Jade Spooner and Amal Walkim are the co-founders of weight loss program company, Equalution, and were awarded Australian Start Up of the Year in 2016.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
We went to high school together and from our early teens always had the common interest of ‘dieting.’
We were the girls that were always on the latest fad diet and forever watched our waistline, with a fat loss goal in mind. We tried every diet under the sun, however the most damaging to our relationship with food was clean eating.
Amal became fearful of food – going as far as picking off grains of rice from sushi and eating only the tuna and seaweed. Jade, meanwhile, became a serial yo-yo dieter, switching between a binge and a restricted cycle.
The peak of our worst state in terms of our relationship with our bodies and food came after six months of restrictive clean eating, detrimentally low calories and excessive training to compete for our first fitness model show at the ripe ages of 19 and 20.
After giving our all to the prep, and doing everything as our coach had specified by the body building handbook, we stepped on stage and just weren’t happy with the results. We started asking questions like, how, after six months of dieting and training religiously did we not look like the fitness models we aspired to?
We started seeking answers and came across Jonathon Dixon who taught us about the science of nutrition and prepared us for our next show under a Flexible Dieting method. We sustained a balanced diet enjoying our favourite foods for the first time in years and got into the best shape of our lives.
We spent a few seasons competing as bikini models and still to this day continue to maintain our training regime and track our calories and macros with more flexibility than ever before. Our health and wellbeing remains our primary focus.
Together, we have lost a combined weight of 50kg. After our own success and healed relationship with food – plus the ability to enjoy life again since finding a practice that allowed us to achieve our goals but also enjoy food – we made it our life mission through Equalution to change the way the world viewed nutrition.
Jade had studied Law and Journalism and Amal studied Commerce, and we were both working full time in marketing at Google. We left our full time jobs and together with Jason, formed Equalution. We began servicing clients worldwide with customised, science based nutrition plans.
Jonathan had a dream to open a supplement store, which he then went on to open, so Jade and Amal pursued the Equalution mission and purpose as co-founders.
We now have a team of 28, consisting of full time tech developers, Dietitians, Nutritionists, Dietary Requirement Specialists, Marketing and Graphics Seniors and Database Managers.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
We are both very early risers so we will get up around 5:30 or 6am and always begin our day with a healthy breakfast and a walk, or training session. We do our own emails or tasks at home in the early morning before driving into the office, arriving just before 9am.
Our work day varies day-to-day. Amal’s role at present is very heavily product focused so she spends a lot of time testing the new app and giving feedback to our development team, based in Wollongong.
While for me (Jade), I am heavily marketing focused so my daily tasks include writing app copy, push notifications, Instagram posts and marketing plans for any upcoming challenges and promotions. In our office we also manage a team of around 20 staff, responsible for client check-ins, meal plans, etc.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Yes it does, however we have just secured a new office space in Alexandria. Since the peak of COVID, we have really thrived from having the team back together working under a really funky roof.
Our office is super cool and we have a great working culture. Occasionally, if we spend time on the road going between meetings etc we’re able to perch up at a cafe or even work remotely from home, however our preference is to be with the team in our office that we feel super lucky to have!
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
We spent a lot of years building our business and we neglected our own health and wellbeing. We slept very little, skipped meals or got Uber Eats and didn’t see our family and friends due to a very demanding workload.
After many years of building our brand and earning the flexibility and freedom that came from having a team, we value having balance in our own lives very much.
Balance to us means having time for exercise and mentally recouping on the weekends, which ultimately makes us better individuals and more productive work people. Time management and prioritisation are two significant means of achieving this.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Most definitely. We’ve both come to realise how important exercise and adequate nutrition are to ensuring the best version of ourselves. It’s not so much about being perfect each day but rather just being consistent with healthy habits.
We also like to read, and value the mental downtime that it incurs in doing so, as well as keeping us always learning and growing as individuals and business people.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
- The Ride of a Lifetime, Robert Iger
- Game Changers, Dave Aspery
- The Universe Has Your Back, Gabrielle Bernstein
- Atomic Habits, James Clear
- The Score Takes Care of Itself, Bill Walsh
And of course, our new book I Do-Nut Diet, which is in stores nationwide now! We reveal how to have your cake and eat it too, and share the positive results of science-based and Flexible Dieting.
Flexible Dieting recognises food not as good or bad but by its numeric value. It follows the formula of calories in vs calories out, whereby consuming the right amount of macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) ensures results are optimally achieved.
I Do-Nut Diet lets you enjoy your favourite foods, drinks and treats too – from chocolate and pizza, to takeout and more. We encourage you to pick up a copy today!
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
The Equalution App, your pocket nutrition coach for dieting success! The Equalution approach is all about 80% whole food and 20% soul food – so you can smash your weight loss goals and stick to them. And our Apple Watches!
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
Ev Williams, Founder of Medium. He says:
“Take care of yourself: When you don’t sleep, eat crap, don’t exercise, and are living off adrenaline for too long, your performance suffers. Your decisions suffer. Your company suffers. Love those close to you: Failure of your company is not failure in life. Failure in your relationship is.“
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Work life balance implies there’s some sort of trade-off. I don’t believe that to have balance you are forgoing work hours.
I think if you lead a balanced life you are a happier more energised and competent decision-maker at work and then at home are equally as high-performing. It’s not about making one thing a priority over the other but rather allowing them to work in sync.
Before you go…
If you’d like to sponsor or advertise with Balance the Grind, let’s talk here.
Join our community and never miss a conversation about work, life & balance – subscribe to our newsletter.