Wellspo: Steph Mcdonald
Steph is a 23-year-old girl from Sydney Australia
She has completed a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biology with Honours and is currently working two part-time jobs related to health and food production.
She is extremely passionate about fitness, health, wellbeing and empowering others to look after themselves, to find balance and to reach a stage where they feel content, comfortable and sustain their lifestyle.
I am so happy to have been able to interview Steph for my blog. She is such an amazing and positive role model for everybody worldwide. Having met her I can definitely say how wonderful she is, inside and out.
She has also been crowned (by me) the queen of oats and nourish bowls.
What sparked your interest in health?
After growing up overweight and unfit, and then struggling with a restrictive eating
disorder throughout my teens, I’ve spent a lot of my life unhealthy and subsequently
Going from one extreme to another, never feeling my best and struggling to find peace in
my body took such a toll on my mental and physical health, and it reached a point where
I finally became fed up. I was sick of treating my body poorly, living a life of pressure,
control and dissatisfaction and took a pledge to educate myself on health and wellbeing
and commit myself to a lifestyle that would make me feel, look and perform my best.
A typical day on your plate?
My first meal of the day is typically my pre-workout meal, so I try to keep it light but
satisfying enough to fuel a decent training session! My go-to meal is a tub of natural
yoghurt with probiotic kefir, topped with frozen berries, a handful of dried oats and some
protein powder mixed through.
My next meal of the day is my ‘second breakfast’ or post-workout meal, and this is either
a big bowl of my favourite egg white oats with loads of toppings (like fruit, nut butter and
raw balls) or a bowl of brown rice, eggs, feta cheese and kale.
Lunch is always a HUGE salad packed full of vegetables, a healthy fat source like
avocado, seeds or hummus, and a form of protein like falafel, salmon or vegetarian
For afternoon tea I normally have another bowl of oats, some corn thins with avocado
and a boiled egg, or another salad.
Dinner is typically a huge bowl of zucchini noodles, topped with passata tomato sauce,
veggies, tofu/seafood/falafels and some feta cheese.
Dessert used to be some frozen yoghurt or banana nice-cream, but now that it’s Winter
here in Australia I’m sticking to my egg white oats cooked with chocolate protein powder
and topped with some nut butter and raw chocolate!
I eat around 6-7 times a day, so my date on a plate is a big one.
Your top five foods for better health?
- Rolled oats
One food you could not live without?
Easy – oats! Followed closely by spinach.
Have you a motto you live by?
My favourite motto is “you can’t live a full life on an empty soul” – I think it really captures
the notion that you need to fuel yourself with loads of good nutrition, company and
education to get the most out of your life.
I’m such an advocate of investing in yourself adequately enough to be the best you can
You’ve just got to listen to your body, surround yourself with people who support and
inspire you, take time to rest and recharge your mind, eat the foods that make you feel
good and move your body in a way that empowers your body.
All of your daily habits and the environments you put yourself in really do reflect your
commitment to yourself and how far you want to succeed in life. The aim should always
be to treat your body and mind kindly enough that you’re consistently setting yourself up
for a life of rewards, progress and fulfilment.
Who and/or what inspires you?
I’m inspired by so many amazing people I’ve come across over the past year! Social
media has really opened my eyes to some incredibly strong and resilient people, and I’ve
had the fortune of making some of the most cherished friendships because of it. I have a
huge list of people I could mention, but they all have these things in common: they’re true
to themselves, they’re hard workers, they’re kind-hearted and they’re invested in being
positive, healthy and productive.
Amazing people aside, I’m just inspired by the constantly evolving feeling of happiness,
confidence and contentment I’m achieving the more and more I look after myself. It
makes me want to keep treating myself well when I reap the benefits of the investment
Your favourite type of exercise?
I’m a huge fan of circuit style workouts combining strength training and functional
movements! They make me feel strong, fit and challenge me to see what my body is
capable of. I could happily deadlift and do burpees for the rest of my life!
How often do you exercise?
I exercise 6 times a week, and make sure to get in daily exercise through loads of
How do you take care of your mental health?
This is something I still struggle with, because I think it’s really easy to side-line mental
health and instead we get caught up in doing all the chores/work/daily grind activities
Stress is the worst for mental health, so alleviating some daily stressors is a
huge thing! Typically I do this through my workouts at the gym or going for a gentle walk in the fresh air to clear my head, but I’m also trying so hard to dedicate at least 30
minutes a night to some meditation and journaling as a way of winding down, reflecting
on the day and getting rid of any pent up emotions I may be unknowingly holding onto.
I’ve also become extremely cautious and calculated with who I spend my time with. I’ve
had to cut out a lot of people from my life and break free from some toxic friendships.
Now, the people I surround myself with always manage to bring me out of some of my
darkest mental health days and remind me to look after myself.
Positive self-talk is also a huge thing I’ve started investing in in order to take care of my
mentality. We’re our own worst enemies, and a lot of the time we don’t even realise we’re
doing it! So I’ve started to really tune in to my inner monologue and can now recognise
when I’m being overly critical of myself. When I notice this, I acknowledge the poor
mindset I’ve temporarily fallen victim to, and gently try to distract myself or shift my self-
talk and perspective so that I can build myself up rather than tear myself down. Self-
insight is everything.
Some advice to your 16-year- old self?
Being skinny will NOT make you happier.
Being popular is NOT worth losing your true self over.
Blue eyeshadow is NOT a good look.
And please, DON’T listen to anyone who says you’re not good enough.
What are the key things you have learned in your journey
into health and wellbeing?
I’ve learned that happiness is an inside job, and that you really need to put in both the
work AND patience to achieve a healthy life and true wellbeing. I think we all get caught
up in chasing sort-cuts, quick fixes and seek advice from other people we think have
‘made it’ in their health journeys for an answer or solution. But unless we truly WANT to
change and WANT a better life, we will never truly act on it and achieve it for ourselves.
You’ve got to find what works for you and what gives you the outcome you want.
And it is hard-work - it’s not a linear journey and it requires a lot of consistency,
perseverance and dedication – but the biggest thing I’ve learned so far, and the one
thing I want to advocate so openly is that all of the hard work and kindness to yourself is
so unbelievably worth it & it 💖
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