Jenelle Dae - Wholehearted Living

Jenelle Dae - Wholehearted Living

February 18, 2021

When asked to describe what she does, Jenelle explains that "...on the surface, I’m a food and healthy lifestyle blogger. But like many of my readers, I’m so much more! I’m an athlete, a friend, a life coach, a workout buddy, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a picky eater, a fun Calgarian". We had a chance to sit down and discuss what wholehearted living is, and how we can all tap into our more authentic sense of self.

How did you get started into your creative work? What made you want to share your experiences to help others?

The Jenelle Dae brand started after I made a conscious choice to change the way I was living. And not just in eating habits, it extended to my work life, home life, and general well-being. I have a competitive nature and want to succeed in all that I do.  After many burnout cycles I found myself in my early thirties suffering from high cortisol levels, adrenal fatigue, slow metabolism, and mood swings. I was just putting too much pressure on myself. For someone with an education in kinesiology and a passion for fitness, workouts were really important to me and a coping mechanism for dealing with stress. However, I was at a point where I couldn’t even complete a workout without having a migraine or wanting to throw up afterwards. We know that exercise contributes to better sleep, reduced stress, and overall good physical health, so this was posing a big problem. I found that when I started sharing my struggles and experiences with others in my community and online, it took some pressure off as I realized I was not the only one who puts too much pressure on themselves, compares themselves to everyone around them, or has a mile long to-do list all while still switching out roles of parent, friend, employee, sibling, spouse, etc. 

When I graduated from the University of Calgary and jumped into the fitness industry,  I quickly fell victim to society’s standards of what "healthy" is and what I thought my body should look like. Now that I'm older and wiser, (hello thirties) I’ve had time to explore the relationship between what you put into your body, how to use your body, and the other domains of your life that you may not realize can impact your wellness. 

What is your favourite area to work on; fitness, recipes & cooking, or lifestyle tips & advice?

I’ll draw a parallel here from something that I’m sure resonates with everyone; You know when you were a kid and you asked your mom who their favorite child was, and the response was always the same,  “I love all my kids all equally”. I know it’s super cliché, but this is exactly how I feel about the three pillars of my brand. Of course, I will say that  I’ve always gravitated towards fitness based on my education and love for sports. I was on skates before I could walk. My dad built an outdoor rink in our backyard to let us practice (Yay for cold winters in Calgary)! I could throw a ball before I could write - and you could make the argument that my throw is better than my grammar. Even to this day I spend a few hours a week at the community outdoor rink with friends to get a sweat going and remind myself that I shouldn’t quit my day job. Sports and movement have been a constant my entire life. There is a level of respect for yourself when you choose to move your body everyday. My hope is that people remove the punishment of working out and shift to a mindset of honoring your body. A positive of this pandemic is that I have discovered the absolute beauty of this province. I have explored more lakes, forests, and mountains than I ever had. And guess what? My body was moving while I did it. 

But I don’t want you to think that fitness is my favorite - who doesn’t love a delicious dessert? All of my brain cells are fully intact. I will not turn down a single thing on the menu at Peter’s Drive in. But my philosophy is that food is fuel, designed to meet the demands of your body physically, socially, and psychologically. You can use some foods to help muscles recover when consumed as a post workout snack; or other foods in a way to celebrate with loved ones - like when indulging in a slice of birthday cake; or a glass of wine to reward yourself after a busy day at work in the comfort of your own home. In a time where we are dealing with more food sensitivities and allergies (every menu now has those gluten free or dairy free options) we have had to be more conscious of what we put in our body. My family has always been central to my happiness and we are a recipe-sharing, bread-breaking group. So naturally, my foundation is tied closely to creating recipes and dishes that nurture your body but never sacrifice the joy of eating.

