AS A HEALTHY COACH, MY MISSION IS TO INSPIRE MY CLIENTS AND TAKE THEM ON A JOURNEY TO LASTING AND VIBRANT HEALTH.
I BELIEVE IN EMPOWERING PEOPLE TO TAKE OWNERSHIP OF THEIR WELL-BEING THROUGH SMALL AND SUSTAINABLE DIET & LIFESTYLE CHANGES.
What stroke off my health journey
I am an ex-chubby girl, ex-junk food lover, ex-dieter, ex-emotional eater, ex-body hater, ex-coach potato, and ex-exercise addict.
I spent most my teenage-hood covered with acne, ashamed of my body and hiding it under large and masculine clothes. The worst I felt about myself, the more I would stuff my face with junk food. I went on countless fad diets, but they never lasted and I would actually gain twice as much weight afterwards. Vicious circle.
At the age of 19, I decided I couldn’t get into adulthood hugging the walls. I needed to make some radical changes in the way I was eating so I went on a humongous ‘food detox’. I had no idea what I was doing; but I was losing weight at the speed of light. I would skip meals and eat very tiny portions of food which basically consisted of fruits, vegetables and so-called low-fat, sugar-free and diet products (which aren’t heathy at all for the record). I lost between 15 and 20 kg within a year; I was finally skinny, but then what?
For many years after that, food remained synonym of stress, deprivation and frustration. I was obsessed with my weight, so scared to go back to my old self. The truth is, I didn’t know what to eat and who to turn to (I wish I had seen a Health Coach to guide me). Eating out with friends and travelling were a mission; and exercising had become some sort of a punishment rather than a source of pleasure.
As skinny as I was, I was in much pain and needed to change my story, again.
How the plant-based diet transformed my life
My plant-based journey started with Jason Vale’s three-day juice cleanse, which was a life-changing experience. How could three days of juicing make me feel so amazing? Not to mention that I had shed a few kilos, my mind was sharp, my energy levels were up the roof, I was in a great mood, and my skin was glowing. I knew I couldn’t live on juices for the rest of my life, but certainly wanted to feel that way forever. I started doing research on the benefits of eating clean and the plant-based diet, watched documentaries, read articles; and it eventually all made sense. (Read more about the plant-based diet here).
First of all, I understood that I had to nourish my body rather than just feed it; it wasn’t about being skinny, but healthy. I stopped counting calories, never pronounced the word diet again, and started to enjoy real foods in their most simple form: vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, whole grains and legumes. I ditched the fat-free or zero-sugar non sense, any form of processed food and refined sugar. I developed my own healthy recipes, and little did I know was I baking chocolate cakes with beetroots instead of white sugar, and avocado instead of butter.
Then, food has stopped causing me so much stress and frustration. I don’t even have to think about it, it’s not that I can’t eat junk food, I simply don’t want to, I’m not interested anymore. On the other hand, as I’m not in favour of extremes I apply the 90%-10% rule; it means that I eat healthy food 90% of the time, and I’m flexible the other 10%. I’ve found my balance, and that is life-changing.
It’s not what I eat some of the time that matters, it’s what I eat most of the time.
Finally, my levels of energy got dramatically boosted. I started exercising first thing in the morning, and I can go through the day without nodding off in the afternoon. My immune system is much stronger, I never ever get ill and barely don’t have any allergies anymore. I haven’t been to the doctor in years! And let me tell you something, nourishing my body with whole foods and getting rid of processed food and refined sugar have had a very positive impact on my mood, concentration levels and focus at work.
“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” – Francois de La Rochefoucauld
A healthy mind in a healthy body
I had found a way to nourish my body, but my mind and my soul also crucially needed some healing. All these years of body-hatred and weight-issues had made some damage.
I found yoga, or maybe yoga found me, and it has also transformed my life. Yoga is so much more than a physical activity or a good stretch, it’s first and foremost an emotional, mental and spiritual discipline. It is a way of life that you experience on and off your mat; along with breathing techniques and mediation, it’s a fantastic tool to find your true self, and to feel more centred and grounded. Yoga has also taught me to respect my body and treat it with kindness and without judgment.
Yoga and meditation change your brain, they change who you are.
Yoga has taken me out of the darkness, and that’s also something I want to share.
Inspiring others to live a happy & healthy life
People around me started to wonder how I got so fir and healthy, they would come to me for advice on what they could eat and what to cook, how they could stop dieting and lose weight in a sustainable way, increase they energy levels, get into a regular physical activity routine, etc. I had become some sort of a health guru at work and amongst my friends. Seeing the impact my lifestyle had on others, I decided to start a blog to share my recipes, my juicing cleanse experience, and what I had learned through my research and experiments.
Then, the severe depression of a loved one and my sister’s burn-out have led me to do more research and understand how a healthier lifestyle and diet could make a difference. Research suggest that a healthy lifestyle and a plant-based diet can help reduce the severity and even reverse the symptoms of many chronic illnesses such as depression, migraines, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and Celiac disease, among others.
My very first success story is my dear mom, Monique. At the age of 65, she found out that she had breast cancer. It was really terrible for our family, but she declared war to the Crab. She reached out to me for help, and together we established a juicing plan that helped her go through chemotherapy. She has also always had very bad lungs (not being able to climb a flight of stairs, or walk and talk at the same time), and by helping her transitioning to a more plant-based diet, she has made tremendous progress and can actually breathe normally. She calls it her miracle.
As Hippocrates said: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.
And it eventually all made sense, I had found my purpose in life: helping others to transform their lives the way I had done mine, the way my mom had also done hers. So I quit my very much secure 9 to 5 job in Human Resources and decided to take my passion to the next level. I applied to study at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a certified holistic Health Coach, and at the same time I did a Yoga Teacher training course and a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course.
If you want to know a little more about me
- I was born and raised in the south of Belgium, my mother tongue is French
- I lived in the USA, in Guatemala, in Venezuela and in Spain. I’m now based in Maputo, Mozambique
- I have a Master’s Degree in Translation (English, Spanish and French) and I hold a CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from the University of Cambridge
- I used to be a language teacher and also worked in Human Resources
- I love exercising, whether it’s swimming, doing pilates or high intensity interval workouts
- I’m a strong advocate for a clean earth, and I’ve been at war with plastic for several years
- I love creating plant-based recipes and cold-pressed juices
- I don’t have children but I’m crazy about my goddaughter, my niece and my nephew