When I first met Melanie Stephens, I couldn’t help but notice that she was glowing. I mean enthusiasm pouring out, huge smile, porcelain skin, shining eyes, just glowing! The girl exudes happiness, and her energy is magnetic.
After getting to know her, I discovered that her passion for nutrition and healthy living is the source behind the glow. Her commitment to this lifestyle and the sharing of this knowledge has fueled the launch of her own business in Paris, Feed Your Awesome Machine. The Aussie nutrition, fitness, and health coach has now created the brand new Gorgeous You social coaching programme, which I am so excited to share with you!
I know how much you are going to love this program, so make sure to head to the Gorgeous You page ASAP to get on the Early Notification List, which gives you a 20% discount! Registration opens tomorrow, Saturday, August 24 at 10 a.m.
1. Thank you so much for joining me, Melanie! Tell us a bit about yourself and your qualifications, particularly in regards to your programme.
My biggest qualification is perhaps my enthusiasm, passion and love for health, food and life. I think if you’re missing these things, it doesn’t matter how many certificates you have on your wall, you’re never going to be fully qualified to work with health.
But those little pieces of paper, and along with your experience are just as important, so let me walk you through the condensed version of my rather adventurous journey through the food and health industry.
My mother brought us up in a household of freshly cooked meals, minimal processed food, and I remember checking food labels for MSG perhaps from the age of 7. I wasn’t a perfectly healthy eater by any stretch of the imagination but I was conscious about healthy eating at least from a very young age, and as a dancer, I was always extremely active.
I started out in the professional world at 16 when I studied to be a chef. After qualifying and working in a few hot and sweaty kitchens, I decided that being a chef, at least in the traditional sense, wasn’t going to satisfy my soul in the way I had anticipated.
So shortly after, I made the only logical transition there was- to go and study nutrition. It was there, beneath endless mountains of textbooks that I found my true passion. I finished top of my class, won a couple of awards and walked away with a Bachelor of Health Science.
After working as a nutritional consultant in pharmacies, and running my own clinic for a few years, I got an offer to teach nutrition for a college in Ireland. It seemed that word about my passion for nutrition had spread a lot farther than I had even dreamed.
Although I was terrified of the challenge it presented, I took the job and moved to Dublin. After a few months lecturing and through my relentless commitment to constant research and study, I found my feet. I realised that lecturing and teaching was something I not only loved to do, but something I excelled at. I soon took on the role of Head of the Nutrition Department, which made me entirely responsible for the academic and clinical development of hundreds of nutrition students in the 5 schools I managed in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
I felt completely alive during those years, constantly challenged, constantly learning, constantly improving, and I loved every second of it. But after the 4th year, as my learning curve started flattening out, I began to feel a little bored. I was ready for some new adventures.
I dropped back to part-time teaching, and took a job in a Corporate Health promotion startup company, where I researched and developed all the nutritional coaching presentations, workshops and other educational materials that would be used by the company.
Then something happened: I met a boy! I guess that must be the story of a fair number of expats now living in Paris, so perhaps their stories now begin to converge with mine! We decided it was time to leave Dublin, move to beautiful Paris, and start a new life together.
So, since coming to Paris 3 years ago, I have been developing Feed Your Awesome Machine, a company that provides health coaching and nutrition in Paris and around the world, helping people get the leanest, healthiest and most energetic they’ve ever been.
2. What brought you to Paris?
To sum up, there were three things: love, my deep desire to start my own business (Feed Your Awesome Machine), and my constant craving to grow and take on new challenges.
3. What inspired this programme?
Earlier in the year, I started interviewing women all over Paris to find out how they felt about their body, their health, and how they felt Paris had influenced these things. Although each woman’s story is unique, there are a few common threads that keep popping up.
Firstly, many women commented on how it was so much easier to stay healthy back in their home country, simply because they had a strong network of people around them that shared their healthy-living values. By coming here, it was as if they lost this subtle support and with the ‘pressure’ of croissants on every street corner, added to all the linguistic, administrative and social challenges we expats face when moving to a place like Paris, their health got moved to the back burner, and somehow ended up staying there.
Secondly, I also heard story after story of how women want to have more energy, lose fat, feel healthier in general, and all for some very good reasons. Some are single, and want to feel more confident in their body while dating. Others want to set a good example for their kids. Others still are entrepreneurs and business professionals who are finding that their mental and physical fatigue holding them back from making the real progress that they so deeply desire. There are so many compelling reasons, but the thing they all have in common is that they want to live healthier, feel healthier, look healthier, but don’t quite know where, after all this time, they should start from.
