Interview with Madison Surdyke
Madison is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach on a mission to help you transform your mindset, find total food freedom and end the war with your body, so you can live the life of your dreams. Her work goes beyond food and body image; it’s about self-love, reclaiming your freedom in life and discovering your greater purpose. Check out Sunny Thymes here
What is your ultimate goal for the blog? What do you want your readers to take away?
My ultimate goal for Sunny Thymes is to be able to impact millions of people and help them make peace with food and their body. I want them to take away that health is about so much more than just food and exercise. It's about your mental health, your spirituality, your relationships, your career satisfaction and its really, I hate to say the word ignorant, but it is ignorant to think that food and exercise are the only factors in your health because they absolutely aren't. I'd love for my readers to take away that you are the only expert on your own health. No one else is an expert in your health. You are the only human in the entire world who has lived in your body and knows what that feels like. I think it's really important to take the time to check in with yourself, notice how different things make your body feel, and continue pursuing the things that make your body feel good. As well as honoring what your individual needs are, which you know deep down intuitively. It can definitely be really hard at first, you really have to work through rejecting the culture of dieting and all the misguided messages we see from the world about weight and health. Once you've really unpacked that, then it's easier to focus on you and your needs and honoring those needs in a way that feels safe, good and nourishing to you.
Hi Madison! Could you please introduce Sunny Thymes and what led you to found the blog earlier this year?
Sunny Thymes is a blog focused on intuitive eating, which is listening to your own body to guide your food and exercise choices. It means not listening to any diets or external cues, but really focusing on internal cues like your hunger, fullness, and satisfaction and getting in tune with your body. Intuitive eating comes from a weight inclusive perspective. It's not about losing weight, it's not about gaining weight. It's not about the way your body looks. It's truly about tuning into what your body needs and honoring those individual needs in a way that feels right for you. Ultimately, this has been shown to actually improve health by listening to your own body. That's kind of the premise behind Sunny Thymes. I had wanted to start a food blog for several years before creating it but I didn't just want to share recipes. I felt like I wanted to share more of a message, and after I read the book Intuitive Eating, it resonated with me so much and I was so sure that that was the message I was meant to share. I've kind of blended that with also sharing really yummy recipes because cooking is definitely a passion of mine. I share a variety of recipes so that my readers can check them out and discover which ones feel good in their body and they can also learn about intuitive eating while they're checking out my blog.
What has been the feedback from the community regarding Sunny Thymes? What have been some of your most successful posts?
A lot of the feedback that I get from readers is that I'm opening up their eyes to a new way of looking at food and their health and that means the world to me. People will tell me that they didn't even realise that their relationship to food was really disordered and after discovering my blog and learning more about intuitive eating, they're able to trust and listen to their body so much more. That's been really meaningful to get that feedback. I have actually been getting more feedback that I should put myself out on video more, hence why I agreed to do these videos. In terms of my most successful post, the very top post on my blog is actually my loaded Mediterranean hummus recipe, which is super delicious. I honestly haven't been able to pinpoint why this one was the most successful but the hummus is delicious so you should check it out. Then the next most popular one is actually my sweet potato black being taquitos. They're probably one of my favorite recipes ever they're crunchy and flavorful and easy to make. A lot of my bowls that I make are really popular. I make what I call a 'sunny bowl' and it's usually some sort of lettuce, a grain like quinoa, some vegetables, avocado, sweet potato. It's a bowl of yummy, delicious colorful foods. Those bowls are usually popular. Recently my introduction to Intuitive Eating series of blog posts has been really popular as well because it really just gives a very good foundation and overview about what intuitive eating is.
How has your time working with Mercer influenced your work with Sunny Thymes? What are some of the most integral lessons you've taken from your time with the company?
My time at Mercer has mostly influenced my work on Sunny Thymes from a project management standpoint. I did a lot of project management work at Mercer and that has translated into my work on Sunny Thymes. I've always been super organised and on top of everything but managing your own life and your own tasks is very different from managing a team of people. I feel like that's been like really helpful and being able to manage all of the million things I have going on on my blog. I became a project management professional a certified PMP through my work at Mercer so that was probably the most helpful thing from working at Mercer. Some of the biggest lessons I took away from my time at Mercer is that no one's going to hold your hand and walk you on the path to success. I found that you have to create your own path and drive your own success. That could be taking on new projects and showing what your really good at or working extra hard, or asking for the promotion rather just sitting back and waiting for it. In a big corporate company you definitely have to create your own path to success.