Moving all the way from Switzerland, feeling extremely lost and lonely in high school, and suffering an eating disorder – Nina Gelbke has an incredible journey to finding her healthy. Now a qualified clinical Nutritionist (BHSc), sharing evidence-based, fad-free information while sharing her daily life as a T1 Diabetic, we have no doubt that you will soon love Nina as much as we do.
Q1: Tell us about young Nina! Where did you grow up, what were you like as a child and do you have any quirky traits?
A: I was born in Switzerland, in the beautiful city of Luzern, until my family and I migrated to Australia when I was 6 years old. Since then, we’ve lived in the small coastal town of Dunsborough but still go back to Switzerland to visit family every other year. I consider both places home! I was probably what you would describe as a quiet and shy kid growing up. I was very creative, a high achiever, loved being outdoors and being active, but also very insecure now that I look back on it. I can’t think of any quirky traits (to be honest I probably would have hidden them if I did have any!) but since we spoke Swiss German at home and English at school, my mother-tongue quickly became a complete mish-mash of the two – and by that I mean not only mixing languages in the same sentences but even mashing together words!
Q2: What do you do now and why are you so passionate about it?
A: I’m a clinical Nutritionist (BHSc) and I have my own little nutrition practice where I do nutrition consults and coaching with people both face-to-face and all over the world! I also have my blog and Instagram where I share nutrition education, wholesome recipes, mental health chats, real talk, and so much more. I’m also a part-time athlete and a type 1 diabetic, both of which I share lots about too! I am incredibly passionate about what I do because I’ve seen the difference it can make in people’s lives – and I have experienced it first hand. With all the confusing messages, pressure to be/look/eat perfect, fad diets and unrealistic expectations out there, my aim is provide real evidence-based, BS-free nutrition information you can trust, and educate, empower and inspire girls to nourish their body, mind and soul with wholesome food, self love and building themselves up instead of knocking themselves down.
Q3: Do you still experience self-doubt?
A: Hell yes! On the daily! In so many ways from my training (I do CrossFit and weightlifting), career and all other walks of life, but over the years I’ve learnt that we are so much stronger, smarter and more capable than we think. And as long as we keep trying, we aren’t failing, only learning. I know it’s cliché, but I love the quote: ‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right’. It couldn’t be more true!
Q4: What is the most common issue you see amongst girls in your industry?
A: Falling victim to diet culture, and it saddens me so much. Feeling that they need to have this thin body ideal which less than 0.5% of the population naturally have, and falling into the trap of dieting, food rules, guilt and shame around food, and pure confusion from all the BS and conflicting messages out there. So many girls have become so out of touch with their bodies and are looking to external cues to tell them what, when and how much to eat, most are drastically under-eating or struggling with other forms of disordered eating, and just have a negative relationship with food and their bodies. And I want to change that.
Q5: Tell us about a time when you felt “lost”, unhappy or far from your healthy?
A: There was a time as a teenager, I has just started a new high school where I didn’t know anyone and just felt totally lost, and spent far too much time overthinking things. Having type 1 diabetes, I felt so out of control of my own body – like it was betraying me by not working properly, and I fell into a really dark place with food and exercise that cost me my competitive swimming future and almost cost me my life.
Q6: How did you realise that you weren’t living life as the best version of you? What was your wake-up call? How did you feel during that time?
A: I’m forever grateful for my amazing family and an incredible team of professionals who helped me get through that time and start my journey towards health and happiness again – even though I didn’t realise it at the time and spent years fighting against the help they were trying to give me. The true turning point came when I realised that no one was coming to save me. There was no magic answer or fix, I just had to start facing my demons, challenging my fears and pushing through the discomfort. It was the scariest thing I ever did but it was worth every single little bit.
Q7: What would be your #1 piece of advice for your younger self?
A: Start TODAY. I was always waiting for the ‘perfect’ time that I would feel ready and have all the answers, or telling myself I would start tomorrow or next week… Years ended up passing and I was still doing the exact same things that kept me miserable, weak and unhealthy. I missed so many incredible opportunities that I was so passionate about just because of fear of change and that things wouldn’t be ‘perfect’. Truth is, we never feel ready, we just have to show up for ourselves, be strong and do it anyway!
Q8: Social media can be so deceiving! How can the girls remember you as being a “normal” girl, just like themselves!?
A: Hopefully by watching my stories and reading my captions, girls can see just that. I keep things real, raw and honest, and always strive to be my authentic and true self on social media, as well as only ever sharing things that I truly stand behind, and information that I feel confident is the evidence-based truth – no fad diets, photoshop or skinny me teas to be found here!
You can read more about Nina on her website (www.naturally-nina.com) and check out her delicious recipes and nutrition advice on Instagram (@naturally_nina_)