They just feel a bit lost.
So that’s why I wanted to create a series of programmes that help women gently make health a priority in their life again, without the pointless stress and pain of dieting or deprivation. I also want to help them reconnect with a network of positive people who also want to make healthy living a priority making it easier for them to achieve long-term success.
4. What are you excited to bring or share with the Paris expat/anglophone/English-speaking community?
Overall, there are a few messages and skills I’d like to share:
- Message 1: That you can be a food lover, even a complete foodie, and still maintain a healthy, slim body. French food and health are NOT mutually exclusive.
- Message 2: Diet’s never work in the long term and only set us up to fail. Luckily, there is a much easier, and more enjoyable approach that will ensure you succeed, and maintain the great results for the rest of your life, with minimal effort.
- Skill 1: My strategies and techniques that make healthy eating a breeze, as well as how to hack into the power of habit and social networks to make living healthily as automatic as brushing your teeth.
- Skill 2: My love, passion and skill for cooking great tasting healthy food.
- And sooooo much more, really!!
5. Can you tell us a bit about the programme?
The Gorgeous You Social Coaching Programme is a 4-week nutrition and fitness coaching programme that will run in September. It’s jam packed with life-changing content and social events, and there are some rather impressive prizes and bonuses in the mix too.
Registrations for the programme open on Saturday. There are very limited spots available, and we expect to fill them fast.
My suggestion is to:
- Go to the Gorgeous You page and watch the short video that explains the entire programme.
- if you’d like to be a part of the Gorgeous You group, sign up for the Early Notification List. Being on this list allows you to register early, on Saturday 27th (yes that’s this Saturday) for a 20% discount. If there are any spots still available come Sunday (although unlikely), you can register, but you will lose access to the early-bird discount.
Check out the fantastic promo video on Vimeo here : Gorgeous You Social Coaching Programme Promo Video from Melanie on Vimeo.
6. What are some of its highlights?
There are many! In addition to the weekly nutrition webinars, and the group fitness sessions with Anna Khuade we have a whole line-up of bonuses, prizes and special appearances. Just to name two, we have Carin Olsson from Paris In Four Months offering a private photo shoot to one lucky member, Olivia from Cleopatra’s Bling is giving away a pair of stunning gold, gemstone hand-crafted earrings, and Bob’s Juice Bar offering a 20% members discount an all fresh juices during the entire programme.
7. What aspect(s) of the programme are you most excited about?
I’m a bit biased really, because I just LOVE nutrition coaching. I am most looking forward to getting everyone together, sharing the skills, strategies and foundations of healthy eating, answering their questions, participating in discussions, and helping each woman in the group devise a way to make healthy eating fit in with her personal lifestyle.
But I have to say, I’m also pretty excited about the market tour & brunch social we have planned, after all, talking about food and cooking while walking around a French market, followed by a delicious healthy and social lunch is my kind of morning!. I also can’t wait for the Kale Cocktail Evening which will be co-hosted with Kristen from The Kale Project.
For me, the entire month just sounds like it will be so much fun!
8. What advice would you give to women who want to live a healthiest lifestyle? What changes should they implement?
In a few short words?
- Stop dieting, counting calories and fat, and eating less- and start falling in love with whole, fresh real food- then eat more of it
- Stop using food deprivation as a punishment, stop feeling guilty when you enjoy something a little naughty, and instead start loving your body and respecting it for the beautiful, perfectly imperfect thing that it is.
- Stop forcing yourself to do another boring workout, and instead make it fun, mix things up, and move regularly because it makes you feel wonderful, strong and feminine.
- Stop neglecting yourself as you take care of everyone else. To be a woman who can give so freely and love so openly, you need to first take care of yourself- and never feel guilty about it.
Overall, it’s time to start developing a healthy, loving relationship with food, exercise, your body and your mind. That really is the place where all health must come from.
9. What other services/individual services do you offer?
In addition to the group coaching programmes, I provide private health coaching on nutrition in Paris and around the world via Skype. I have a lot of great things in store over the next few months too, but my lips are sealed for now!
10. How can we get in touch with you?
Feel free to contact me through my blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I also run the Gorgeously Healthy in Paris Meetup group, and I’d really love to meet you in person at one of our events. Either way, I hope you’ll reach out and say hi!
Doesn’t this programme sound amazing? Make sure you head to the Gorgeous You page to get on the Early Notification List and register tomorrow at 10 a.m.
Thank you, Melanie, for sharing your passion and commitment to improving the lives of others through nutrition and healthy lifestyle changes and for creating this fantastic new programme.
Have a wonderful weekend, loves!