Style guru’s secret to health and happiness
It has taken style maven Tash Sefton more than 40 years to finally crack the recipe for her own health and happiness. And all that time, the answer was hidden in plain sight.
Her secret? Forget what everyone else is doing. Focus only on what works for you.
“After years and years of failing, I’ve finally worked out, in my early 40s, what works for me,” she says. “I finally know what foods work for me, what exercise works for me. And as a result, my body has really changed for the first time in my life.”
Like most of us, Tash says she ate and drank whatever she wanted, or whatever the latest trend diet recommended, but it wasn’t until she started listening to her own body, instead of social media health gurus, that she realised just how wrong she’d had it.
“It was more about what foods don’t work for me. For example, I’m actually allergic to grapes, which took me about 20 years to work out,” she says.
“I can’t drink wine, because my stomach swells up like I’m six months pregnant. But do you know for how many years I had a swollen tummy?
“The point is, things that worked for my friends didn’t work for me. It was about creating something for me, that worked with my lifestyle, and that produced results.”
The fashion taste maker, style consultant and mother of two says part of her personal overhaul was evaluating not just how she ate, but how she trained. Usually found at pilates, or training with her personal trainer in the gym, Tash decided something radical was in order. So she quit the gym, cancelled her training classes and abandoned pilates altogether.
“I stopped going to the gym, and I stopped doing anything where I had to be on someone else’s schedule, and instead I started running,” she says.
“Here was something I could do at any time, anywhere in the world, and I didn’t have to check if someone was available. Having two kids it was really hard to fit in exercise, and I wanted something that was free, and that I could do anywhere.
“I now run every morning, and it’s completely changed my life, and it’s completely changed my body.
“But I never did it to lose weight, I did for my head. I needed something I could do with music in my ears to clear my head, to block out the noise and just run.
“It’s been incredible. It makes me feel great.”
HACKING A WHOLE-LIFE OVERHAUL
• Focus on you: “I think we all suffer from mental health issues, even when we think we don’t,” Tash says. “There’s a lot of pressure these days, especially with social media. But we need to stop comparing ourselves to anybody else, thinking they’re somehow better than us. Focus on something that’s just for you instead. That’s running for me — it’s my time, a place for me to switch off.”
• Celebrate the small wins: “The problem with looking at everyone else all the time is that you forget to take the small wins when you get them,” Tash says. “I’m a real goal-setter. I think about the things I want to achieve, then I break them down into small goals. And I absolutely love crossing them off when they’re done.”
• Don’t forget the captain: “I always think about my own mental and physical health. If mum’s not good, then it impacts my kids and it impacts my husband,” Tash says. “So I eat well, I exercise every day, then I feel good within myself. And I’m a better person for it.”
Hi Adam, I keep reading about our stomachs being like a second brain. Is there anything you do to help with gut health?
In Australia, we have only recently realised just how important gut health is, but people in countries such as Korea, where kimchi is a part of almost every meal, have known for generations. My favourite product at the moment is kefir, a grain that is usually added to dairy or coconut water, and which fuels the good bacteria in our stomachs. It’s a part of every breakfast in our household, for kids and adults alike.
Adam MacDougall is a former NRL player and the creator of The Man Shake | @adammacdougall5