Using both her life’s pain and triumphs as fuel, celebrity fitness guru, plant-based super athlete and total body-mind-spirit cover model Mandy Gill shows us all what happiness we can have when we claim responsibility for our own contentment and embrace our beautiful, authentic selves.
Today she is featured in magazines, endorsed by national athletic and fashion brands, regularly booked as a fitness and nutrition expert and motivational speaker, and has appeared hundreds of times on talk format and morning television programs. Yet, the wisdom that she shares was not learned in school or in books, but rather through struggle, hitting bottom, getting up again, choosing to survive—and ultimately deciding to thrive.
At five years old, Mandy thought she had lost everything. Her father filed for divorce; her grandfather died; her mother lost her job, fell into a deep depression resulting in suicidal thoughts, and ended up in a psychiatric hospital.
Mandy was confused. And while she was dearly cared for, Mandy felt as if it was her responsibility, at least in her own mind, to take care of everyone, and vowed to make all well again.
Months had passed before her mother checked herself out of the hospital—ready to be Mum again—the first of many returns to ‘normal’ that would not last long enough. But lack had settled in and normal was in short supply. The carefree days of childhood were gone.
One afternoon, Mandy came home from childcare, hungry, only to face a new low. In her mom's half-empty home she searched bare kitchen cupboards, using stools and her tiptoes, to find only a single can of mushrooms. “That’s all we had left,” Mandy recalls. She had a choice that five-year-olds shouldn’t have: Eat the mushrooms right then as an after school snack, or wait and share with her family for dinner later? Mandy weighing hunger pains against an instinct to nurture in this small measure. She chose to share.
“That was the moment,” Mandy recalls, “Looking at that can of mushrooms. After that I became restrictive.”
Mandy took on the role of fixer and made a constant effort to be the family glue and cheerleader. Yet, no matter how hard she tried, she could not fix what was broken or fill the empty spaces.
Developmental years of self-doubt manifest into insecurity, anxiety, depression, a struggle with her school grades, and body image issues that became deadly anorexia. She had the misguided belief that if she managed what she ate, she would have choices in her circumstances. She recalls, "I thought that if I could eat just five grapes a day, and feel okay, then maybe I could go down to four. I could give myself these choices.”
She was a child turning into a teenager and starting to become aware of the ideals of beauty and ultra-thinness portrayed in magazines and on the internet. “I remember reading Seventeen Magazine at thirteen years old and I thought that the only way that I can find love and have somebody love me is if I can match that,” she explains, adding, “I didn’t understand the body’s purpose, nor did I really care.”
Her rock-bottom was 80 pounds at eighteen. What she had been doing wasn’t working, and it wasn’t fixing anything. Life was slipping away. Mandy was literally and figuratively sick of less. She yearned for more for her life—more freedom, more love, more acceptance, more energy and more health. She had been taking her pain out on her body and knew that it had to stop.
At last, she made a new decision: to learn everything she could about health and happiness and take back her life. She says, “I wanted to live and I wanted extraordinary experiences in life. I realized that I needed my body to take me there.”
Mandy learned that healing and self-acceptance take patience and come from within, not from without. She recalls her very powerful epiphany, "All of this ignited a fire in me stronger than ever before to continue answering questions from a place of faith, freedom and gratitude for how strong the human body and mind is when we treat it with love and respect.”
And so, Mandy set out on a mission to heal, and in doing so, to also help others overcome powerlessness and perfectionism and instead strive for abundance and joy. She discovered fitness and wellbeing. Through following her passion for total health, she formed a new meaning and purpose for her life. She says that whenever she’s working out she’s “that five year old girl again” and can gift herself the joy and self-love and confidence that she didn’t have back then.
Her family, too, was reinvented, each parent eventually remarrying, and now periodically vacation together with their grown children. From Mandy’s perspective it’s a slightly humerous, though entirely honest, functional dysfunction—a genuine modern family. ‘Perfect’ is not part of this family vernacular. Mandy says, “I have gotten to really know my dad. He’s my best buddy. And my mum is the definition of unconditional love. I appreciate everything that she has taught me in the process of her own journey.”
Mandy’s story is about surviving loss, finding out who you are, discovering true love and thriving in every way possible. Her commitment is to role model that results in life are a factor of your choices. She reminds us that when we stop trying to imitate images in magazines, and our own creations of false power or what’s ‘normal’, we open up to all that life has to offer and start to live in authenticity and whole-health. Mandy champions the beauty from within movement, saying, “Freedom is found when you let go of who you think you’re supposed to be, and embrace who you really are.”
Her message is far beyond fitness and nutrition: it’s about body-mind-spirit wellness. "When you surround yourself with the best environment, best conversations, best fuel, best workouts, best rest, then the best things are yet to come,” she explains, “Well fed people are happier people.”
Mandy Gill is creating a positive ripple effect with worldwide impact through her total wellness research and teaching the principles of a simple healthy lifestyle, which is: Conscience living through a life in motion, making thoughtful choices, a plant-based diet, love for self, and care and respect for all beings. She notes that her best friend, Chelsea, was plant-based first and provided her with inspiration and support. Mandy says, “Knowing what I know now about wellbeing and food, and my deep love for animals, I couldn’t do it anymore. December 6, 2016 was the last day I ate meat.” Through running ultra marathons (and much more) as a 100% plant-based super athlete, she strives to bust the myth that animal protein is necessary to be strong.
With her dogs, Mylo and Chance, frequently in tow, and driven by an inner light that motivates, she combines health and adventure everywhere she travels, living life to the fullest and sharing her knowledge and personal journey of transformation. She says, "We are a society drowning in information, yet starving for wisdom.”
Her inner beauty, strength and presence are certain to touch anyone who knows heartache and chooses to embrace life, health and lasting happiness.
Mandy Gill is based in Vancouver, Canada—an epicenter of healthy living—and is the founder of the international brand MGM Fitness; the MANDY GILL APP for personalized fitness and nutrition guidance at your fingertips; and a strategic partner in the private training facility ‘Mandy Gill Powered by New Edge Alliance Inc’. She has been honored as a “YWCA (Vancouver) Woman of Distinction 2017”. Mandy Gill is proudly a Reebok Sponsored Athlete since 2010. Other major sponsorships include health-space brands Vital Supply Co., and Vitasave.ca. Follow Mandy on Instagram @MGMFit_Mandy for everything from goal setting, to easy travel workouts with only a yoga towel and a resistance band, to finding the best plant-based restaurants around the globe. For service offerings, appearances and motivation, visit www.MandyGill.com. For media inquiries, contact Penelope Jean Hayes at firstname.lastname@example.org.