Michelle Stafford famously portrays Phyllis Summers, a role for which she has won two Emmy awards, on the CBS daytime drama, The Young and the Restless. Daytime fans may also recognize her for her popular role as Nina Reeves on ABC’s, General Hospital. Stafford is also a successful entrepreneur, who launched her own skin care line, Skin Nation, and is a single mother to two children, Natalia Lee Stafford (age 10) and Jameson Jones Lee Stafford (age 4).
What may be surprising, however, is how open and relatable she is. The way she approaches life, fitness and nutrition is like chatting with a no-nonsense, best friend who you can’t help but want to emulate. She shares some great insight about how she juggles a healthy self-care routine with being a very busy working mom.
*You are in incredible shape, what’s your secret?
I probably get asked this more than any other question, and while I take it as a compliment, the simple truth is that I don’t have a secret. When I eat junk and sit on my ass, it shows, and when I eat healthier, more nutritious foods and I’m more active, that shows also. It’s easy for me to gain weight, but also easy for me to lose it as well. It takes a certain amount of self-honesty to be aware of the connection between my behavior and when I feel my clothes feel a bit snugger.
*What does your fitness routine consist of?
I really enjoy running outdoors. I also have a Peloton Bike that’s a great option for when running outside is not possible. I also created my own workout routine that includes planks and upper body moves for when I have the time. I occasionally go to the gym. I’m not obsessed with my workouts and, if I’m busy trying to balance my career and family life, I refuse to stress myself out over a missed run.
*What’s your diet like?
I don’t follow a particular diet or meal plan. Instead, I approach food like a budget. If I, for example, start my day with a scone for breakfast and macaroni and cheese for lunch, then I know that I’ve essentially “spent most of the money in the bank,” so the rest of the day needs to be more conservative in the form of lean proteins and leafy green choices. In terms of specific foods, I typically try to avoid sugar and fried foods. I’ve also never been much of a fan of alcohol, mainly because I genuinely don’t enjoy the taste, and I don’t feel a strong desire to alter how I’m feeling.
*What’s a splurge for you?
A favorite treat for me is tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole, which luckily, or maybe not so luckily, is readily available at the many fabulous restaurants in Los Angeles. And, who doesn’t love an occasional donut?
*What’s some advice you’d give to others in terms of overall wellness?
Don’t do stupid things! When I was first out of high school and working as a model, it was easy to have an unhealthy relationship with food. Over the course of my life, my weight fluctuated, I have been as heavy as 190 lbs. and as little as 103 lbs., and I’ve learned the importance of accepting that, no matter how hard or how much you work out, it’s ultimately what you put into your body that most impacts how you feel and how you look. Don’t starve yourself! Put healthy, nutrient rich foods in your body. My children are a huge motivation for me. I want to live a long and healthy life, so I can be a part of their lives for as long as possible. I also don’t recommend getting hung up on the numbers on the scale. I use how I feel and how my clothes fit to keep an honest accounting of whether I am the right range for me.
*Do you have a personal mantra?
Yes, be kind! It literally doesn’t cost a cent to be a decent human.
*Tell me about Skin Nation, how did that come to be?
My sister was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. This inspired me to research everything I could about what ingredients are in the things we put into and onto our bodies. I was amazed at how toxic so many of the ingredients are that were in typical skin care products. I created Skin Nation so that everyone could benefit from using clean, plant-based, natural products. I’m also so proud of Skin Nation’s latest venture that uses ocean waste packaging in the creation of their product containers. This process involves using harvested plastics found in the ocean, putting them through a process to remove the toxicity, and repurposing them into the Skin Nation packaging. What’s even better is, in the unintended circumstance that these containers somehow end up back in the ocean, the toxicity has been removed. I’m extremely committed to Skin Nation being an environmentally caring company with products that are cruelty free, plant based, natural and, most importantly, work!
*If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
Honestly, I love my life and I wouldn’t trade places with anyone. I feel very blessed with my life.
*What’s next for you?
I’m currently undertaking writing a book. It’s essentially a guide on taking care of yourself, literally from the inside out! I’m excited to share what I’ve learned in my own journey. Stay tuned!
About the author: Charlene Bazarian is a fitness and weight loss success story after losing 96 pounds. She mixes her no-nonsense style of fitness advice with humor on her blog at Fbjfit.com and on Facebook at FBJ Fit.