Bach contestant Jay is a nutritionist, this is what she eats in a day to stay in shape

Body+Soul meets the cast of ladies gracing our screens for The Bachelor 2021.

What’s the most extravagant thing you’ve done for love?

I am a complete romantic and my love language is gifting and acts of service so I really do go all out, both for my boyfriends, friends and family too.

I’m known for my love of organising surprise birthday parties and adventures, but I would say the most extravagant was creating a whole day of favourite things for my boyfriend at the time. I created a whole itinerary with locations and times etc. It was a jam packed day, but so lovely to share those wonderful experiences and create memories.

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What helps you get in the zone when you’re really nervous before a date?

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I sometimes get nervous, but I normally go for a run in the mornings so that helps work off the nervous energy and then I just wing it.

I’m 32 now, and I think that life’s too short to worry about silly things. Plus, I always remind myself that by doing it I might gain a friend or even better meet my future partner, which pushes those negative thoughts to the bottom of the pile.

What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on? What happened?

I arranged to meet up with a guy for dinner and drinks and unfortunately was a little bit late, by about 15 minutes. When I got there he had brought his dog with him and he was already quite drunk. Firstly, he asked me to drive his car to the dinner place as he was over the limit.

Then on arrival, his dog took his own chair and my date ordered dinner and a cocktail for both me and the dog. When the plates arrived he started a photoshoot for what seemed like an age before the dog could tuck in. Needless to say there was no chemistry, but it was comical and the dog was super cute. Great memory though.

What’s the most extreme thing you’ve done in the name of health and wellness?

I’ve done a lot of extreme things in the name of health and wellness, such as being dedicated to training to play for the Fijian National Netball team. I’d exercise and train three hours a day, five times a week when I was preparing for the trials in the hopes I would get into the Commonwealth Games.

I was lucky to make the team, but shortly after I injured my knee (ACL) and I was unable to recover in time.

However in my line of work as a Nutritionist and Group Trainer extreme is not necessarily good! I learnt that the hard way.

Also, when I was younger, I wrote myself a meal plan, specifically with a breakdown of the macronutrients and calories, I then tracked all of my food and liquids for the entire week and made sure I ate exactly what I had prescribed myself. This gave me far too much control and was far too extreme. I soon realised this wasn’t a healthy way to live at all as my ability to train was hampered by poor energy.

I am grateful for this extreme period in my life as it also helped me in my profession as a nutritionist, as my approach for all of my clients is to educate them on an achievable lifestyle change rather than a strict regimented diet. No-one should ever feel ruled by meals.

Do you have any wellness rituals you swear by?

I run most mornings, around 5-10km, I use this as my meditation. There’s just something about running, and blasting my favourite music… the daily run also helps me balance out my love for cookies.

I also do a combination of weight and strength training to keep myself toned. It’s a good easy balance that fits nicely in with my lifestyle in the long term.

What does a typical week of exercise look like to you? What’s your approach to fitness?

After having such a regimented training schedule with netball, I now only do exercises I enjoy. Life is too short to spend an hour hating what you are doing! I’ve found over time that if I enjoy it, I’ll keep it up.

As I mentioned I run most mornings to set myself up for the day, and then I’ll add in a few weight sessions which I do with my Personal Trainer, who is also my housemate. I also cycle a lot around the city so that’s a nice change up too.

What does a day on a plate look like to you?

Well, I’d be lying if I said I ate healthy all of the time. For me it’s all about balance. A lot of people I meet are shocked at some of the things I eat considering I am a nutritionist, but my philosophy to a healthy, happy life is that most things are ok in moderation.

In the morning I usually have eggs on toast with a bit of spinach, then for lunch a wrap or chicken salad. Then for dinner it’s usually whatever is going. I’m a social eater so often my housemate and I often cook balanced meals of chicken, sweet potato and vegetables.

Typically once a week I have takeaways, whether it be pizza, Vietnamese, or Japanese… and yes of course, I have dessert almost every night. During the week I usually have a couple of pieces of dark chocolate, or Greek yoghurt with a bit of protein powder, but on the weekends, there will definitely be a cookie or two, or even Gelato ice cream.

I try not to obsess over eating “healthy” foods, I also try to think of food as nourishment and energy, and something to enjoy, rather than something to feel guilty about.

Did you change your diet before going on The Bachelor?

No, the beauty of having a healthy lifestyle is that I didn’t diet before The Bachelor. I was eating a pretty similar diet to what I eat now, the only difference was that I was exercising more, because it was Summer and the weather was a lot warmer. I played a lot of tennis, and went for more walks with friends.

Whilst studying nutrition, I experimented with so many different diets, and what I found was that none of them were sustainable. The majority of them caused me more stress than anything to be honest. So I choose not to take the diet approach. I do this with my clients as well, in the sense I give them a meal plan based on their goals, but I make sure it is something that fits into their lifestyle and what will be sustainable for them.

What are the simple things you do for self-care and to look after your mental health? Why are these important to you?

Self-care is a non-negotiable for me and mine is made up of these five factors:

  • Some form of exercise be it running, walking, cycling.
  • Doing something nice for someone else. This gives me positive energy to see someone brighten up
  • Learn something new every day, even if it is as little as a new word or educating myself on social issues
  • Speaking to loved ones (friends and family)
  • Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day

I do these things because they all align with my life values. I feel that if you do things that align with your values, you will always feel fulfilled mentally.

Find out more about Jay, 32 on her Instagram @jacintalal_nutritionist

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