If you know her you love her (same goes if you follow her on Instagram), it’s all star nutritionist Kelly Leveque of Be Well by Kelly. She works with high profile clients, transforms people’s lives, and just came out with her book Body Love (scroll down to WIN!). Oh yeah, and she’s a total girl boss. We’ve shared her #fab4 healthy & delicious recipes (like this beef & broccolini, this green smoothie, or this chia seed oatmeal), and tips here before, but today we’re going back to the beginning and asking her how she got her start and where her book journey all began. Happy reading!
First things first – why did you become a nutritionist?
I fell in love with health and nutrition my freshman year in high school, when my favorite class was “Health.” Back then, there wasn’t anything being shared on the Internet so I started reading diet books and that habit still continues today. At USC, my favorite class was nature of “Human Health and Disease” but I never really thought nutrition could be a full-blown career the way it is for me today. Instead, I built a career in cancer and genetics – my job was to read primary sources of research and educate oncologists on how to use the new technology to treat their patients. After eight years in the industry, it was common practice for me to pop into pubmed research and read the studies specifically based around nutrition. It was a hobby, and then it became a career!
I just started a side hustle. I was able to build up my business and support my business with my career, because I didn’t jump off the curb and leave my job completely. I started Be Well by Kelly in 2012 and I was seeing all my clients on weekends, at night, on lunch breaks, ditching out and seeing them for an hour at 9:00 am, whatever! I did that until September of 2015. That whole time I would write articles for other blogs, see clients, and then start seeing their friends–it’s all about consistency. I probably could’ve left a year and a half earlier, but I was afraid. At the same time, I think you have to trust the timing of your life and what you have going on. For me specifically, my husband and I were making really large career moves– he left a law firm 6 months before I left my job. I was supporting him in his dream to write movies and he was supporting me in my dream to be a nutritionist instead of working for a big corporation.
Photos by Anna Delores
How did you land your first client?
My first client was a friend, not a best friend although she has since become one, but a fiancé to one of my husbands fraternity brothers from UCLA. She was my first Be Bridal client and I worked with her 6 plus hours a week for free in preparation for her wedding. She lost 30 pounds and has since kept it off!
My first celebrity client was Eve Hewson. She was training with Mike Alexander of MADFIT who’s a trainer in West Hollywood and one of my friends for over 10 years. He wanted to see a little bit better results and knew I was a big geek when it came to this stuff, so he brought me in. Eve hit her body composition goals, and then Mike got a contract for the two guys working on X-Men. He brought me in for Evan Peters and Ben Hardy because you just get better results when the food is dialed in, too.
Writing and publishing a book is a BIG deal – congrats! Has this always been a goal of yours?
Thank you! It was a realized dream that happened in 2015. First, I always assumed that my clients knew a lot about nutrition because of what was being shared on the internet and what was available in the books but what I started to realize after meeting with them was that once they understood the science they were self motivated. Then, when I looked around for a book that made the science simple and accessible with a plan that was more of lifestyle and less of a diet it was nowhere to be found. After seeing all the positive changes my clients were making and their promising results it became a no brainer, I had to write Body Love. I needed to help more than the people I could physically see in a day.
Photo by Braedon Flynn
How did you balance your business, taking clients, social media, AND writing your book?
I definitely get caught up in being an entrepreneur and running my own business, from seeing clients to writing a book and running my entire social platform, my life is constantly in flux and it is NEVER going to be perfect. If I over commit I know something’s gotta give – I just try to make sure it isn’t my health. Just recently, I pulled back on my client hours and cancelled a trip location on my book tour. I am constantly reassessing how I feel and refocusing on myself. Especially, since I have deliverables–I write for blogs, meet with clients and deliver specific plans, I just wrote my second book proposal and I am launching a nutrition-training program with MBG.
Do I wish I had all the time in the world to do yoga, drink matcha and meditate? Yes, who doesn’t? But, I am passionate about my work and know I am helping others so like most people, I need to schedule my yoga classes or they won’t happen.
Needless to say, we’re avid watchers of your IG stories, and you’re always on the move! What does a day in the life of Kelly look like these days?
Right now is not normal, but a rough schedule looks like clients Monday through Wednesday and Body Love Tour travel Wednesday through Saturday. Until of course…I get booked on a Monday morning show in a different state and need to reschedule twenty clients over a weekend. With the book, I am writing more than ever before too which means longer workdays. Like explained, I am always reevaluating and pulling back when I need to. I think the most important thing I teach my clients is that they are in control of their life, something they ALWAYS have the ability to change if they need to.
Traveling is one thing we can all be worried about when it comes to sticking to a healthy routine! How do you make sure you stay on track on the road?
I totally get it. I am writing this article on an airplane and my bag is stocked with a primal kitchen bar, 2 packets of protein and a shaker bottle (one vanilla one chocolate) and I bought a packet of almonds and a prepared salad at the airport. You can never be too prepared.
Photos by Anna Delores
For someone looking for a healthy menu they can follow – what do YOU eat in a day?
I love a filling fruit free smoothie or an egg breakfast, like a veggie omelet or a few fried eggs, avocado and salad. I tend to keep my first meal of the day very low carb because I would rather add a starch, fruit or carb to lunch or dinner; it’s just a more emotional time of the day for me. Lunch trends to be chopped veggies and salmon salad, turkey or chicken lettuce cups or a big salad. For dinner, I am looking for the comfort of a warm meal, maybe fish and veggies, bison tacos or a burger and baked fries. I tend to avoid snacking and instead try to fill up on real meals that completely turn off my hunger.
Are there any secrets to staying accountable?
Call me. 😉 Share it! Start a group text with girlfriends, story your success, or make it turnkey by having Model Meals, Instacart, Sunbasket or another clean food delivery program send you groceries, semi prepared or prepared meals. In fact, try all of those options and see what makes you the most successful.
You’re obviously a fan of a good workout too – where do you go to get in a sweat session?
Soulcycle is a quick 45min if I need to bust it out, but if I have more time I always prefer to do yoga. I love the way it makes me feel emotionally, physically and spiritually. Not to mention, I see some the best results when I keep my cortisol in check. I love my MindBody app, I log in to see what times are available and book in advance.
Photos by Kylie Chevalier
What is your best advice for someone who is new to the game and would like to start living a healthier lifestyle?
Start with a Fab Four Smoothie! I created the Fab Four Smoothie formula to help my clients learn how to build a low sugar meal replacement smoothie. This is very different from the many juice shops, grocery smoothie bars and smoothie recipes online, which can be loaded with sugar, specifically fructose sugar from excess fruit, agave, dates and juice. When it comes to weight loss and energy, the #fab4smoothie is the key!
For some new clients, I spare them the science and simply ask them to start everyday with a Fab Four Smoothie and within the first week I am getting exciting texts about how their skin is glowing, energy is high and the scale is down. The Fab Four smoothie limits fruit and instead helps you fill up on protein, fat and fiber that naturally helps to elongate and balance your blood sugar curve. This combination keeps you from crashing before lunch and sabotaging your healthy eating efforts. When you arrive at your next meal alive you can easily make a conscious decision to put healthy ingredients, preferably the Fab Four, on your next plate.
What is the most rewarding part about what you do?
I am extremely passionate about the science of human nutrition and the desire to help my clients achieve their personal health goals so when my clients trust the process, themselves, and me and achieve results there is nothing better!
Don’t leave here without entering to win a copy of Kelly’s book, Body Love! Here’s how: