company. My room was always clean, I turned in assignments on time, I volunteered, I had friends, I had a well supportive family-everything seemed “perfect” to outsiders looking in to my life, however it was far from that. I suffered from anxiety, depression, a restrictive eating disorder; I became fixated on numbers and secluded myself from all relationships. I lost all the weight I wanted, achieved that goal weight of being 104, strutted around with that flat stomach, had those collar bones, even that infamous thigh gap- I had it all. But did I really? Not at all. I lost the weight yes, but I also lost my mind. I lost my relationships with food, friends, family, exercise, and most of all with myself. I became so detached from the present moment and consistently lived in the future- wanting more, wanting perfect, wanting everything but what I was.
Thankfully one day I decided I wanted to be free. I wanted mental liberation. I was tired of all the health issues, arguments caused, money wasted and depression. I went through therapy for six months but realized that was in fact, not helping. That I didn’t necessarily have an eating disorder, that wasn’t the problem- it was a symptom of a much, much deeper problem. I left therapy and started my own recovery process. Started meditation, self-instructed meal challenges, and read. I read A LOT. Self-help books are the secret to my healing. I have so many recommendations on my blog if any one is interested. I became aware, grounded, and enlightened- whatever term you wish to use. It was the realization that my mind was in control- that I could tweak my life little by little with different positive mind techniques. Basically, to change my life I needed to change my thoughts. My perspective and mindset shifted completely and I went from striving for perfect to accepting what is and living each day in the moment it is. I wake up with the mentality that it is a gift, a precious gift and I must cherish every second.
Four years later, my relationships are improving tremendously; I have been studying attraction and relationships as I continue to make the one with myself stronger. My struggles are a blessing in disguise- they have lead me to my career, what I most passionate about. I wish to become a marriage and family therapist helping others realize their potential and alter their mindset to enhance the quality of their life. It’s my calling.
What does health mean to you?
Health means something vastly different to every one but for me personally, it means sustainable balance and acceptance with the present moment. Health means mentally and physically striving for the best version of yourself but out of love and respect. It is balance if anything- well rounded effort and nurture with work, school, intimate relations, parents, workouts, food- everything and anything. Just a balanced way of life, a long term project.
What was your 'aha' moment to change your lifestyle? And what is one change someone looking to be healthier could make today?
My “aha” moment was when I was sitting in my school library in front of the computer looking for therapist offices close to my home, I knew then it was when I was ready for a lifestyle change. One change someone could make today if they wanted to be healthier would be self-reflection as to where their motives lie for a healthier lifestyle and then write attainable small steps. Ordinary actions performed consistently ignite extraordinary results.
Some of my favorite foods are oatmeal, brown rice, almond butter, raisins, and salmon!
What is a typical day of eating/fitness like for you?
A day of eating and fitness for me would be some form of cardio (running, walking, and/or dancing) for about an hour, and some sort of weight routine to target certain muscles. Usually I work out one body part a day three days a week so one day chest, one day shoulders, and glutes! Oh and I always do a few abdominal exercises! Food wise is oatmeal bowl in the morning filled with fruit, hemp seeds, and almond butter, then lunch usually egg whites with veggies and almonds/raisins, then dinner brown rice with fish!
Any tips on balancing a healthy lifestyle with school, work, friends, etc.?
Prioritize, let go of what doesn’t matter to your heart or that is no longer serving you. Let go of unhealthy habits, relationships, and don’t assume you have time, because we don’t. Today is the day for anything and everything. Just do it and you will be glad you did. You don’t choose the life events that occur but you do control your reactions and how you deal with them. Realize your life is perfect - it really is. The time everything happens is when it’s supposed to. The lessons the universe teaches will continue to be taught until you learn them. Whatever you do - do it with all your heart. Fall in love, but don’t become too attached. Attachments are unhealthy and ruin relationships. Life is about growing with one another and that means realizing some people come into our life just to teach us to let go.
List some of your favorite hobbies!
Hobbies include running, going to the gym, writing, listening to music, dancing, singing, reading self-improvement books, books on relationships, and shopping for workout clothes and jewelry!
Favorite thing about yourself?
How I am able to impact others lives with my passionate words.
One thing most people don't know about you?
One thing most people don’t know about me is I am full Hispanic. Most think I am of mixed ethnicities. Oh, and that I absolutely love white chocolate.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Senior year dance show. I had a solo and lived up to my part.
Favorite book, movie and song?
Favorite book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
Movie: (500) Days Of Summer.
Songs: Angel by Sarah McLaughlin, Can You Stand The Rain by New Edition, and All Of Me by John Legend.
After a long day I like to destress by __
Eat a heavy dinner of salmon and brown rice with veggies, write for about an hour, workout, have a warm shower, then listen to music and be still.
Who is your role model?
The wind, grass, dirt, flowers, the sea, the sun, the moon and the stars. Really. In short- my role model is nature. I look up to her and learn from her, and every moment I am breathing I try and be more like her. Calm, natural, and always trusts in the timing of her life.
What is one quote you live by?
“Trust in the timing of your life.”
If I could change one thing about the world?
The way we think.
If you had one wish what would it be?
To slow everyone down and make every brain on this Earth realize with just simple mind shifts- they can have the life they’ve always dreamed of.
What do you see yourself doing in the future?
I honestly see myself maybe not changing the world- but sparking the mind that will. I will help as many individuals as I can and impact their lives for the better. I want to be a different type of therapist, one that will bring positivity and cultivate the mind so that my clients’ lives can be as fulfilled as they can. I plan on publishing many of my works, perhaps a biography, self-help books, and a inspiring quote book. I also have plans to model and travel to Australia and Greece! In the future, I see myself doing what I have been called to do- inspire and use my wounds as wisdom.
For more updates and inspiration you can connect with Vanessa through:
YouTube: Vanessa Quintero