03 Nov October’s Twisted Sista | Steph McDonald | Better Being Steph
This month we’ve been talking to Steph McDonald for our Twisted Sista interview. Steph is a serious social media influencer, healthy lifestyle advocate and all round super star.
Sometimes better known as @BetterBeingSteph, Steph’s journey is documented through Instagram where she has some serious sway. Her mission? To provide her followers with the tools, recipes and inspiration to empower them to look after themselves, find balance and reach a stage where they feel content, comfortable and sustainable in their lifestyle.
When did your interest in fitness and food start?
I first became passionate about fitness and food when I began my recovery from an eating disorder. I grew up overweight with very little care for nutrition and what I was putting into my body or how I moved it. I had a huge sweet tooth, I ate for enjoyment – not for nutrition or health, and I never saw any purpose behind exercise or being active. I was naive and ignorant, and I really didn’t treat my body with any respect.
By the time I finished high school I’d tipped myself to the other end of the spectrum and had developed a restrictive eating disorder and an exercise addiction. I was sick of being bullied for my weight, so I thought that simply not eating and training intensely every single day was the only way to find happiness and confidence. I started to view food as something that was ‘bad’, developed numerous food fears, and became so anxious and scared of eating or missing a workout that I became physically (and mentally) ill.
It’s been about 6 years since I was at my ‘worst’ with my health, and there’s no turning back for me now! I’ve learned just how important it is to take care of our bodies and health, and I think that’s why I am so passionate about treating myself well and finding a balance with fitness and food.
What do you know now, that you wish you knew when you were younger?
That what my body looks like isn’t a reflection of my worth, its capabilities, or my life quality!
What is your favourite thing about being an influencer on Instagram?
The opportunities and connections – some of the closest friends I have now I’ve met only through Instagram! It’s an incredible platform for finding like-minded and inspiring people, and thriving in a supportive community. It’s also helped me obtain some incredible opportunities, forced me to come out of my comfort zone, and really challenged me to step up and take ownership for what I can bring to my followers, and most importantly myself.
There’s definitely a downside to Instagram and some pressure surrounding being an ‘influencer’, but overall it’s been an incredibly humbling and exciting experience that I’m constantly grateful for.
And least favourite thing?
The pressure and knowing that I’m on such public display! I’m lucky that I don’t experience much ‘hate’ or troll comments (though there’s been a few that have got to me!). Instead, the most overwhelming thing is the pressure I put on myself to reply to comments, to create engaging content and fun recipes, and to be a positive influence on anyone visiting my page.
I’m a very honest and introverted person, and sometimes I worry that I make myself too vulnerable by being so open on a social media platform, or that I could portray the wrong image to someone looking up to me. I try not to overthink it too much – otherwise I psyche myself out and convince myself that I’m not ‘engaging’ enough or not a good role model! At the end of the day, it’s about being honest, authentic and having fun with it. As long as I’m proud, happy and comfortable with what I post, then that’s all that counts.
What #girlboss inspires you and why?
There’s so many inspiring women around me that I really look up to, and I could be here all day! So I’ll dedicate this to the #girlboss who’s recently helped me make my dream of having my own snack come true – Daisy from Sneaky Wholefoods. She is hands down one of the most hard-working, passionate and kind-hearted women I’ve ever had the fortune of meeting.
I love that she hustles hard every single day to hand make her products, that she never takes the easy option to cheapen her vision, and that she always has time to build up and support other women and businesses too. To build your own empire while helping others build theres around you too is so utterly inspiring to me.
If you were a Twisted frozen yoghurt flavour, what would you be?
Hardest question so far!! I think I’d be Creamy Coconut – people underestimate our sweetness and simplicity!
What inspired your Better Being Blends range?
I’ve always loved the idea of promoting a mindful snacking experience, and also encouraging people to have a bit of fun with their snacks and take ownership for what they put into their body. Better Being Blends were designed to give others the power to personalise and customise their own wholesome snack. The blends mix convenience with simplicity, meaning that there’s no excuses for anyone when it comes to creating a healthy option for themselves. It’s all about empowering, rewarding, and investing in yourself with a treat that makes you feel like a better being.
What is your go-to snack after a workout?
Egg white oats with yoghurt and fruit, or a protein muffin! At the moment I’m loving some home-made protein Carrot Cake muffins using my Better Being Blend!
How did you feel when you lost your Instagram Account? And what steps did you take to recover from it?
Oh my god – what a wake up call losing my account was! It was such a sh*t experience, but such a learning curve for me. I learned that I had come to place far too much value, and had invested too much of my time and energy into Instagram and living up to the image I’d created for myself. It was awful to all of a sudden feel so lost without the validation Instagram can provide – so that was a good lesson to learn.
It also made me realise just how much I love having the platform to connect with others – I couldn’t believe how many friendships were potentially lost because I didn’t have people’s contact details outside of Instagram! And lastly, it made me realise just how important it is to never put all your bags into one basket.
I was lucky that I have a full-time job that’s my number one priority, but I realised straight away that it pays to have your brand across numerous platforms. I built up my website and blog as a result, and since retrieving my account back almost 3 months later – I now make sure to save every caption I post and secure friendships and opportunities that aren’t dependent on Instagram!
If you could share a Sneaky Wholefoods Better Being snack with anyone (famous, not famous, living or dead) who would it be and why?
Best question ever. I want to think of a funny or quirky answer, but I think my answer is going to be more sentimental! Honestly, I would have loved to share my blends with my late Grandma, Shirley. She used to always treat us grandkids with sweet treats and snacks when we visited, and she was so generous and loving – as well as being so clever with her recipes in the kitchen.
Knowing what she thought of the flavours or seeing what she would have created with the mix would have been such a highlight for me! I like to think we’ve created a treat that she would have been really proud to share with the family.