Health and Lifestyle Influencer, Yoga Teacher, Wellness Advocate

Experienced and knowledgeable yet unconventional and always the first to say it how it is, Lexi Crouch is a passionate, honest and inspirational speaker, supporter, educator and positive advocate for eating disorders and body image issues. Lexi is Co-Founder, CEO for a Brisbane Start-Up company in creative technology where her desire to create change in the world lies. Lexi's ability as a speaker and business acumen have both come from extensive past knowledge and experiences. 

Lexi is on a mission to provide a positive voice, support and education to anyone with eating disorders, eating issues, body image concerns, and low self-esteem. “I'm here to shake things up a little bit, we are not here for a long time and I want everyone to realise their full potential,” says Lexi. She believes rebellion is only the beginning of a revolution.

Now currently in her final year of study for a Bachelor of Health Science (Dietetics and Nutrition), a co-parent to her daughter Mabel, A Yoga Teacher and speaker, Lexi enjoys sharing her life, loves, passion and learnings on her website and Instagram.

Why is mental health awareness and education so important to you?
Mental health awareness and education is of very high importance to me and is a topic I personally value greatly. It is important because I believe in recognising that mental health is just as important as our physical health for overall balance and wellness. Education of mental health and breaking down the stigma and shame that has been previously attached to it is important to keep normalising and to allow people to stay connected instead of feeling alone or to feel like there are no other options. I am a big believer that we are all in this together and therefore truly value mental health awareness and education.      

When you were growing up, was there any education around maintaining mental health or much discussion around caring for your own mental wellbeing?
Mental Health was very “taboo” when I was growing up and in particular, Eating Disorders. I developed an Eating Disorder at an age where there was no social media or outlets of discussion around mental wellbeing or education on self-care and taking care of our mental health. Having gone through my own journey with an Eating Disorder, I have made it part of my life mission to ensure there is discussion around mental wellbeing as it was quite isolating when I was younger. I believe we have come a long way creating awareness and providing education around mental wellbeing in recent years.      

How do you balance training, study, motherhood and self-care, all while maintaining relationships with your family and friends?
Balance is what my life is based around and including all aspects that I enjoy and are important in letting me be my best version. I have learned over the years to always put myself and prioritise self-care so I am able to give back and help from an effective place. This allows me to be a better mother, friend, mentor and maintain focus for study. I admit I do live a busy life (don’t we all!) but am working more with being productive rather than “busy”. This sometimes means scaling back in happening that may not be of priority to put the important things first. I always start the day with Yoga and Training as this sets me up for the day and physically & mentally balances me so I am able to be productive and make a good nights sleep a must. Making time for people and living in the moment is also of great value, my friends and family are very important to me – they are the ones who remind me to have fun, an absolute essential to mental wellbeing. Sometimes life is a circus though, it is how you want to manage the monkeys!     

How do you find your diet affects your mental health?
Diet very much affects my mental health as this is essentially where symptoms of an Eating Disorder developed from. I came to study Nutrition and my Bachelor of Health Science during my own recovery and learning how to work with and optimise nutrition to become healthy and happy. These days I am very much in love with food and the mental balance it provides. I am particularly interested in effects diet has on your hormones in my studies – especially serotonin, the feel good hormone, and lucky I am a huge chocolate lover and don’t go a day without it because it increases those levels to help keep you happy. I have noticed in periods when nutrition may not be in peak and what it does to your mood (feeling lethargic, low energy and “moody”) so am quick to turn it around again because I don’t like to waste a day not feeling good!        

What are your favourite ‘good mood foods’?
My favourite good mood foods would have to be:
- Chocolate (of course!) particularly dark for added health benefits of lowering stress and anxiety. I am always eating chocolate during exams!
- Salmon & avocado for the essential fats to keep my brain and focus sharp.
- Bananas for the energy they provide and the amino acid tryptophan which provides a mood lift.
- Oats, they keep me going all day long.    

How does Yoga assist in maintaining your mental wellbeing?
Yoga is a tool that works for me to allow me to be my best version. It was the key to my own recovery from an Eating Disorder. I admit I was very skeptical at first as I am a highly energetic person and thought it was a “waste of time’, but finally ran out of options that worked and decided to give it a shot. I found an intense style that worked for me and challenges me every day. It assists in maintaining in my own mental wellbeing as Yoga has no end. I am always trying to master some sort of “far out” pose which I know will come if I keep working on it daily. I soon discovered with having a daily practice it was far from “boring” and keeps me progressing in life. There are many days I don’t want to get up and face my mat and do adjust my practice to my energy levels if needed, but know by doing so I am also facing myself and areas in my life I need to address. There are times it also terrifies me as I am flipping about in the morning and believe in facing fears to keep evolving – it allows me to keep focused as well. It also connects the body and mind together creating for more peaceful rather than stressful moments. Learning to breathe and stay present through Yoga has been fundamental to my journey and is my non negotiable to my own mental wellbeing.   

If you had one piece of advice for someone beginning their mental wellness journey, what would it be?
Reach out – this may be the hardest step you take, however there is so much support now available, particularly in the recent years as mental wellness is being discussed and the level of care around it. It may be a friend and I have learned good friends will stick with you through thick and thin. I would also recommend to keep searching for something you are passionate about and put your attention there, the answers will come and life will start to unfold.

What are your top three stress busters when life gets busy?
Stress I admit can largely be a trigger if I am not on top of it and these are my top 3 when life gets a little busy:
1. Handstands or standing on my head (a Yoga thing). This instantly flips my perspective physically and mentally and allows me to rationalise and see things from a diffferent view. It also helps to remain calm and draw your focus back.
2. Spending time with my daughter, it doesn’t matter how many deadlines I have, I make the time. Children have a way of bringing you into the present moment with their innocence, funny never-ending stories, and their laughter is very contagious!
3. Stepping outside. I always finish the day by walking along the river where I live and I like to clear my head and leave the stressful issues there for the night. It is my reset for the day and allows me to check in again with myself after a big day.   

What’s next for you?
This is an exciting space as I have been working on a platform for Eating Disorder Recovery for the last year to help provide further resources to those who are struggling around these issues, this is an ongoing work in progress so stay tuned. My science study finishes up next year and I have started studying for the GAMSAT examination in September – whether medicine will be part of the future, time will tell. I have a couple of speaking engagements in the new year and hope to run more workshops. I also hope to see the Northern Lights in this lifetime, finish off my book and keep working on myself. Now that I have said this out loud – let’s make sure this happen!         

A big thank you to YUMM! for providing mental health resources to young Aussies and sparking conversations around mental wellbeing. It is a privilege to be a part of.

Want to find out more or contact Lexi? Head to her website and social media pages.