She’s energetic, she’s vibrant. Carla Thomas of The Juicy Movement is our featured guest for our 3rd episode of the IGTV Chat which took place on the 13th of October last year talking about her journey in the health and wellness space. At a young age, she may be found to be the typical girl who enjoys dancing and being with her friends. But little do people know, she has fought so many hurdles in her younger years that made her who she is right now. Learn more about her journey towards holistic health and feel yourself being drawn to it as she inspires you with her story and words of inspiration.
Below is her chat with James in text along with the full video of their live talk.
James: Hello! We are live for another episode with Carla Thomas today. Just waiting for her to come online.
Carla: Hello! Oh, wow! You look nice and toasty.
James: Ahh. Well, I’m in a shed.
Carla: Yeah. It’s cold at the moment but the evenings and afternoons are nice. Like I’m still pulling out the ugg boots and it’s like “It’s spring! What’s happening!?”
James: Your dressing gown or hoodie?
Carla: I’m in a hoodie. It’s totally like, it’s the time of the evening now. I’m comfy on my couch. So, I’m totally down and relaxed here.
James: Well it’s not too bad here in a t-shirt. I’m okay. But the hoodie…
Carla: You guys are always warmer than we are.
James: Yeah, well, maybe. Anyway, thank you for taking the time to go live with me today.
Carla: Thank you for having me.
James: For anyone who doesn’t know you, do you want to give yourself a bit of an introduction?
Carla: Yeah, sure! So, if the name hasn’t been given away, I’m Carla Thomas. And my business or brand that I run is Juicy Movement. My background is in aiding the journey in holistic health and holistic health coaching. That’s my mainstream and what I studied at Endeavor College. And so, over the years, I’ve created separate or different branches under the Juicy Movement brand hub. That obviously includes the coaching side of things that includes working with different brands and having affiliates – ambassadorships like with Giving Greens now. It also includes running a health and wellness podcast with a guy called Cal O’ Connell which we are in our 3rd year now. And most recently at the start of this year, I joined the team at the newly-opened Mind-Body Lounge as their collaborator and community coordinator. Pretty much sums me up.
James: I know you do a lot. There are a lot of things. Like did you mention everything? There’s KixxFit…
Carla: Yeah, so I’ve only been on the KixxFit Platform as a health coach. I wrote a book about 4 years ago. I keep saying I might do another one. We’ll see. But, yeah. A lot of different things. Sometimes, it’s difficult to balance them all. However, I think it probably means I like all of them. So I just give up making it work for me.
James: Yeah, of course. One of the things you mentioned on the website is this mind-body medicine? Can you explain that a bit?
Carla: Yes. So, I don’t believe that Endeavour College have that advanced diploma anymore. Specifically when I studied which was through 2010, 2012, they had a diploma in holistic mind and body medicine. And it was run through them in a place called Life Academy in Joondalup. It was brilliant. And the mind-body medicine aspect was actually flowers. So most people are familiar with bush flowers or Australian native bushes which naturopaths use. This one focused on 88 Western Australian different flowers, utilising essences through counselling in therapeutic ways on a subconscious level.
James: Yeah, right. That was a lot different than I thought.
Carla: Yeah. Topically or also you can take it at the back of your tongue, massage – you can use them on acute points. Quite powerful.
James: Yeah, right. And the Juicy Movement. What inspired the start of that and where does the name come from?
Carla: Funnily enough, at the time I was starting to study and also started taking a product called Juice Plus. I end up about 8 months into studying, signing up to a franchise with them. And that just has a lot to do with utilising supplements. I mean now we’re the same ambassador-affiliates I think when it comes to network marketing. It’s like a partner or franchisee, etc. I was sort of doing that as an easy way to earn another part-time income while studying full-time. That was something I was very lucky enough to be around for free. A lot of great business minds and health experts minds. And I realise it would be a great way to potentially then create leverage, sort of climb based to an extent. So when I was ready to, I guess, branch out my own sort of holistic coaching brand and face, I would already have sort of a foundation there to work off. Initially, the juicy movement came about things I was doing with them and then, in the process of doing the book, writing a book which was at the end of 2016. It did launch in May 2017. I sort of just named the book that for the moment because I was utilising that elsewhere. And then my editor and project manager, the team behind it all said “No, we really like the name. And for us, it actually means juicy and vibrant. You know. All sorts of different things. We want to keep that.” So, it wasn’t even meant to be and then I guess from there, it just stuck and became my thing and everything grew from it.