As for lifestyle tips and advice - you can’t really have a passion for health and wellness without a desire to develop an insight into lifestyle tips, because it’s all so interconnected. Food, fitness, social and psychological wellbeing; it's all a part of life. Life can be crazy, messy, unpredictable, exciting, and so much fun. But the best part about living life is your ability to share it. I’m a sucker for a good date night idea, or a DIY tip from pinterest, or sharing my evening routine with others. So you will find all of that and more in this section on my website. 

What tips would you give someone trying to change their habits and start living a healthier lifestyle?

The beautiful thing about being you is that you’re a unique individual. There is nobody else in this world like you, so I can’t give a cookie cutter answer, or a one-size-fits-all solution. But I would start by asking you a crucial question: why do you want to change? The why will always drive you to take action. And there is no shame in your why, it can be a philosophical goal to find deeper meaning in life, or more superficial in just wanting to have 6-pack abs because you think they’re badass. It can be that thing that when you think about it it brings tears to your eyes, it makes your heart beat faster, and your palms sweat. It may even embarrass you. But whatever it may be, you can visualize what life will look like once you achieve it. Once you have that locked in, I’ll help you to find the tools to get there. This could be in the form of a workout program, coaching, or monthly challenges. Just like in the way that everyone is a different learner, I’ll get to know you to help develop a plan that works for you. Maybe you’re a visual person. Maybe you’re hands on. Maybe you need a kick in the butt everyday to get going! Once we find what works best for you, we’ll identify your barriers and work with what you’ve got. Working out with no weights? Let’s fill a milk crate with books from the local used book store. Don’t have space to work out? We’ll use the many places you can find in Calgary to be your personal gym. Maybe your issue is mental health and not fitness - we can help find your oasis. You will get a plan of action and once we remove barriers to ensure that you can consistently follow through, the habit will take over and the results will come!

What content are you hoping to put out in the future and what can we look forward to?

I’m currently working on an introduction to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) program. There will be downloadable PDF’s available, as well as youtube videos to match the handouts to help guide you along. This resource is perfect for all of us cooped up at home and need some motivation to get your body moving. It will also likely get your endurance up for hiking season!

It’s important to realize that I’m not a finished product either, I’m always striving to grow in different ways. On this journey I’m finding myself perusing a ton of self-help literature and picking out things for my own tools, and part of my lifestyle tips will include some book recommendations, ted talks, or quick reads that help me when things get tough.

Another thing to look forward to is community involvement. Right now we’re still a pretty small operation, but I’m working to partner with local brands and community groups to get the good word out and hopefully help lift each other up!

How do you stay motivated to live wholeheartedly?

I genuinely get excited to see who I'm going to become in one year or five years. The more I tap into my authentic self, the easier it is to live more wholeheartedly. Living wholeheartedly to me means spending less time worrying about the little things, stop searching for quick solutions to problems, putting too much pressure on achieving goals, and chasing the next greatest fad. You are not defined by the struggles you encounter or the success you have, but rather, the courage and compassion you cultivate to live the life you want to lead. Alberta runs through my DNA. I would not be where I am if it was not for the community, friends, and family that live right here in Alberta. I try to tap into that person everyday when I explore our beautiful mountains, skate on an outdoor rink, or cook up locally sourced beef from our farmers. 

What’s your favourite part about living in Alberta? Show us your #MadeinAB!

There are many that come to mind, but in this winter wonderland that we are in right now, it's gotta be the outdoor adventures. I believe our backyard is one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. From skating on our frozen lakes, to canoeing in emerald water, it is just magical! There are so many winter and summer adventures to choose from, you never get bored. This pandemic has forced a lot of people to rethink what they do for fun, but I’m finding myself with either a pair of hiking boots or hockey skates on every weekend. While nothing beats the escape of standing at the top of a mountain - I will say that carving up a clean sheet of ice is a close second. I’m surprised at how many outdoor rinks there are in Calgary!

How can our readers get in touch with you or follow along this journey with you?

You can head to to grab my recipes, workout plans, and lifestyle tips. But if you want to see my face on the regular - hit up Jenelle Dae on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube! Drop me a line, I would love to hear your story!

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