An interview with Erin Bahadur
...on addiction, recovery, and how being healthy is an inside job
As a Chicago blogger, personal trainer, and food connoisseur, Erin Bahadur knows a thing or two about health, but the road wasn't always easy. Erin is also recovering from a drug and alcohol addiction that nearly took her life. After finding her light and focusing on herself, Erin is now helping others find their healthy and happy, from the inside out.
I wanted to check-in with Erin and find out how she got started in the wellness scene, where she's at with her recovery journey, and where she's going next. I'm so excited to have her on TWR as my April guest in a monthly series I call Meet the SQUAD. I know you will enjoy down to earth mentality, openness, and postitive vibes as much as me!
Everyone, meet Erin.
1. So tell us, who is Erin’s Inside Job?
Hello! So my name is Erin, I’m 33, and I’m currently living in Chicago with my husband and dog named Donut. I split my time between running my own personal training business and second business I finally set up last year for my blog. Up until last year I was also a fitness instructor, but phased that out as the other two things started to pick up.
I started my blog in 2014 because I figured I had something important to say. I’m a recovering addict and because I’m not what stereotypes portray addicts to be, I thought it was important to show that it’s a disease that doesn’t discriminate. I wanted to give hope to others that it’s possible to recover and help explain addiction a little better to those who have had no experience with it.
Over the years, I fine-tuned my message and it’s more of an overall health and wellness blog now. I write about how to find your balance mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I love helping people which is why I became a personal trainer. I also had issued with over exercising and disordered eating in my past, so I knew I could take what I had been through and be there for people one on one.
In my free time, I love exploring the city to find new things to eat (and take pictures of), playing with Donut, and relaxing in my favorite way: tea, candle, and book.
2. What would your ideal day look like?
This is actually what I’m working on right now. Since I do both personal training and the blog, I’m trying to separate the days in which I do both. I’m not great at switching from one mode to another, so I’m working to keep training on certain days and blog work/writing on others so that I can give each my full concentration.
No matter what day it is, I like to start my day with a workout at 6 am. This gets it out of the way, I’m less likely to find an excuse to skip it, and then I have the rest of the day ahead of me. I come home, have breakfast, and make tea. My tea routine is my favorite in the morning. When I was starting to do both of these things, my days would be packed from morning until night, but I’ve been able to slow it down to more normal working hours. That’s ideal for me. Being able to be home for dinner to be with my husband and my dog for hours before going to sleep is something that I’ve strived to be able to do.
3. Being in the wellness industry, what does the word “healthy” mean to you?
Healthy is such a loaded term and means so many things to so many people. It’s extremely individual, yet it’s used as blanket statement that sometimes could make people feel worse if their version is different from the one they’re being exposed to.
To me, healthy is what makes you feel good about yourself. It’s more than just physical health – there’s mental, spiritual, and emotional as well. Getting enough sleep is healthy for me. Sometimes eating clean is healthy for me and sometimes eating donuts is healthy for me because it’s something that also helps me with my mental and emotional health.
I think people need to realize that healthy is what you make it.
4. Your blog focuses on “wellness from within.” Can you describe what that means to you?
So for many years I focused on the external so that people wouldn’t realize I was having trouble. I rationalized that if I looked a certain way, no one would ask my questions and I could continue fooling others (as well as myself). It got to a point where I was the fittest and slimmest I had ever been, yet I was also the saddest. It’s one of those lightbulb moments where I realized that true wellness is something you need to start with from the inside. It’s about loving, understand, and taking care of yourself first and that will be reflected on the outside.
5. You’re very open about your past drug and alcohol addiction. How has that shaped your outlook on life?
Well for one thing it’s made me grateful for it! I used almost exclusively by myself and any one of those times could have been the last time. I’m lucky to be here today, which is something that I try to remember pretty frequently.
Secondly, it’s made me more empathetic towards others. Since I was living such different lives, I’m always able to remember that you never know what’s going on with another person. That’s helped me judge less. I’ve also realized that the most interesting people are those who have gone through struggles and come out on the other side. It’s not that I welcome hard times, but I understand that those situations are really the ones who shape who we are and I’m not as scared of them when they arise.
6. Biggest fitness myth and what to do instead?
Hmmm there’s so many haha. I think the one I’ve been heating lately is some clients want to focus on more core movements so that they will shrink their waistlines. I’m sorry to disappoint, but what’s going to have the most effect there is your diet. Your core can be worked by doing many other compound movements, but it’s not going to guarantee that you get a flat stomach. The kitchen is where that happens.
7. How do you stay fueled throughout your day?
Luckily I’m able to come and go throughout a lot of the day, so I have access to my kitchen. I’m pretty boring in that I find a meal I like and I make it over and over again until I get sick of it. Then I just find a new meal. So I just make sure that I’m always stocked with a good selection of foods and I eat when I’m hungry.
8. You’ve got some serious goals set for yourself. What’s in store for Erin’s Inside Job in the coming year?
So I’ve been working on a book since forever about my journey with addiction which fell to the wayside when I had some difficulties in my marriage and was also diagnosed with depression. I picked it back up again last fall and have been scheduling time to work on it so that I don’t let it slip away again. I’m hoping I can get that done and out this year.
I’m also really starting to structure things better in my business so that I can be as productive as I can and help the blog grow since that’s my true passion. I also want to do more workshops this year since the ones I had last year went really well!
9. The most motivating advice you’ve ever received?
I’m trying to think of a catchy quote but I think probably the biggest thing is just to stop comparing. It’s so easy to compare two completely difficult journeys and feel like yours isn’t good enough. Once I realized that life is what YOU make of it, I felt more confident moving forward with my ideas.
10. If you had to choose between a year’s supply of donuts or the opportunity to travel the world, what would you choose?
Ha I think I would pick travel because then I could just buy different donuts all over the world. 😊
11. What does the phrase “girl, get after it” mean to you?
It means to just go for what you want. Don’t worry about other people, don’t let your own insecurities hold you back, just work hard and aim for those goals!
12. Where can we find you?
@erinsinsidejob for all other social media!
Erin wearing the #GIRLGETAFTERIT Grey Crewneck
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#GIRLGETAFTERIT is a girl squad movement; connecting women all across the world through one simple hashtag to collectively work on the outside and connect on the inside. Thank you for wanting to be a part of the girl squad everywhere <3