This article was first seen on the Huffington Post. For this installment, we are joined by Stephanie Butch.
Let’s start off with a general introduction. How would you describe yourself, what are you all about and how did you get involved in health and fitness?
The first thing I thought of when I read the question was dedication. I’ve always been extremely hard working and will do whatever it takes to reach my goals. I’m all about the health and fitness lifestyle and promote self love and the importance of mental health. I am an NQ NPC bikini competitor, and right now I am looking into crossfit and maybe even doing a few powerlifting competitions.
I’m attending Central Michigan University currently to earn my degree in Dietetics to be a dietician for people with eating disorders. I got involved in health and fitness right when I got out of high school. In high school, I revolved my life around being a 4 sport athlete, and when I graduated I needed something to push myself and be competitive, and bodybuilding definitely was the trick.
Where does your motivation come from?
As cliche as this sounds, my motivation comes from myself. There’s nothing that makes me happier than improving myself mentally and physically. Looking to where I was a few years ago compared to now is absolutely astonishing to me. I’ve grown so much and that just fuels my fire to want to improve even more.
As you decided to make a career out of your passion – what were your biggest stumbling blocks along the way?
I’m actually in the process of making a career out of my passion and it’s definitely proving itself to be a big challenge. My first order of business is to make sure I’m mentally healthy enough to complete my classes. The workload for Dietetics is very intense, which includes a lot of science based classes so just trying to get through these classes will put me on the track to my career.
What’s your perspective on the importance of self-care?
Self-care is extremely important to me. Like I mentioned in previous questions, I am currently in treatment for mental health issues, and it was probably the best choice I’ve ever made. You have to be okay mentally, to live a healthy and fulfilling life. If self-care means taking a few days or even a month off from the gym and dieting, then by all means go for it. It doesn’t make a person any less dedicated in my opinion. Mental health is number one.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about women lifting weight?
Honestly at this point I don’t really think there are many misconceptions anymore. The whole “lifting makes you manly” thing is widely known by now; and most people realize that it’s not true. I think the biggest misconception now is by people that are starting their journey and thinking that bodyweight exercises will lead them to gaining muscle, when in reality lifting weights is the way to go.
Many young women who want to lose weight believe that not eating is the way to do it, without realising the consequences of that kind of behavior.
Why do you think this is and what’s your perspective on educating society on healthy nutrition habits?
I think it is absolutely crucial to give out proper information on healthy nutrition habits. You’re right, many young women believe that not eating is the way to go and of course that just leads to eating disorders and skewed perception of thinking. Young women think this way because the diet culture is HUGE here in the United States and everything from magazines, to social media (especially), and commercials on TV emphasize the need to be thin and it’s easy to fall in the trap of wanting to diet and be thin.
What are the most unexpected lessons you’ve learned on your health and fitness journey this far?
I learned that the health industry is not the fitness industry and that your journey is not going to be linear. I used to think that people with ripped, chiseled abs were healthy. When that may possibly be true, it also could mean they’ve had to diet to very low calories and I never knew that until I went through it myself. It’s not a sustainable way to survive. I’m at my healthiest in my offseason where I’m able to eat lots of nutritious food (and the occasional pizza), and put lots of energy into the gym.
What do you do to maintain balance in your life?
Make sure that I’m spending just as much time with my friends and family as I would working on my health and fitness. If friends invite me to go out to a restaurant, do it. I only live once and I don’t want to say no just for the sake of keeping my diet 100%. There’s a time and place for that, that’s prep. If I want the damn cookie, I’m going to have the damn cookie.
How do you stay productive?
I am definitely a type A personality so everything I do/want to do I keep it in my passion planner (PS I highly suggest that particular planner). Every night I go through each of my tasks and cross them off, and it’s so fulfilling for me to do. I always have things that need to get done. Even if it’s just little things like cleaning my room, it’s nice to have them in my to do list just to keep me going through the day.
Can you give a breakdown of your current diet, training and supplementation regimen and the thinking behind it?
I am currently intuitively eating. I know a lot of people say that when they’re eating like a “normal person.” But I really concentrate on my intake. When I eat I make sure there are no distractions. I’m not on my phone or watching Netflix. I eat very mindfully and really pay attention to my hunger cues. I would say I eat 75% clean and save the other 25% for all the other foods I enjoy.
As far as training goes, I just go into the gym and do what feels right for the day. I have a split I follow, but I don’t have every exercise planned. I do more of a bodybuilding style split, but am looking into joining a crossfit gym soon to be a more well rounded athlete.
As for supplements, I just take a multivitamin everyday along with occasionally supplementing protein powder into my diet.
If you could only choose one thing, what would you tell your younger self?
Do what makes YOU happy and forget the rest. Life is too short to please other people. Do what makes you happy and healthy and life will treat you good.
What are your biggest life goals?
My number one life goal at this point is to get my mental health in check. After that my goal is to do well in my college courses so I get to follow my passion of helping people with eating disorders. And thirdly, I just want to keep progressing physique wise, whether that’s through bodybuilding or crossfit.
Where can people go to learn more about you online?
Stay tuned for the next interview of Real Talk Real Women!