My mission is to inspire you and take you on a journey
to lasting & vibrant health.
I strive to empower individuals to improve their wellness through small, sustainable, healthy diet & lifestyle changes.
What started my health journey
I am an ex-junk food lover, ex-sugar addict, ex-dieter, ex-emotional eater, ex-body hater, ex-couch potato, and ex-exercise addict. Yes, all of these - but not all at the same time.
I spent most my teenage years covered with acne, ashamed of my body, and hiding it under large and masculine clothes. The worse 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. The yo-yo effect, you may or may not be acquainted with it.
At the age of 19, I decided I couldn't move into adulthood hugging the walls; I wanted to be skinny and pretty - pardon me, I was young and I thought at the time that my body defined who I was. I went on a humongous 'detox diet' which basically consisted of very tiny portions of fruit, vegetables; and so-called low-fat, sugar-free and diet products. Even when I was hungry, I would sometimes deny my body of food. I felt cold most of the time, my skin and hair had lost their glow and I was often in a cranky mood. And that went on until I reached my “goal weight”. But then what, you ask?
For many years after that, food remained a synonym for stress, frustration and deprivation. I was obsessed with my weight, constantly scared to go back to my old physical self. Eating out with friends and travelling were making me very nervous. The truth is, I didn’t know what to eat and who to turn to. And to top it all, 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.
14 years old
“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.”
– Francois de La Rochefoucauld
How the plant-based diet transformed my relationship with food
My plant-based journey started with Crossfit where I first heard about food being fuel for the body, or combining protein and carbohydrates to help muscles restore and regain strength. I had no idea there was such a thing as healthy fat and good carbs. The Paleo diet is famous among Crossfiters, but it wasn't my thing as it includes meat - and I don't eat meat (fish is ok once in a while though). I was more drawn to the Clean Eating diet which offered the kind of guidelines I was desperate for.
I started doing research on the benefits of eating clean and the plant-based diet, I watched documentaries and read countless books and articles; and it eventually all made sense. (Read more about the plant-based diet here). I understood that I had to nourish my body rather than just feed it; it wasn't about being skinny, but fit and healthy. I got rid of my bathroom scales, stopped worrying about calories and started to enjoy real foods in their most simple form: vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, whole grains and legumes. I ditched the fat-free and zero-sugar nonsense, and all the so-called healthy processed foods. I developed my own healthy recipes, and before I knew it, I was baking chocolate cakes with beetroots instead of white sugar and avocado instead of butter. I took baby steps, it didn't happen overnight.
Food eventually 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 do like to indulge myself though, so I apply the 80-20 rule. It means that I eat healthy food 80% of the time, and I’m flexible the other 20%. If I want to have an ice-cream on a hot summer day, I will with joy - not guilt. I have found balance and pleasure in eating (and cooking); and that's a game changer.
It’s not what I eat some of the time that matters, it’s what I eat most of the time.
My levels of energy were dramatically boosted. I started exercising first thing in the morning and I go through the day without nodding off in the afternoon. My immune system got much stronger, I never ever get ill and barely 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.
Yoga, a healthy mind in a healthy body
After all these years of emotional eating, body-hatred and weight-issues, my mind and my soul also crucially needed some healing.
If I want to be really honest here, I'll tell you that I started yoga because I wanted a good stretch and to increase my flexibility. I was doing lots of Crossfit at the time so my body was aching here and there. I soon realised that Yoga is much more than a stretching class; it’s first and foremost an emotional, mental and spiritual discipline.
Yoga has taken me on a journey to enlightenment; it has shifted my relationship with exercise and has helped me reconcile with my body. Yoga has taught me to respect it for its limitations, to treat it with kindness and to cherish it for all that it’s capable of doing. Today I can proudly say that I love my body, although I know now that I am not my body and it does not define who I am.
Then, what you learn on your yoga mat, you can take into your daily life; it's a way of life. Yoga has taught me acceptance, patience when facing pitfalls and challenges. It has also changed my perspective on life in general. It has taught me to focus on the things that I'm grateful for in my life; it has helped me learn my strengths and weaknesses, and how to accept myself where I am in the present moment, with no judgment.
Yoga has been an integral part of my healing; it has strengthened my ability to be more present and to enjoy life with a positive attitude.
"Yoga means addition - addition of energy, strength and beauty to body, mind, and soul."
- Amit Ray
A healthy lifestyle not only changes your body, it changes your mind, your attitude and your mood.
Inspiring others to live a happy & healthy life
People around me started come to me for advice on what they could eat, how to get rid of sugar, how they could stop dieting and lose weight in a sustainable way, increase their energy levels, get into a regular physical activity routine, etc.
I became some sort of a health guru at work and amongst my friends. Seeing the impact my lifestyle had on others, I decided to write a blog so I could share my recipes, my juicing cleanse experiences, and what I was learning through my research and experiments. (Have a look!)
Then, the severe depression and burn-out of two people very dear to my heart and my mom's breast cancer have also led me to understand how a healthy lifestyle and diet could make a huge difference in their respective healing processes.
As Hippocrates said: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.
And there it was, I had found my purpose in life: helping others to transform their lives the way I had done mine. I quit my very 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 In South Africa.
I also study Ayurveda (the Sister Science of Yoga) and I have become an Ayurvedic consultant specialised in Lifestyle & Nutrition, and an Ayurvedic masseur.
You know when you find out something amazing and you need to share it with the world? Well, all I want to do is scream to the world that being healthy doesn't have to be a hardship, it's never too late to transform your life and meet your best self.
Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
Certified Workplace Wellness Coach
Certified Yoga Teacher (Hatha, Vinyasa)
Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Therapist
Eating Psychology Coach
Certified Ayurveda Coach & Masseur
If you want to know a little more about me
I also swim and run;
I'm a fierce advocate for a clean earth, and I've been at war with plastic for years;
I love creating plant-based recipes and cold-pressed juices;
I was born and raised in the south of Belgium, my mother tongue is French but I also speak English and Spanish;
I lived in the USA, in Guatemala, in Venezuela, in Spain, and in Mozambique;
I hold a Master's Degree in Translation (English, Spanish and French), and I also have a CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from the University of Cambridge;
I used to be a language teacher and I also worked in Human Resources;
I don't have children yet, but I'm crazy about my teenage goddaughter, my niece and nephew.
Listen to my interview podcast with Fit For Joy and learn more about my path, Yoga, Ayurveda and other words of wisdom .