Recently, I’ve been looking for women who are ignoring the traditional career path and chasing their own passions either entirely or in tandem with another career. Through my Instagram community, I came across The Wellie Project, founded by Nancy Sidnam and created to help increase awareness on health amongst teenage girls. The more I learned about The Wellie Project, the more I loved it. Not only for it’s sincere effort to help today’s girls, but also in the way it speaks to my 14 year old, body-conscious self. I knew I had to meet the woman behind the movement, so I recently sat down with Nancy to hear about her experience and dreams.
Nancy was just like a lot of young women in college – motivated, eager, and lusting after a nice job in a big city. After college, she got just that – she landed an advertising job at a well-known advertising agency in New York City. She had tons of fun, but after a few years, the day to day got a little boring and lackluster. In addition, she wasn’t feeling great and her health felt less than subpar. After much soul searching and exploration, she choose to pursue a master’s degree in Nutritional Science from California State University, Los Angeles. It was there that she experienced the wonderful world of health, hiking the big hills, drinking green juice, and just focusing on wellbeing overall.
During her time in LA, Nancy worked as a nanny to two wonderful young girls, and during her time with them, she started to learn more about what goes on in a girl’s head. Specifically, she started to see the issues that girls face when it comes to proper nutrition and body image. In fact, her experience with these two young girls was a perfect parallel to her studies in nutrition. Over time, she started to develop ideas around what she wanted to do with her nutrition degree, for herself, the girls she nannied, and the rest of the next generation. With time and a lot of hard work, she founded The Wellie Project (in addition to The Wellie Life), a movement that is empowering girls to take charge of their health through wellness.
Let’s take a step back for a minute – close your eyes and think back to a time when you were 12 or 13. Did you absolutely love your body? How did you eat? Did you workout? The 13 year old me had little clue what body image even meant and sifted between cookie binges and veggies for dinner. I had a pretty healthy mom and was extremely active, so weight wasn’t really an issue for me, but I’ll tell you what was. As soon as I started high school, I began comparing myself to every other girl. I did hundreds of sit-ups a day and was envious of the girls who could subsist on just an apple for lunch. Looking back, I realize how tiny and skinny I was, but at the time, I had all the wrong impressions. The Wellie Project is looking to change that negative body image with girls. It’s focused on health and wellness, not the numbers on the scale, how many miles you ran, or how wide your thigh gap is. None of that really matters or lasts anyways. The most important concept that I see in The Wellie Project, is it’s mission to help girls develop a lifestyle of wellness that will last a lifetime.
Considering the positive impact that Nancy is already making on girls (this is a passion project for Nancy), I’m pumped to see what else will come out of The Wellie Project. Nancy’s working on building out a social presence and making the project into a go-to resource for girls. These kinds of positive movements is what I hope to see more of. Positive images and encouragement is what every girl needs, no matter what her life is like. Thanks to Nancy and The Wellie Life, those girls are getting what they need.
My takeaway from chatting with Nancy is twofold:
- Follow your passion in some shape or form, even if it’s not your full time gig
- Straight from her website: “don’t wait until later to make your health a priority. Do it now. No one else is going to do it for you.”
Thanks Nancy for taking the time to chat with me!