COVER: The Art of Simplicity

How Candace Burney is Empowering Women to Live Their Most Powerful Lives By Getting Back to Basics

Candace Burney will soon be the name on everybody’s lips if they care about diet and exercise.

Georgia born and a former healthcare worker, Burney has risen to the health and fitness stage by showing busy women of all ages across the United States how they can exercise and eat healthily while still having time for all that their busy lives demand of them.

Now Burney’s new show “Living Simply with Candace” is bringing this message to a new audience, and Nos Sumus caught up with her to gain an insight into her life-changing approach to health and fitness.

NS: You use a really powerful phrase to describe what you do, and that’s helping women “embrace the sensuality of their strength.” What does that mean for you, and why is it so important for women?

CB: I believe that women are the strength and backbone of us. Every human life form comes through our bodies which means we’re fucking magic! There’s a power in us that can be used for good or bad and we’re using it all the time without even thinking about it. So the question is, what are we sending out? What are we giving people? In order for it to be our best, it’s imperative that we be physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy in order to give everything we do without becoming depleted.

By shape and architectural design we [women] are naturally sexy beings. The sensuality comes when we feed all parts of us – nurturing our interests, feeding our minds with constant learning, staying curious, keeping our physical bodies healthy, and feeding the soul by spending time alone with God.

By ’embracing the sensuality of our strength’ it means we have an awareness of ourselves and we take pleasure in our abilities. It means we’re not afraid of getting a little dirty or to be a sweaty mess. It means we understand that it’s all about us using our gifts to create a life of abundance, which then gives us the ability to do even more.

I need everyone to know that feeding yourself well has nothing to do with complicated recipes or following a thousand steps after going to a specialty market to find an obscure herb.

NS: You’re a busy person with many strings to your bow. For example, you’ve started your own private chef business called Through The Belly. Was it important to you that, as well as getting the message out about exercise, your clients also had help in making healthful food choices?

CB: I talk about all aspects of wellness with equal importance. Whether you have a consistent workout regimen or not, which of course you should, the things we ingest will always have either a positive or negative effect on us so good food is definitely crucial! It is our medicine and our energy and the body thrives off of clean energy. It was a natural progression to create Through The Belly so that I could ensure my clients were receiving the proper nutrition to do more than just survive.

In my conversations with my clients and people in general, all I would hear was how busy and stressed everyone is, so even though they knew how important it was to eat better, most people feel they just don’t have the time to make that happen. Also, a lot of people are in denial over how healthy, or not, their lifestyle really is. So creating Through The Belly was my way of feeding people well and opening their eyes to the fact that eating healthy is actually quite delicious.

NS: There are a lot of fad diets but you focus on keeping things simple and nutritious. Do you think simplicity is key for making sustainable changes in our lives?

CB: I know for me it is! The purpose of me doing this is to create a paradigm shift in people’s thinking towards wellness. I need everyone to know that feeding yourself well has nothing to do with complicated recipes or following a thousand steps after going to a specialty market to find an obscure herb. Even before I knew who Alice Waters was, I followed her approach when it came to food – ‘When you have the best and tastiest ingredients, you can cook very simply and the food will be extraordinary because it tastes like what it is.’

Simplicity is natural; it’s pure and easy. Being that everything else requires so much of us, anytime I can sift through the madness and inject easy I definitely do. This is probably most prevalent in my cooking but it touches every part of my life and we use the show to highlight that. The workouts are 15 – 20 minutes max and can be done at home without a lot of equipment, the recipes are simple enough that you can be sitting down to an awesome meal in 30 minutes, and we always end the show with an emphasis on the importance of taking care of self first, and we share effortless ways to do that.   

NS: What I love about your social media approach is that you make no secret of the fact that you are evolving on your journey as well. For example, you recently posted about “cleaning up” your diet and your belief that a predominantly vegetarian diet is “what our bodies want”. Is it important to you that your clients see you’re also on a path of growth?

CB: People look at me and have the thought “oh that’s easy for you because you’re in great shape’ or ‘you can eat whatever you want because you’re in great shape.’  Well, yes I am and I will never apologize for that, but I had to get here and the work doesn’t stop. I still have to show up in the gym at least three days a week. I still can’t lay in bed with a bag of Snickers Minis next to me.I still can’t surround myself with negativity and think that I’ll be ok. I make conscious decisions every moment, whether good or bad, and I’m well aware of the effect those decisions will have on me.

I share my love of sweets with my clients AND the level of work that it takes to have the body I want. I have no misconceptions about the sweat equity involved and I want this body bad enough to do what’s necessary to keep it. I always try to get people to focus on the trade offs (I prefer the word trade-off as opposed to sacrifice) – I love chocolate but I don’t want to look like I love chocolate. So, if all I have to do is show up in my workout space a few days a week and push myself every time in order to indulge…  well that’s a no brainer.

NS: If there was just one tip or piece of advice you could give women looking to make a positive change in their lives, what would that be?

CB: Love you enough to give yourself the very best. You get treated first and this has nothing to do with selfishness but everything to do with making sure you’re strong enough to take care of your circle. There’s a reason the flight attendant says put your oxygen mask on first. You can’t help anyone if you’ve already passed out.  And know that change takes time to set in so, first, be honest with yourself about the amount of work you’re truly putting in, then be so focused on it that you make it happen.

NS: Finally, what’s next on the horizon for you?

CB: Right now I’m working on a cookbook highlighting what else but the simpleness of good food. There are recipes from my mom and grandmother and all kinds of stories surrounding those amazing dishes.

Burney’s TV show “Living Simply with Candace” airs Tuesday at 11:30 am EST on the AIB Network. You can also keep up with Burney’s latest projects at her website www.livingsimplywithcandace.com.

(For online version?) Episodes are also available Burney’s YouTube channel also called Living Simply with Candace.