In The Spotlight: Meet Iliana B.

THE FIT LIFT’s In The Spotlight category will interview active, inspiring women from all walks of life who demonstrate strength in many ways. Whether you've made small steps to lead a more healthy lifestyle or train like a best, we want to celebrate YOU. We believe that by sharing our stories, we can help others to both start, and continue on the path of living a healthy lifestyle by leading by example.  If you would like to be featured on our blog, please email us.  

I started following Iliana on Instagram quite some time ago.  Between her beautiful creativity, her evident love for motherhood,  and her will to work hard and forge ahead with kickboxing, this is one strong, inspirational woman and mother.  After reading her Spotlight answers, I felt even more connected and drawn to her.  She has pushed through obstacles this past year with such strength and humility, always keeping her eye on her goal, no matter what.  I encourage you, or rather, urge you, to read Iliana's Spotlight below...

1. Provide us a brief introduction about who you are. 

My name is Iliana. I live in beautiful British Columbia with my little tribe that consists of myself, my husband, and my energetic 4 year old daughter. I love all things that make me smile. That includes dessert (obviously), Pinterest (I may have a slight obsession), and going on fun adventures with my familia. In my opinion, the glass is always half full. I am attracted to strength and beauty (which ill get to in a minute), and it inspires me to live life the best way that I possibly can. I was diagnosed with lupus last year. My dermatologist caught it after doing a biopsy on a rash I have on my face. It explained a lot of the symptoms I was feeling at the time but it also fuelled my desire to live a more healthy and active lifestyle. My diagnosis motivated me to cross off one "To-Do" from my bucket list... to compete in a kickboxing tournament. I'm currently training for it, and my heart starts racing just thinking about competing, but it was an old goal of mine that got put on hold after family life happened so I'm going for it.

2. What does STRENGTH mean to you? 

Strength means giving it all you've got even when you have that nasty little voice in your head telling you to give up. Everybody has they're own source of strength they can tap in to. It's a force that propels you forward when you need it the most. I recognise my own strength on those mornings when my mind is awake, telling me to get up, but my body feels like it's being pulled down by a supersized magnet (a lupus symptom I don't quite enjoy). My strength helps me lift my body up and off I go ready to conquer the world. It means having the will to overcome any obstacle that stands in your way of success. Mental or physical, when you tap into your strength you will only get stronger.

3. What does BEAUTY mean to you? 

Beauty, like strength, is inspiring. It means having the confidence to love and accept yourself for the one of a kind individual that you are. I believe that beauty has everything to do with what you have and feel on the inside, and how you decide to share it with the world. Lupus has left me with the "butterfly mask", a rash that spreads across both cheeks. At first I would cover it up with some makeup whenever I'd go out for quick errands. I didn't want people to see the redness, and I felt a little self-conscious . One day I realised that what I thought about myself was a lot more important than what others thought of me. I said adios to any toxic feelings of self-doubt. These days I choose to put my best face forward and go natural most of the time. Being a Bobbi Brown make-up artist for 5 years taught me that a little bit of makeup can enhance your natural beauty, so I will still wear it on special occasions. What I won't do is let it define who I am. I see beauty in the character and values that others possess. Kindness, strength, empathy, confidence. Those are some of the qualities that radiate beauty. There is magic in being fearlessly beautiful, in letting yourself be identified by the parts of you that can inspire and make a change. I am comfortable in my own skin and proud of my own kind of beauty. I salute the scars on my face that serve as a reminder of the strength that lies within me.

 4. What inspires you? What is your driving force?

I am inspired by people. I always find inspiration in what others are doing, whether it be a struggle they've overcome, a goal they've achieved, or something beautiful they've created. I am always thankful for those who choose to share a part of themselves. My motivation is my desire to live without regrets, and to introduce new experiences to my daughter. There's a quote I read recently by Robin Sharma, "Don't live the same years 75 times and call it a life.". It motivates me to be active, and to welcome new adventures and goals.

5. What is your proudest accomplishment? 

My proudest accomplishment has been raising my daughter at home while my husband works. The first year was the hardest. Being a new mother, with a new baby and having no "mom" friends to connect with for playdates was definitely lonely. I discovered that balancing parenting with other interests and activities that made me happy was key. I found my groove in the next few years forming strong friendships with other mothers, focusing on my creative side and starting an Etsy shop. I have loved getting the opportunity to influence my little one and watch her progress from a curious baby to a confident toddler, into an adventurous little girl.

6. What is your biggest challenge? 

My biggest challenge is having the confidence to express myself. I will think it, but I wont always say it. I still remember the first few dates I had with my husband. I would hardly say anything and would supplement my lack of verbal expression with letters. Obviously it's gotten much better but I sometimes still struggle with editing myself and sharing my opinion whenever I have conversations with some people for fear that I may offend someone or come across as ignorant, rude, weird..etc. Filtering my voice is no different than filtering my appearance. I'm learning to let go, and speak more freely.

7. What is your mantra? What are your favorite words to live by? 

My mantra is: Go for it. Life is short and there's no use wasting time trying to find a reason why you shouldn't do something. If something will create a positive experience...go for it. Funny you ask what words I love to live by, I've been collecting a number of quotes on Pinterest lately. One of my favourites is: 

"Whatever you believe about yourself on the inside is what you will manifest on the outside." 


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