James: Yeah, cool. I like it.
Carla: Aw… Thank you. It worked well in a lot of playful ways now when I look back on it. So yeah, I have to thank them.
James: Yeah, versatile. And I definitely like it. I know I have met so many of the Juice Plus people. I think probably through you initially. I think you might’ve been the first I met and I just got exposed to others all of a sudden.
Carla: I know a few of them are regulars of yours.
Carla: It’s really cool.
James: Yeah. I like them. I want to take a moment and just go back into the past a little bit and find out what Carla’s like growing up and whether or not you really had much of a priority or emphasis on health and wellness as you grow.
Carla: I danced all my life growing up so the aspect of, I guess, you know keeping physically fit was not something I’ve sort of thought of about. You just kind of dance and you know you didn’t have to worry. I think in the teenage years which is pretty common, especially in females, things start to change in your body and you start to take a bit more notice. You know, dieting comes into an aspect. Girls are comparing and everything. So, it wasn’t that I don’t think I didn’t have an interest. I just think that the knowledge we had and education, or lack of education, everything was so backwards. I think that’s where going down that path of you start reading about diets and magazines, or friends come and tell you something, you’re trying this and that, there’s all that comparison mode. I think when you are struggling to also get used to changes, and I was very much like that. It’s hard for people to believe now because I’m so petite but I went through the teenage-like chubbier stage as well. I was never overweight but I was, you know, bigger and I think I was dealing with not, you know, eating raw, what you thought as well and hormones and all the rest of it. And you probably start to go party a little bit as well. So between all of that, I develop a lot of unhealthy habits regarding food and exercise. And, you know, I was struggling mentally as well with anxiety and things are on and off. So, all of that in the end I think really led me to have, I guess, no choice but also universally finding not just with juice plus being sort of an entryway into the idea of whole foods and eating for health, not for staying skinny but for health. And then looking to find something I wanted to study within health and nutrition and came into Endeavour and found the right department for me. I’ve worked in front of the house of the gym as well. And I was exposed to 1 training in particular. I always talk about that, it was so ahead of this time – with how we approach holistic health, that was in 2009 where people will look at you so weird. “What the hell is Keto? What is coconut oil?” You know. “What’s this functional training stuff?” So, by 22, that kind of got me there and I knew that not only I find something I wanted to delve into but I knew that it was without a doubt gonna be of great benefit to me personally.
James: Yeah, sure. I imagine a lot of people don’t develop that awareness of perhaps the habits or the path that they’ll run is not healthy. They don’t realise that. Was there a moment when you realised you had that light bulb moment or you met someone or something where you start to really assess doing and think like this isn’t the way I wanna continue?
Carla: Yeah. Look. I think for me, it was really just being so up and down. You know, I had bulimic habits and tendencies. It wasn’t full time but it was definitely when I was feeling stressed or upset would turn into those habits. You know, I stressed if I hadn’t exercised for a day that I would put on weight. All those things and like I said, I was also in the groups of anxiety and being on medication on and off. You can see how it’s all interlinked now, right? The whole mind-body aspect. You don’t know what you don’t know. But I think as I said I really just hit that point was in 2009 when I was 22 when I was just “I don’t want this to be my life.” “Is this it?” where I was constantly in this battle of finding what I wanna feel like and it was odd and fewer days. So I really think as I said before, it was a combination of just meeting the right people, being at the right place at the right time, finding the right things that interested me that I remember walking out of my first lecture in 2010 and driving home and like a big smile on my face thinking “Okay, this is it. This is what I found, what I’m supposed to be learning.” And that 2010 was probably the biggest, I won’t say I had like overcome everything but it was the biggest 180 I had done in a holistic and healthy way for myself.
James: Yeah, sure. So you mentioned Juice Plus and finding the cause. But what were some of the habits, or the tactics, strategies you actually sort of learned and then started to really implement at the beginning that you think have a massive impact?
