For certified holistic nutritionist, wellness expert and health coach Kelly LeVeque, the hustle began four years ago.
During that time she worked two jobs, "weekends and nights," she says, "and today, I have a book deal with Harper Collins (pub date: April 2017), celebrity clientele (pinch me) and solely run my private practice Be Well by Kelly."
We caught up with the LA-based lady to chat health (of course), happiness (yes!) and why we should all stop putting ourselves down (forever!!).
Tell us a little about your background? Why did you get into the health space? I have always loved health! After graduating from USC, I took the corporate path though health and wellness working for Fortune 500 companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Stryker and Hologic, and Agendia specializing in cancer and personalized medicine, offering tumor gene mapping and molecular sub-typing to oncologists. My career in medical science meant I had to keep up with cutting-edge research on how diseases develop and how they can be treated. I loved the deep thinking required, especially the statistical analysis—deciphering data for statistical significance, distinguishing between causation vs. correlation, and understanding why study design mattered so much. My career enabled me to go deeper in my passion; I would mine nutrition based pubmed research and build my own opinions around current research. I became the one my friends leaned on (for weight loss, autoimmune diseases, allergies, bad blood tests etc.) so when I let them know I would be going back to school to follow my passion not my paycheck they weren’t surprised.
Balance. It’s the word of the year, but it’s also super hard to achieve. And it doesn’t happen all at once. What is a healthy way to work toward balance?
I try to instill balance in my clients by giving them light structure (Be Well Fab Four) around what they should eat and breaking down their rigid food rules and cleansing habits. Binging and cleansing cycles swing you back and forth like an out of control pendulum ball. Happiness and health are attained when you find that small swing. Balance isn’t when you stop moving and live a rigid, on-plan, perfect life; when you are focused on a perfect food day you aren’t present, and most likely you are anxious, irritable and thinking about food all day. Instead focus on turning off hunger hormones and thoughts about food and know it be okay to swing a little from time to time. Balance is found with intentional movement to eat clean, sweat and even enjoy a glass of wine with friends. Accept who you are, love who you are and build a lifestyle focused on health, not some abstract idea of “perfection.” So if you have a glass of wine with friends one evening, jump into an app on your phone and schedule a workout or plan to have a fruit free low glycemic smoothie the next morning to bring yourself back into alignment, or both.
How do you set realistic goals?
Stop trying to do it all at once and enjoy the journey! Transforming our mindset, our nutrition and our bodies is a journey. It takes practice to be present; to see that big leaps start with small steps and to not get discouraged if we have setbacks. Learn to enjoy it by breaking your “big goals” down into attainable action steps that can reinforce how strong, brilliant and beautiful you are. Just look at the week ahead of you: Plan a workout with a friend and create a healthy meal plan to nourish your body. Step by step, you’ll build a healthy lifestyle, and moments of clarity and opportunities for fun will follow. By focusing on eating real and nutrient-dense food, and striving to build a healthy, active lifestyle, you’ll take the important first steps to being well and it will naturally become a lifestyle. True progress happens when we enjoy making it happen and when we get out of our own way. When you try to change more than one thing at a time chances are you will be overwhelmed and give up. Maybe for just 2 weeks you commit to have a Be Well Smoothie for breakfast, you will be surprised how that positively affects the rest of your life.
People have a fear of fat. What else are we afraid of that we shouldn’t be? (existential life question…)
Stop fearing change; change your career, get out of a bad relationship, determine if your nutrition habits or “lifestyle” is no longer serving you and change, nothing needs to be forever. Don’t just cling to a mistake because you have invested time and energy making it, convinced your friends or family it was right or invested time. You only have one life to live; live it without regrets by having the guts to adjust your ships sail as needed. Stop waiting for your inner voice to scream, the change will be harder to make, instead trust your voice and make a calculated change sooner rather than later.
You’ve said that punishing yourself for failing is unhealthy. We all do it. What are some other habits we can kick to the curb that will benefit our well being both personally and professionally?
Stop putting yourself down! As women, we need to stop allowing one another to openly bash themselves; “I am,” I can’t,” or “ I am sorry” solidifies those opinions of ourselves and undermines our ability to rise above it. The next time your friend says, “I am fat” simply respond with “that’s great, you have one more” if they do it again, make them stand up in front of everyone and name three things they love about their body. We need to help one another break this horrible habit immediately.
How do you see health as related to our careers?
Your nutrition, activity and stress levels directly affect the health and wellness of your career; working actively to remove the stress from your life can also be a good way to get going on the things you want to achieve. Stress reduction is not a one size fits all formula, but there are a few techniques I recommend to help my clients start their day. Meditate via an app, or start your day with a walk or workout. These exercises can provide clarity, comfort and help you prioritize your day. Even doing 15 minutes of exercise or mediation in the morning can move the negative unaligned thoughts from your mind.
What’s a great recipe that will get us energized and feeling productive in the am?
I always start my day with one of the low sugar, meal replacement smoothie recipes I created for my clients! My Be Well Smoothie formula helps develop a blood-sugar balancing meal in any flavor with enough protein, fat and fiber to keep you full for four to six hours, feed your microbiome, turn off hunger hormones and nourish your body with amino acids, fatty acids and phytonutrients. It limits fruit to 1/4 -1/2 cup, depending on your body composition goals, and some are totally fruit free. A killer go-to is my Spa Smoothie, loaded with greens, cucumber, avocado and lemon. (find my recipe below!).
THE “BE WELL” SPA SMOOTHIE
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 small Persian cucumber
1 handful of spinach
1 lemon, freshly juiced
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (love Perfect Fit)
2 cups unsweetened nut milk
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!