Thirty-one-year-old Samantha Eaton moved to Charlotte from Massachusetts 10 years ago to be closer to her family. Her dad has Parkinson’s disease, and she says, “I didn’t want to wait until he NEEDED me. I wanted more quality time now.” She also completely switched careers, ditching her job in corporate marketing to get trained as a nutritional health coach and start her company Healthy Eaton, where she works with women on changing their approach to eating – she does not believe in diets! We’re excited to help you get to know Samantha Eaton, our newest FACE of Charlotte!
Tell us about your family life.
I live with my husband Shawn of nearly five years and two incredibly adorable French bulldogs, Maddie and Brady. We’re all super homebodies (Netflix & chill!) but also love getting out and exploring the fun activities Charlotte has to offer!
What do you love about what you do?
I’m absolutely obsessed with my job! I LOVE being able to support women in overcoming the same issues that held me back and had me struggling for years. It’s so fulfilling and rewarding. Because of this, I tend to be kind of a workaholic because I have a hard time drawing the line between doing work and just doing what I love!
You stepped away from a corporate career. What was that decision process like?
It wasn’t as decision-based as I had initially thought it would be. I had planned to wait until I was making similar income in my coaching as my corporate job to seamlessly transition, but with a big downsize, I was laid off. As cliché as it sounds, it was a blessing in disguise. I’ve learned since then it would have been nearly impossible to build my business to the point I was hoping while still working a corporate job, and I don’t know if I would have had the courage to make a clean break!
How has your life changed on a day-to-day basis?
In my corporate job, I was less busy than I am now, by far, but every task I had to do, I dreaded. I found it difficult to find any aspect of my job that I enjoyed or looked forward to. That translated to my life outside of work, too. Now that I’m doing a job that I LOVE and am so passionate about, I look forward to everything on my to-do list (okay, for the most part!). I’m now happier, more confident and more driven than ever before. I get to do things that tend to my self-care, so I can show up as my best self and best serve my clients daily.
What does self-care look like for you?
I wake up without an alarm clock, get my workout in early to de-stress and mentally prep myself for the day. I also make homemade meals to fuel my body and stay healthy and energetic.
You’re not the typical diet/fitness coach. Tell us about your philosophy and where it came from.
I’m definitely NOT the typical nutrition coach! It absolutely stems from my own personal journey of what worked/what kept me stuck … for YEARS. I knew which foods were more nutritious than others (veggies vs. processed foods) and would place restrictions on myself for what I should/shouldn’t eat, critique my flaws and body shame myself for motivation … and over-exercise to really rev things up to see the fat just melt off. This translated to me feeling constantly guilty, deprived and out of control around certain foods and stressed and overwhelmed at all of the contradicting nutrition information. I’d always be second-guessing what/how much I should eat, and I was super self-conscious and uncomfortable about my body.
Finally, I hit my diet rock bottom, and enough was enough. I was done devoting so much mental space and energy to my body and my eating habits. I was done missing out on life because I didn’t want to be tempted by unhealthy foods or felt uncomfortable getting my picture taken. I switched my approach from working against my body and a “no pain, no gain” judgmental place to instead working with my body to make mindful choices that focus on health from a place of body kindness.
I quickly found it was way easier, more enjoyable, more delicious and more fun to create sustainable new healthy eating and living habits. And I actually enjoyed the process and saw results way beyond the number on the scale. That is how I approach my health coaching!
What do you love most about working with women?
I love working with women in this capacity because I feel like I’m able to save them so many years of their life without wasting any more time and money stressing about their food choices and being unhappy with their body. They can get their life back and live it to the fullest, and that’s an incredibly rewarding feeling!
What is the hardest part about getting in shape?
For me, it was finding exercise I truly enjoyed. I spent years snoozing away on the elliptical, dreading every second of it, along with all day before I went to the gym just knowing what was ahead of me. But ever since I decided to only focus on things I enjoy, it’s been a breeze. I came across high-intensity interval training and spin classes seven years ago, and I really love both! I look forward to doing them, so that makes me naturally stay in shape. The key is to find something you enjoy.
What is your favorite way to stay in shape?
I love variety, so I mix up my workouts between some high-intensity interval training, some spin classes, some strength/weight lifting-only days, some low-intensity workouts … mixing it up is key to keep my motivation and enjoyment level high so staying in shape is easy. Find your own fun factor!
Who or what inspires you most?
My clients! Seeing the work that they put into their programs and the results they get out of it, especially coming from an initial state of feeling hopeless, is amazing and incredibly inspiring. Every time I hear about their wins/high points, it re-ignites something in me that aligns me to the why behind the work that I do. It is so meaningful to me, and I truly believe I’m serving out my purpose.
What is your go-to snack?
I’m not a huge snacker. I tend to eat really big, loaded meals because I don’t have time to snack. If I was going to go for something, Date & Nut Butter Poppers are my go-to. Super delicious, super quick to make and really keep me full until my next meal.
What is your best advice?
The best thing you could do for your health and happiness is to treat yourself like you love yourself, make choices based on how you want to feel and have fun with it – life’s too short to not eat or not enjoy foods you love!
Aside from faith, family and friends, what three things can you not live without?
My dogs, my hair straightener and chocolate
Thank you, Samantha, for your inspiring story! To learn more about Samantha and her business, Healthy Eaton, visit healthyeaton.com. And, thank you to the wildly talented Piper Warlick of Piper Warlick Photography for the beautiful photos of Samantha.
Meet more amazing local ladies in our FACES section. Click HERE and prepare to be inspired!