We talk to Erwan Heussaff about his wellness journey and how he is able to balance enjoying good food with keeping a healthy mindset and lifestyle

This article is brought to you by REBEL.

With 2.57 million Youtube subscribers (as of writing), Erwan Heussaff has long been a beloved content creator, taking audiences on numerous travel, culinary, and fitness adventures. His blog, thefatkidinside.com also offers various recipes, inspiring wellness articles, and more. He also recently launched REBEL which is a fast growing fitness and wellness platform designed for Filipinos. 

We got to talk to Erwan about his wellness journey, passion for food and fitness, and got his insights on how to enjoy good food while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle — a task that proves quite tricky to pull-off for most. Read on below to find out more:

Tatler Asia
Tatler Asia

Tell us about your journey with food. When did you fall in love with food, cooking and eating clean?

When I started cooking, I just loved knowing exactly what I was putting in my food, good or bad, understanding how flavours come together, how texture is created and eventually how that food becomes information for your body. Telling it how to feel (tired, bloated, energised, inspired) and how to perform.

How can food affect our disposition? 

I hear “food is fuel” all the time and while that’s true, it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Yes, food gives us energy, but it also gives us information. It tells your body what to feel, how to move and eventually can affect it positively or negatively in the long run. Think about it, it’s the most intimate thing you can do, to put something in your body and ingest it, it doesn’t get more personal than that.

How important is food vs exercise in the equation for being fit and healthy? 

People say that abs are made in the kitchen and that is 100 per cent true. If abs are your goal, food is the most important thing. However, if you want to lead a balanced life, which is what I usually advocate, they are more or less equal. I think its important to do something physical every day, it can be a 30-minute walk, but it's also important to eat the things that will make you feel good and won’t contribute to any diseases further down the line.

Read more: Where To Order: Delicious Steaks To Treat Your Family With

Why in your opinion is exercise important for mental health?

It’s all about momentum. We all feel stuck sometimes and all it takes is for you to get up and start something—anything—to start bringing movement back in your life. This can be starting a project, reading a book that inspires you, reaching out to a friend. There are so many ways to create movement in your life and the easiest one is to actually physically move. I usually get my best ideas or become motivated when I’m working out and a lot of people I’ve talked to, feel the same way. That connection [between] brain and physical activity is so important for our mental wellbeing.

How do you balance eating rich/ decadent meals and keeping a healthy food diet?

I like the 80/20 rule for maintenance. 80 per cent of the time, choose your food based on your healthy, 20 per cent choose your food based on your cravings. Unless you have military discipline, the more you stop yourself from eating things you crave, the more that will build up and implode, so its good to give yourself a break from time to time.

Read more: How To Choose The Right Shoes For Your Next Workout

 

Take us through your fitness/wellness journey: did you ever have any difficulties?

I had a lot of struggles in the beginning. I needed to figure out what works and for that to happen I had to try it all in long periods of time, to be able to measure the effectiveness of an eating or workout plan. There was a lot of frustration and I broke a few times. I realised that each time I broke, I basically had to start from zero. As I failed, I learned to understand my body and my mind more. Ultimately that helped me figure out a couple of things:

  1. Discipline is key. If you don’t want to do it and if you don’t want to sacrifice certain things, it won’t happen for you.
  2. Everyone is different. We all have that friend who was just naturally gifted in Math in high school. Our bodies are the same, some people can just process food better or can have the aesthetic you might want, with less work. Comparing yourself to someone else won’t help you, it’ll just make you bitter.
  3. You are doing this to reach optimal physical and mental health, not to have a six-pack. So don’t be too hard on yourself.

Read more: Where to Buy Gym Equipment: Building Your Own Fitness Haven At Home

If people are busy, what tips can you give them so that they can still find a way to meal-prep and eat well? 

Eat simple. We are so obsessed with food nowadays—Netflix shows, restaurants at our fingertips on our devices, documentaries, travel, etc. All these things have not only solidified the importance of food in our lives but changes our perspective of it. We crave for beautifully presented dishes or meals that taste decadent. Our expectation of what a meal should look like is sometimes way too high. I can’t imagine our parents or grandparents having this same obsession. They grew up with simple food cooked at home with minimal ingredients. When I make my meals at home that’s what I do. Chicken breast, a sweet potato, some broccoli and brown rice; cooked with salt, pepper and olive oil. It’s not the tastiest, most amazing dish, but it’s enough. I think we need to make peace with that.

What pre and post-workout meals do you like and what do you recommend to others? 

I actually enjoy working out with just coffee and water in my system, especially before doing weights, it makes me feel light. When I used to do long cardio sessions when I was seriously into triathlons, I would grab a peanut butter and banana sandwich. For my post-workout, whatever fruit is In season, blended with some coconut water and some protein powder if available.

What pre and post-workout meals do you like and what do you recommend to others? 

I actually enjoy working out with just coffee and water in my system, especially before doing weights, it makes me feel light. When I used to do long cardio sessions when I was seriously into triathlons, I would grab a peanut butter and banana sandwich. For my post-workout, whatever fruit is In season, blended with some coconut water and some protein powder if available.

Favourite cheat meal?

Ice cream. 1 tub, please.

What are your favourite low calorie or low carb meals?

I just fill my plate up with vegetables. I don’t mind carbohydrates, they are important in a diet, I just make sure to grab them from complex sources like fruits, starchy vegetables and whole grains.

What are your favourite guilt-free snacks? 

I love Saba bananas cooked down with just some coconut water and a pandan leaf.

Read more: 3 Female Fitness Trainers On How To Exercise With Resistance Bands


The REBEL app can be downloaded here and is available for Android and iOS. Visit their Website, Instagram and Facebook for more information. 

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