Carla: I think for me, everything was always about simplicity and it’s still how I coach these days. One of the things that I often asked to speak about or share or have written in a blog or whatever is my Juicy daily rituals. And then nothing fancy and then just authentically the things that I found or habits that I just picked up and incorporated consistently are what gain those bigger results. Some of those have slightly changed over time. They’re always going to if you’re always checking in and tuning in to how you’re moving and changing what your needs are, they will. But I think the foundation of them has always been there. And one of those is just simple things like if I’m feeling anxious or you know, a bit built up or upset, like “Get outside and get nature. Go for a walk. Go with the dog. Go to the park. Get fresh air and move.” That was the biggest thing for me – learning to move, not out of like physical exercise or burning calories but for mental health. It’s a big reason why I move every day now as well. I absolutely know the impact it has on your focus and mental clarity and happiness and emotions and all the rest of it. So things like that, really delving into personal development. It’s not something when and I hope kids now and I certainly hope if I have kids one day, I’m not gonna separate them from personal development until you’re an adult. Because we didn’t learn life skills. And I think that was super important, it wasn’t something I grew up around. But starting to get into I think one of the first books I really read that had that was “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle. And I was probably about 22 and that was the first kind of thing that delved into this whole kind of higher awareness. So personal development, I think eating right and not staying skinny as I said, learning the power of whole food nutrition and what it actually does on a cellular level for your body and your mind. There are probably the first ones, I think, that are really just started to focus on and incorporate. And I just, I still am now addicted to learning. I just love little biohacking things and just constantly listening to a different podcast or watching something or reading something and just figuring out more about myself at the same time. But they are probably the main sort of few key things and I think, what you’ll find is the minute you just start one habit and start to get consistent it tends to create a catalyst effect and then before you know it that comes back at you. And that naturally, instinctively looking to create or do better or have the energy or the inspiration to have other things. And everything starts to sort of fall in line. It’s a really slow process when you do it holistically. That’s why a lot of people try and take the shortcuts first because it is a journey, you’re not gonna get the results you want straight away. You’ve got to really delve down and I would say, you got to dig into some deep shit if you really want to make some… and that’s not just once. If you want to have a lifestyle that does that, you’ll constantly go through, you know what I mean, these ups and downs. And you know, epiphanies and all the rest of it. We’re always gonna have our moments. But I think having those foundations and principles that you know always help you find your grounding and balance. That’s what I’m trying to teach other people to find, what theirs are and then always look to how they can check-in and rehash or revamp or change and you know, zig and zag through them.
James: Yeah. It’s powerful to have that foundation to go back to because no matter what happens in your life as you know, you can always go back to just kind of, not quite zero but it’s a good place to start. Once you do start to open up your awareness to like what is possible, even if you can make yourself feel 1/10th better than what you have been feeling, it does make you realise “Oh wait, I can possibly do that again.” and find something that will keep you going. And then starts this entire journey of like “What’s the next thing I can do to make myself feel better?” or like “How much better could I be feeling?” I remember having that first experience when I started seeing a personal trainer when I was 19. I was fairly active at that time, eating crappy food but he kind of educated me on nutrition and had me working out. And I just have this massive change in energy levels. It was incredible. It has inspired me to become a personal trainer as well. There’s always knowing that there’s like another level of better.
Carla: And I think that’s the key. What you just said, it’s always about “How do I build on this?” “How do I get better?” “How do I evolve?” And so when people talk about fearing the ageing process, it’s not like things are gonna change. I’m 34 now but there are a lot of ways, I feel even better, I’m more confident and sure and stronger. Physically and mentally, I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. And I think it’s always going back to those non-negotiables as well, those like foundation and principles. But you know it will always help reset you when you have faceplant moments.
James: Working with clients, what do you think some of the biggest hurdles for them are when you first start working with them? What are the things, some of the things, that come up repeatedly that you have to really push through?
