Create & Cultivate 100: Health & Wellness: Be Well By Kelly

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Kelly LeVeque is all about Body Love. 

She's also a holistic nutritionist, wellness expert, and celebrity health coach based in Los Angeles, California. The founder behind Be Well by Kelly grew out of the approachable nutritionists lifelong passion for health, the science of nutrition and overall wellness. Guided by a practical and always optimistic approach, Kelly helps clients improve their health, achieve their goals and develop sustainable habits to live a healthy and balanced life. Her understanding of food and our bodies reaction to is non-shaming and demystifying.

Talking to Kelly is like talking to a BFF about food. 

Kelly is extremely passionate about the science of human nutrition. In her new book, Body Love, she shares her secrets for losing weight, attuning ourselves to our bodies’ needs, and freeing ourselves from food drama.

More from Kelly below.

Name: Kelly LeVeque

Instagram Handle: @bewellbykelly

Congrats on the book! Can you chat through what that experience (from writing to putting it out into the world) has been like for you?

Thank you!! Writing Body Love has been the biggest accomplishment of my professional career. I knew when I received my deal from Harper Collins that it was my opportunity to help thousands of people rebuild their relationship with food and themselves, a heavy responsibility that put a ton of pressure on the experience. It wasn't easy, the manuscript changed a dozen times. I worked nights, weekends and missed so many social engagements. At first, the manuscript was a dense science dive but what I ultimately delivered was a book that mirrored a consulting session with me. Body Love is beautifully simple science that will help you ditch the food drama and feel motivated. And by the time my publication date arrived I was ready to launch it into outer space. My friends, family, and clients rallied around me to celebrate and send me off on a 10 city tour. I haven't had kids yet but I feel like I birthed a book baby; it took 12 months to conceive and grow, it was grueling on my body, my emotions were all over the place and it took another 6 months to figure out how to keep it alive it out and feel normal again. But looking back, it was unbelievably worth it and the best thing I have ever created thus far.

How did you stay "well" through the process of writing it?

Two practices that kept me well while writing my book and today include; the #fab4smoothie and personal check-ins! I always start my day with one of the low sugar, meal replacement smoothie recipes from Body Love. The Fab Four Smoothie is known for keeping my clients full, nourished and functioning for 4-6 hours and it 100% helped my survive writing my book, seeing clients and producing content. It was a grueling process and nowhere near perfect; I would miss workouts, lose sleep and meltdown from stress. But, every morning I would take a deep breath, sip my greens and start again. Never underestimate the power of having a chat with yourself and asking yourself "what do I need?" While writing the book, I transitioned from HIIT training to yoga and soulful spin classes with motivational teachers. I needed the positivity and a calm body. I started saying no to media events and nights out opting to sit in my bath and read or have a glass of wine with a friend.

What does wellness mean to you?

Wellness isn't a destination. 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. Wellness is the accumulation of the small habits and little steps that make you feel good. Wellness encompasses eating more greens, taking a yoga class, reading a good book, calling your mom and meeting up with your girlfriends to dance the night away. Wellness is the act of giving your life depth, meaning, and purpose so you passionately live it instead of letting it pass you by.

"Wellness is the act of giving your life depth, meaning, and purpose so you passionately live it instead of letting it pass you by."

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Why do you think so many women are struggling with the work/life balance?

Women struggle with balancing work and life because they want it all without ever reframing what giving each 110% looks like. For example, when you have a child you need to recalibrate. It doesn't mean you can't have it all, it just means you need to quantify what the "new 110%" looks like in your "new life as a mom". It also doesn't mean you won't be as successful, in fact, many of my mom clients are more successful because they are more efficient with their time and strategic in their choices. The biggest tool for creating work/life balance is learning to say "no" to things that aren't a priority to make time to execute on your non-negotiables.

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Since you describe yourself as an optimist. Do you think anyone can be an optimist?

I am hopeful! :) Personally, I am more motivated by the positivity in my life than I am discouraged by the bumps in the road. (and that isn't because it's peaches and cream over here at the LeVeque house!) I just choose to hang on to the wins, memories, and love and learn from my mistakes as they pass right through me instead of letting them take up space and manifest fear. If fear is the root of pessimism, gratitude is my roundup. Today, people have success without celebrating it and love without living it. My advice is to let it live a little in your heart, it will change your attitude and elevate your mood. No one says is better than Charles Swindoll... "The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church ..a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for the day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you .... we are in charge of our Attitudes! "- Charles Swindoll

Have you found balance in your own life?

I try to instill balance in my clients (and myself) by using light structure around what to eat and breaking 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 balance. Balance isn’t when you stop moving and live a rigid, on-plan, perfect life; you are human, and none of us is perfect. 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 will 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.”

