Today we’d like to introduce you to Alec Treffers.
Alec, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up with sports being a core part of who I was – and still am. I played competitive soccer and volleyball through high school and went on to play NCAA D1 volleyball at Arizona State University. Unfortunately, I blew my knee out freshman year. I mean, blew out EVERYTHING – MCL, PCL, ACL and meniscus, all at once. The next 11 months were spent in rehab every day, and while that was physically draining, what people don’t talk about enough is how much of a mental toll the injury has on you. I was 19 when all of this happened and it shook me to my core because, at the time, volleyball was my life. I felt like a big part of my identity had been stripped from me. With the future of my volleyball career out of my control, I sought for control in other areas of my life and put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect in everything else I did. A big part of that was “looking perfect.” I became obsessed with eating super clean and secretly working out even after hours of rehab – and ironically I eventually lost control and became addicted to perfection. My approach to health had become quite the opposite of “healthy.”
Fast forward to grad school, where my love for cooking really brought me out of that ugly space. I eventually started my Instagram account, @WhatAlecEats as a space to share my recipes, favorite food hacks and as a personal exercise to help me truly find a healthy relationship with food. It has been a couple of years since I started @WhatAlecEats, and while I still regularly post recipes, it has grown to be and mean so much more to me. My biggest aspiration with my page is to inspire the healthy spirit animal in others, with recipes, nutrition tips (since I am also a certified health coach and nutritionist) and to motivate others in changing how they mentally approach fitness and their goals. Nothing makes me happier than helping others achieve their goals, and more so – to help them see they are stronger and more capable than they believed they were.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My health journey has not been a smooth road, by any means. What I have learned along the way though is the value of being patient and having determined endurance. I think there is this perception that people who have “made it” or are in great shape are more motivated than those that aren’t. Motivation is one tiny part of it, but motivation runs out, and it runs out fast for almost everyone. Discipline is what carries you through. I have learned to be disciplined in my journey and to be okay with being uncomfortable, to be okay with failing and to no longer be paralyzed by the need to be perfect. I genuinely choose to see every situation and obstacle in my life as simply that – a situation or obstacle. It is not my life and it does not define my future and that my goals are always worth fighting for. I used to focus so much on my physical appearance in my early 20s and used that as how I would measure my happiness and success, but as soon as I started focusing on changing my mind (versus my body) and pushing myself mentally, giving power and attention to positive thoughts – I found the healthiest version of myself. And, funny enough, the reward in all of that has been that I am in the best shape of my life.
What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
What don’t I do these days feels like the right question, haha. @WhatAlecEats is my side hustle. My main gig is public relations at Taco Bell Corp., where my passion for food and health crosses over since I get to work with some amazingly talented people to spread the good word on things like removing artificial flavors and colors from our menu, switching over to cage-free eggs in our food, reducing sodium across the board and bringing a certified vegetarian menu to our restaurants. When I am not in the office, I am working out, in my kitchen creating recipes, working with a select number of clients for 1:1 health coaching and prioritizing my social life – because being healthy is much more than just what you eat and how much you work out; it is a balance of all things that fill your plate up, and my family and friends are that for me. I am always thinking about what more I want to do to expand what originally just started as @WhatAlecEats on Instagram, so hopefully there is more to share on that in the near future.
So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well-positioned for?
110%. You can choose to see situations as obstacles or opportunities. It is really about how you mentally approach your goals and your life. I play this game in my head a lot when I find myself complaining about my situation – I realize that more times than not if I were to throw my problems into a pile with everyone else’s, I would almost always take back my problem versus picking up someone else’s. It is so valuable to identify your limiting beliefs and what is holding you back and choosing to give power to a solution versus sabotaging yourself by all the things you could choose to use as an excuse or barrier to success.
- Instagram: @WhatAlecEats