Carla: I think, to be honest, it’s just trying to do everything at once. You know, people have this “Tomorrow everything’s gonna change.” and it’s like “No, it’s not.” So I’m very realistic like with clients. And I’m very open that this is how I… this is my story. Everything I teach and coach, it’s from what I’ve learned also personally. How I approach life authentically. It may not be for you but this is how I work. So if you’re looking for some, you know, if it’s just about weight loss, not health, if it’s just about a quick fix and something you want in 6 weeks and unsustainable, not me. So I think teaching them to understand health is a lifestyle versus this whole, “I’ve been good. I’ve been in the gym for a month. I haven’t gone again. I’ve been eating really healthy.” That’s not it. That’s not how it’s supposed to work. When you live a certain way, it’s not an “I’m having a good week…bad.” It’s just life. You know. And so the whole, I think, trying to teach them about creating a healthy lifestyle versus just for a certain amount of time, and understanding, and I think, to confusion. That’s the biggest hurdle. There’s so much information now which could be both good and bad because it is confusing. Everyone’s getting told what to do and I think I’ve always been taught to find, as I said, those holistic dots that make up that circle. Not just eating and it’s not just exercise. It’s all the components including your relationships and connections and “you” time and all those types of things. So helping them discover what that looks like for them. To me, that’s empowering someone and that’s how I have to figure it out for myself. I had to try some of the different ways and you know, just get curious, I guess, and not see anything as a failure to figure out what sort of works for me. So I think trying to empower my clients to not look for just a handbook and “Here you go. Do this.” But rather, “Hey let’s figure this out together. What does health look like to you? What do you want to look like, feel like at your very best? Let’s find that.”
James: Yeah, cool. Amazing. Alright, I’m gonna close off with one last question. Before I do that, I guess, how can people find you besides Instagram? How can they get in touch with you?
Carla: Yeah, so Instagram is probably the best. If not, you can email me at email@example.com or find me on my website www.carlathomas.com.au. And then, of course, Facebook – Carla Thomas – The Juicy Movement, my work one. And that’s probably all of my stuff, otherwise, LinkedIn and Podcast as well.
James: Yeah, of course. They see you at Podcast.
Carla: Yes, thank you.
James: Alright. So the last question. What does living a healthy and happy life mean to you?
Carla: I answered that but it always sorts of changes slightly. I think a happy, healthy life for me just equals peace and contentment. I think it’s been aligned with my values. I think we are all living each day doing things that matter to you and your purpose. It doesn’t mean you’re never gonna have days that throw crap at you or are a little bit overwhelming or don’t go the way you want. But when you’re actually happy and content in yourself, there’s peace no matter what else is going on around you. And I think when you can find that and that sense of calm, then you’re living in happiness and health. That’s what it’s supposed to look like. And energy! Energy to me is what health is. It’s not what you look like physically or what’s on your plate, it’s what you vibrate and you know that. It’s how people show up here or when they are in your room. There’s something about it that you just can’t help but be sort of attracted and drawn into. To me, energy is really health.
James: Yeah, of course. And energy is infectious. I think you are definitely a very, very high energy person.
Carla: Thank you! I get excited about this kind of stuff, so… yeah. I love talking about this. And I love being able to talk about it and I think we all do. We need to find the people that are just excited about all of this nerdy health stuff.
James: Yeah, I agree. I absolutely agree. Alright, well let’s wrap up. Thank you very much for taking the time to have this chat with me. I’m super stoked. I can’t remember how long ago. It must have been years ago that we first interacted on Instagram.
Carla: Must be a couple of years ago now. I feel like it’s more but I was looking back not long ago finding pictures. And I think it was like maybe 2 years ago, if.
James: Yeah, a while ago. And you’ve connected me with so many great people so I’m really grateful for that. So, thank you.
Carla: And thank you for what you do. And honestly, I really am just so happy to be onboard with microgreens. It’s just you have such a wonderful and authentic, just genuine care and heart for what you do in wanting to make a difference. And that’s infectious. And there are people that I wanna work with and connect with. It’s not hard. So, thank you for believing in, I guess, your vision and dream and it’s been wonderful to see how much microgreens are growing as well.
James: Yeah… So, thank you very much. It has… yeah. It keeps growing. Amazing.
Carla: Yes! I saw you’re at May Street Larder now which used to be one of my local regulars too. So that’s cool.
James: Yep, they’re the new ones. Cool. New ones come on board all the time and it’s just fantastic. Super exciting.
James: All very busy but very good.
Carla: Yes, yes. I hear you. I get it.
James: Alright. I’m gonna let you go. Thank you very much again and enjoy the rest of your night. Speak to you soon.
Carla: Yeah, thanks so much, James. And anyone that has hopped on. Appreciate it. See you guys!
James: Thank you. Bye.