Women In Business: Celebrity Nutritionist Madeleine Shaw On Why It's Now 'Cool To Look Strong'

Celebrity Nutritionist Madeleine Shaw: 'It's Cool To Look Strong'

Around the UK, people are swapping evenings in the pub for yoga sessions at their local gym. They are turning their backs on fizzy drinks and instead, downing green smoothies like there's no tomorrow.

With more than 21 million photos currently tagged #EatClean on Instagram, it's fair to say that healthy living has never been more fashionable.

One of the women who's paved the way for this wellbeing revolution is nutritionist and blogger-extraordinaire Madeleine Shaw.

"I think social media is to thank for the shift in attitudes towards healthy eating," Shaw tells HuffPost UK Lifestyle.

"We can now see and hear about everything everyone else is doing - we’re watching people in Australia and LA who have these beachside, healthy lifestyles and they’re inspiring us to do things differently in the UK."

As well giving average folk like us advice about nutrition on her blog, Shaw also acts as a health coach to stars including Made In Chelsea’s Millie Mackintosh.

But Shaw, 25, hasn't always had a positive relationship with food.

As a teen, she went through cycles of depriving herself, then binging on food, in order to try and gain control in her life.

"One of my best friends died and my parents divorced, it was a troubling time for me," she says.

"I thought if I could control something then everything would be okay. It was never really about body image for me - food was a coping mechanism."

Her "tortuous" relationship with food caused her to suffer from severe IBS. Problems with her digestion meant she couldn't stomach many foods and at one stage, she stopped having periods.

It wasn't until she moved to Australia when she was 18 that everything began to change.

Shaw got a job in an organic café in Sydney and from there, she found her passion for nutrition.

"I really started to learn that food was amazing," she says. "I was learning how to cook and what foods I should be eating.

"I had loads of energy and my other health problems started to get better. It was really freeing."

Shaw began to post photos of food she had made in the café on Facebook and with the encouragement of friends, decided to set up her own blog.

"I remember the day I sat in my bed in my pajamas and watched every YouTube video about how to upload a picture and how to best write a blog post. I even looked up how to write a Tweet!" she says.

"I didn’t know anything about Twitter or any form of social media, so I taught myself. It was a total experiment, I probably said all the wrong things.

"I’m terribly dyslexic, so I know there were lots of spelling mistakes, but that’s kind of how you learn."

She left the café, trained as a nutritionist and has never looked back since.

Back in the UK, her business grew larger than she could have ever anticipated. Off the back of her blog, she began running pop-up supper clubs every month and was soon invited to do talks around the country.

She now offers nutrition advice to the rich as famous and has recently released her first book, Get the Glow.

Madeleine Shaw's typical day:

Wake Up: I wake up around 6.30am. I always start the day with some water - maybe a big mug of warm water with fresh lemon.

For breakfast I'll have something eggy - maybe poached eggs with salmon, or avocado and spinach.

Day: I'll meet with brands that I’m working with or I'll cook for a shoot and blog.

I normally eat out if I’m not at home. I’ll go to a café and grab some form of protein. Usually either fish or chicken and have that with lots of salad or roasted vegetables.

Evening: I’ll always do some kind of exercise, maybe a yoga class or a big walk. I love Richmond Park - I'm such a nature girl. I'll have a green juice to replenish after a workout.

I’ll make some sort of roast chicken with veggies or make a curry for dinner. My boyfriend is half-Indian, so we make lots of curries together. He’s very good at making them spicy, that’s for sure!

On top of all that, Shaw is also in the process of training to become a yoga teacher. Subject to her passing the last couple of exams, she should be qualified by the end of April.

She plans to eventually run yoga brunches, where she'll finish off classes by giving her yogis some nutritious food or a juice.

"For me, yoga is the perfect balance between exercise and mindfulness," she says.

"I think London is such a stressful city - even if we don’t have stress in our lives we seem to create it for ourselves. But yoga is a really good way to feel free from that."

With so much going on, it's perhaps not that surprising that work-life balance is something Shaw is "working on".

"I think social media makes it really hard for us to switch off because people are asking questions all the time and they are always expecting a fast response," she says.

"I do try and turn my phone off at 9pm and leave it in another room, because otherwise I could easily keep doing work and answering emails until 10.30pm at night.

"But it's tricky because in a way, I am my work, so I’m working all the time."

It's a little reassuring to know that Shaw hasn't quite got it all sorted. Her Instagram page may look flawless, but she assures us she isn't "perfect".

"I'm fine to be led astray and I don’t think that’s a bad thing," she jokes. "Life is to be enjoyed and I really enjoy a drink sometimes."

The good news is she doesn't think our new-found love of healthy living is going to go away anytime soon.

Part of that, she says, is because we are learning that we both look and feel better when care for our bodies.

"People are really starting to realise that the rugged, skinny, Kate Moss-look isn’t actually that cool," she says.

"Today, it’s much more cool to look strong and actually have a bit of flesh in your cheeks, be happy and feel energetic. I think that’s so refreshing."

So, what advice does this bedroom-blogger turned celebrity coach have for other women wanting to start their own business?

"Self-doubt is the biggest thing that stops people from starting a business," she says.

"We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others and thinking 'they could do this better than me'. To succeed in business you need to stop letting negative feelings hold you back.

"Other than that, find something you love to do. Starting a business is hard, but if you're passionate, you won't mind the long hours."

Madeleine Shaw is a brand ambassador for Savse smoothies, cold-pressed smoothies made from 100% natural fruit and veg.

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