"Balance isn’t when you stop moving and live a rigid, on-plan, perfect life; you are human, and none of us is perfect."

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Where do your drive and passion come from?

I love my job! I previously spent 8 years in cancer and genetics career and liked my job but never loved it. Today, I wake up early to read studies, see clients on weekends and reinvest in my career, business, and growth. I think...If you are doing what you would do for free, you are in the right place!

Who has been a trusted confidante when you've had a rough day?

My husband Chris (@bebaddbychris) is the love of my life, my "be bad" partner in crime and my best friend. He is also my attorney, my editor and my phycologist and.... he honestly hates talking about work but he does it daily because we're a team in life and love.

What are your biggest fears about running a business?

It's public knowledge but Chris and I both left big corporate careers to go out on our own as entrepreneurs; I took Be Well by Kelly full time in 2015 and Chris left law to try his hand at screenwriting in 2014. Until recently, our biggest fears have been about survival; Will we make it? Will we be able to pay rent? Was this a big mistake? Our parents thought we were crazy. We could have easily bought a house, had a few kids and just kept our previous careers but instead, we stayed in our apartment, sold our cars and bought a 2005 Toyota Tacoma and worked around the clock to make our dreams come true. I think today we finally feel like we can breathe but our fears are still the same and we still have the Tacoma.

What's something you'd like people to know about your job that they probably don’t?

Success doesn't happen overnight and it's still a job! Whats the saying? "It takes years to make an overnight success." For me, my consulting business started in 2012 and remained a side hustle until September 2015. It took two and half years of working nights, lunches and weekends to build it and have the courage to take it full time. Today, I still do my own accounting, scheduling, emails and I drive all over LA in traffic daily. At least 40% of what I do daily, I don't love or excel at including writing, but it's part of the job because doing what you love requires you to hustle until you are successful enough to outsource.

IYO-- How can we stay original when we are so saturated by other people's work?

Stop wasting your time watching and emulating others, it isn't where the magic happens, the magic is created when you protect that precious time and live your own life.

I am often asked "how did you come up with the Fab Four?" and "how did you decide to focus on hunger hormones and blood sugar balance?" But the answer is, I didn't choose it. I was simply living my own life, doing my own research and consulting my clients. And in my experience, I found that I could help my clients best when they weren't constantly thinking about food and ate to support the regulation of hunger hormones and blood sugar. The magic came to me when I was immersed in living my life not anyone else's.

"The magic came to me when I was immersed in living my life not anyone else's."

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What about your career makes you feel the most complete?

I am happy when my clients are happy, healthy and hitting goals. I can talk, write and share until I am blue in the face but nothing compares to the empowerment and success of a client. I will always have my private practice.

If you had to trade jobs with anyone else in the world, who would it be and why?

If I had to change jobs with anyone it would be a functional MD, probably Dr. Hyman. Mark Hyman heads up the Cleveland Clinic, is a multiple time best selling author but most importantly, he has the ability to request specific diagnostic testing for patients that nutritionists and dietitians cannot access. Thankfully, I work with multiple functional MD's to get this testing for my clients but it would be a luxury to do it personally since I read and develop my client plans based on these results.

At what point in your career did you find the confidence to really take charge and become the woman you are today?

My business has been in existence since 2012 but I didn't fully step into my purpose until I left my corporate career in September of 2015. Once I made the space to manifest the future things started taking off; within a month I had scheduled meetings with literary agents in New York and by January of 2016 I closed my first book deal but I wouldn't have had that confidence without real world experience.

What's the best advice you've ever been given? Or your favorite piece of #realtalk?

My dad told me no one ever has enough money so don't let that keep you from your passion, purpose or family. I don't think he expected me to totally change my life course and career but I will be forever thankful for his advice.

When you hit a big bump in the road, how do you find a new road or a detour?

I try not to dwell on the speed bumps. Whatever it is, it's over and thinking about it isn't going to fix it. I try not to say "should of, could of, would of" that's living in the past and makes me feel awful.

Instead, I just write them off. I created an imaginary "lost time leap year" and a "250k oh shit fund" where I allocate lost money and time. I move on quickly knowing that if I am trying there will be mistakes worth both. Honestly, there is no avoiding the bumps when you are moving there is only moving through them.

"There is no avoiding the bumps when you are moving, there is only moving through them."

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What song do you sing in the shower when you’ve had a bad day?

That's a toss up between Kendrick Lamar "Humble" and Bebe Rexha "Meant to Be" depending on the day!

Photo Credit: @davisfactor

Hair & Makeup: @SmashboxCosmetics @TheGlamApp @TheOuai