Katie Winnen is a self love advocate and the biggest Drake fan we know - so naturally, she runs a Facebook group called Take Care. In addition to being a Bay Area native, she’s a unicorn in many other ways. Read on to find out about her personal journey toward personal wellness, and how it inspired her to get hundreds of women on board with self love!
Michelle: Can you tell us about your journey toward personal wellness? What made you want to become a voice advocating self love?
Katie: My journey towards personal wellness has been quite a rollercoaster. I was told growing up that how healthy I was was a direct result of my weight, so starting from a young age being healthy and well meant being thin.
I wasn't taught to focus on my habits and behaviors, and I wasn't taught that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes, so I just focused on whatever I could do to be thin. After years of dieting, extreme exercising, trying anything to lose weight, and being diagnosed with an eating disorder, I reached my breaking point of never feeling good enough and decided to try something new and cut out the rules and make my own.
I had always been interested in nutrition, and at the time I was working for Whole Foods while I was in college. As I began to learn more about holistic health, different kinds of produce, supplements and more, I started to connect how these different things made my body feel.
As I did so, I was able to find so much love an appreciation for my body, and instead of trying to change it, I was able to embrace it and take care of it. This allowed me to realize that my body was never the problem, and I could be the size my body naturally wanted to be (which was a size 10-14), and that didn't mean I wasn't beautiful, healthy or valuable. I truly believe that health is a result of habits and behaviors and that you cannot look at someone and know how healthy they are.
It took years to get to a point where the way I saw health and wellness changed, and the relationship I had with my body changed. One morning on a plane ride home from Indiana, I had an idea to create a community where we could talk all about health, wellness, nutrition, exercise and more, but do so in a way that had nothing to do with weight, measurements or diets.
That led the creation of Take Care, a Facebook group all about the intersection of self love and health and wellness. From there I knew immediately that I wanted to help women love their bodies and make peace with food the way I did. I wanted to shed light on the aspects of health and wellness that I thought were BS, and I wanted to show women that it's possible to be healthy, to feel good and to love your body at any size.
Michelle: What does a normal day look like for you?
Katie: My days seem to vary so much, but lately they start around 6am. I love being able to get a workout in first thing in the morning because it wakes up my whole body and gives me the best boost of energy. Right now I belong to a kickboxing gym and am so in love with that type of movement. It just fits so well with my body!
From there, my day includes adaptogenic herbal tea, reading and meditation. I typically dive into work around 8 or 9 AM. Having my own business means I wear every hat, so every day seems to involve something different. Some days include client calls and work on various projects. It never gets boring!
I try to make it a priority to end my workday around 6 or 7pm so I can spend time making dinner and then relax with my boyfriend. It's important to me that we spend time together at the end of the day, and it's something I really forward to. Then I'm usually in bed around 9 because I love sleeping and rest is SO important!
Michelle: What are the biggest challenges you've faced since you've started Take Care?
Katie: I'd say the biggest challenges have been finding the balance between being very strategic in trying to grow a business, and also wanting to following my intuition. Throughout this journey of starting Take Care and beginning to work for myself, I've felt like I've constantly gone back and forth between these two things.
On one hand I want to set my business up for success and hit goals, schedule content and structure my days, but on the other hand I want to trust my intuition about what feels right to share with my group members, clients and followers and when to share it instead of being so regimented. I think more than ever I've realized I have to learn on my own and figure out what works best for me and my unique business.
Michelle: I had the pleasure of attending your pool party. Tell us about the self-love events you've hosted!
Katie: I loved that event SO much and I really want to host another pool party! It was such an empowering day to bring so many women together and give them a safe space to rock their swimsuits.
I've hosted a few events since starting Take Care and am excited to host more. I love that we are building a community online, but it's really important to me to build a community in person as well. I've hosted yoga classes, workshops, virtual events, talks and more, and regardless of the event it's always necessary to me to make sure those who attend feel comfortable, and know that the space is a safe space to open up and be themselves.
Michelle: Who inspires you in the wellness world and why?
I would have to say Dana Sturtevant and Hilary Kinavey of Be Nourished quickly come to mind. They are both anti-diet dieticians and are doing amazing things when it comes to helping people change their relationship with food and their bodies. In addition, I love Valerie Sagun of Big Gal Yoga.
About the author:
Michelle Rick is a lifestyle journalist by night and social media manager by day. She's a Bay Area native, travel freak and gelato enthusiast who can be found @themrick on Instagram or michellearick.com.