Why Modern Wellness Is More About Feeling Good Than Looking Good, According To Blogger Lee From America

On Instagram, everything is perfect.

At least, it looks that way.

Take Lee Tilghman’s Instagram account, for example. The recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the popular @LeeFromAmerica social handle posts picturesque views of must-visit places, badass images of fitness excursions, and colorful food shots that look almost too good to eat.

Yet despite her seemingly flawless feed, Tilghman’s life isn’t strictly fun and effortless. Behind the scenes, she works tirelessly to create original content for her website, brainstorm new recipe ideas, lead food workshops within her community, and other day-to-day responsibilities — all while keeping her health (and the wellness of others) top-of-mind.

Of course, part of being healthy is enjoying feel-good activities that bring a smile to your face and refresh your outlook on life. To help everyone embody a do-what-feels-good attitude this summer, we partnered with Starbucks to talk to Tilghman about how she balances work, wanderlust, and wellness with feel-good and self-care practices on a daily basis.

On What She Actually Does Vs. What People Think She Does

Tilghman is a self-described recipe developer, writer, and photographer who creates health recipes and writes about mental health and women’s health, drawing from her personal experiences. Yet there are plenty of misconceptions surrounding a career in food.

“Through social media it can seem like your life is so cool,” Tilghman says. “People think I’m just going to restaurants and posting about it.”

In reality, Tilghman’s responsibilities go far beyond taking pictures. She partners with brands she uses and supports, leads workshops, and creates helpful content for her website, from new recipes to guides on fridge organization.

Behind the Inspiration for Her Recipes

When it comes to recipe creation and sharing recipes, Tilghman has one main rule: “If I wouldn’t eat it, then it doesn’t go on my feed.”

With nutritional value and taste at the forefront, Tilghman creates recipes based on what’s available to her and what fruits and vegetables are in season.

“My recipes are from my heart, my family, and from my experiences,” Tilghman says. “It’s food I eat, food I feel comfortable eating, and I want to share those with others so they can also reap the benefits.”

How She Finds Balance

Tilghman prides herself on managing to have found a balanced and healthy lifestyle, despite struggling with body image issues and overcoming an eating disorder growing up. Yet her view of "healthy" goes beyond the typical fads. In order to truly live a life of wellness, she advises adopting a sustainable approach to healthy eating, which involves eating mindfully, listening to your body, and exercising.

“Balance is everything — I would say listening to my body has been the most important thing, especially when I travel,” Tilghman says.

To stay balanced, she practices yoga and stays active (she works out on her own, runs or hikes several days a week) sticks to a nine-to-five schedule even when working from home, puts her phone away when dining with friends, and during her busier work days she makes sure to take a break for a Starbucks run to fight back against that 3 p.m. afternoon slump during busy days.

"An iced tea break helps me feel light and energized throughout the day," Tilghman says. "Plus, I love that Starbucks new Teavana® Shaken Iced Tea Infusions allow me to customize my own drink with no additional sweeteners. I love to keep it real!"

Why She Emphasizes Feeling Good Over Looking Good

Tilghman hopes that sharing her personal experiences can help other women who may be experiencing similar obstacles recover.

“Sharing your story — especially hardship — can be so powerful,” she says.

Despite having a picture-perfect social media account, she also reminds her readers that modern wellness isn't about how you look but how you feel.

“If you strive to look good, you’re never going to be happy or satisfied or balanced,” she explains. “But if your goal is to feel good, you’ll find that you’re actually looking better and have the energy to do all of the things that you love. Confidence comes from within, and when you feel good, you radiate.”

This post is sponsored by Starbucks. Celebrate your summer with three new bold flavors of Teavana® Shaken Iced Tea Infusions — Iced Pineapple Black Tea, Iced Strawberry Green Tea, and Iced Peach Citrus White Tea — now available at participating Starbucks® Stores. These refreshing, hand shaken teas with fruit and botanical blends are free of artificial flavors or sweeteners, making them the perfect feel-good staple for your summer.

Learn more about what good feels like in the video below.

Starbucks Coffee on YouTube

Photos: Douglas Sonders/ 8112 Studios; Hair: Amy Gimble; Makeup: Elsie Simone; Art Direction: Amanda Deprez.