Body & Fitness

Matilda Green talks motherhood, mental wellbeing and her plans for the future

''I'm trying not to put any expectations on myself, because all my expectations about the pregnancy went out the window!''
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As far as life milestones go, Art and Matilda Green have gone for the triple whammy.

After moving into their first home in Warkworth, Auckland at the end of last year, the original couple from The Bachelor NZ tied the knot with a secret Waiheke Island wedding in February, and then they had one final big piece of news to share with their friends and family.

Two is soon to become three.

“We are so excited. Art has wanted to be a dad his whole life. He’ll make a great dad,” Matilda beams.

Since the wedding, they have been back at home enjoying the start of their new life as husband and wife.

“It was so beautiful having all our friends and family together, and the wedding was stunning, but now it feels good to be married and just relax into our new married life,” she says.

“It’s this new feeling of contentment.”

Despite still looking like she’s just come off the Jockey catwalk and giving us all a big hug when she arrives, the first trimester did not quite deliver the glowing, energetic pregnancy that Matilda had her fingers crossed for.

“I had this vision of what I would be like when I was pregnant, eating only organic foods and staying really active, but it’s honestly been the opposite of that.

“Reality has been pretty different to expectation,” she laughs, hopeful that what she has heard about the second trimester being much better holds true and that she can wave goodbye to the morning nausea.

The 28-year-old completed her first marathon in 2017, but has recently been sticking to yoga, pilates and the occasional run.

“I’ve stayed away from high intensity for a while now, just because I don’t really feel like it works for me.

“Everyone’s different, but I personally really enjoy doing things that are a little bit more calming on my body rather than stressful.

“If I can combine that with eating well and looking after myself, I find that I feel the best.”

When she does head out for a jog now, there is no time pressure, no distance goals, just fresh air and one foot in front of the other.

The Greens’ other baby, Plate Up, is still going strong after being in business for just over a year, delivering healthy pre-made paleo meals nationwide.

To make it through a year of working together and still happily exchange wedding vows, you know you’ve found a keeper.

Running Plate Up together hasn’t been without its challenges though.

“Art and I were sort of trying to do everything ourselves for a long time, even the things we weren’t good at, and it would take so long.

“Then we started getting people in to help with those sorts of things and that’s completely turned the business around.

“As soon as you let go of your ego a bit and let someone help, instead of doing every single thing, it makes such a difference,” she explains.

Admittedly, the newlywed pair does occasionally clash on some things. He can be indecisive, and she has her lazy days.

“It’s good, though. We balance each other out. He’s learnt to be a little more relaxed, and I’ve learnt to be a bit more proactive. He’s great.”

Matilda Green Matilda Rice

How pregnancy has changed Matilda’s diet

For Matilda, eating a paleo-style diet usually has her feeling at the top of her game, but being pregnant has definitely thrown a spanner in the works and listening to her body has taken priority.

“In the mornings, because I feel really average, I usually just eat whatever is going to make me feel better, but I try and keep everything balanced.

“If I have a day of eating whatever, I’ll try and have a healthy dinner. I’m trying to get as much nutrients in as possible, but paleo has definitely loosened up a bit over the first trimester,” she says.

By the time baby Green arrives around September, Matilda hopes she will be back on the paleo wagon and feeling a bit more vibrant.

“I’m trying not to put any expectations on myself, because all my expectations about the pregnancy went out the window!” she laughs.

“We will just see what happens.”

Chatting about health and wellness – a real passion of hers – she nods in agreement that knowing what to eat can be really confusing in a world saturated with different diets, fads and foodie trends.

“I think if you just stick to as natural as possible, you really can’t go wrong.

“Just eat natural whole foods and drink heaps of water. Go back to basics.”

Vegetarian meals are also on regular rotation in Art and Matilda’s kitchen.

“There’s a bit of a misconception around paleo and that it involves heaps of meat, but it really just includes meat,” she says, explaining how meat doesn’t always have to be the hero of a dish and how enjoyable vegetable dishes can be.

Along with an ample supply of delicious Plate Up meals in her kitchen arsenal, their pantry is also brimming with almond milk, thanks to her new role as brand ambassador for Almond Breeze – a product Matilda has loved since she first discovered it in her early twenties.

Cow’s milk doesn’t agree with her body and the versatility of almond milk makes for an easy swap.

To help demystify wellbeing trends for others, earlier this year Matilda and Art launched their podcast, Well & Good.

It’s a series of honest, informal, and often hilarious conversations delving into all things health and wellness, with guests like author Sarah Wilson, All Blacks strength and conditioning coach Nic Gill, musician Anika Moa and Nike master trainer Kirsty Godso.

With an abundance of conflicting information and advice out there, they wanted to create something that shared in-depth knowledge from people who really know their stuff, but in a fun and conversational way.

The topic of mental health emerges repeatedly during the podcast, and Matilda herself is big on meditation as a way to look after her own headspace.

“Meditation has really changed my life, which I never thought would happen.

“I was a bit sceptical beforehand, but it really is life changing,” she says.

“It’s helped me with stress, to be able to put things into perspective, and I find that I deal with stressful situations a lot differently now than I used to.

“They say that you practise it when things are good so that you can handle when things are bad, which I really love.”

In between the podcast, staying fit, travel, events, running their business and now carrying a baby, she tries to fit in a guided meditation once or twice a day.

“I miss the odd day sometimes when I’m busy,” she admits, “but as Tony Robbins said, ‘If you don’t have 10 minutes, you don’t have a life.’

“If I’ve got 10 minutes to scroll through Instagram, I’ve got 10 minutes to meditate.”

Matilda’s future aspirations

Looking towards the future, we laugh about the prospect of Matilda becoming an Instagram mummy blogger once baby arrives and she says she can see that would be a natural progression, but definitely has some hesitation.

“I guess, for me, I want to keep a level of privacy.

“I kind of want to wait until my child is able to decide on what they want to be involved in or not. It’s a bit of a security thing.

“I don’t know if I want 150,000 people knowing what my child looks like.”

It’s precisely this down-to-earth approach to life that so many people love about Matilda. Yes, her Instagram shows the glamorous highlights – the modelling shoots, overseas trips and events, but that doesn’t mean that goofy moments, bloopers and kitchen disasters are exempt.

She breaks into laughter just thinking about a recent video she shared, where her attempt at making a Plate Up meal ended up with an entire glass lid shattering into the pan of food.

“Then I tried making another meal and burnt that too. I was like, how pregnant am I?!

“I love sharing funny moments; it brings a bit of light-heartedness and fun to social media, because it can definitely get a bit intense sometimes.”

When they’re not cooking for themselves, Art has also taken on the role of dedicated chef for their growing family of chooks out in Warkworth.

“Art is obsessed with the chickens, he’s really come into his own looking after them. He makes them up these concoctions for meals like, ‘The chickens are going to love this’. It’s hilarious.”

Starting to live off the land with their five chickens is just the beginning for Matilda. With a big heart for furry friends of any kind, she dreams of one day starting her own animal sanctuary.

Further down the track, the bubbly Kiwi has another exciting goal – to get back on the small screen.

“I want to get more into TV work, that’s a big goal of mine. Raise my child, have another baby, get all of the animals, start the sanctuary, while also working in TV,”she grins.

“It’s totally doable, right?”

Matilda’s quick tips for eating healthier:

1. Spend more time around the outside of the supermarket where the fresh produce is, and less time in the aisles.

2. Focus more on buying food that comes from the ground, rather than food that comes in a packet.

3. Give diet products or overly processed foods a miss.

4. Drink more water than anything else.

5. Cook your own meals as much as possible.

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