“Love what you do and be true to yourself”: Madeleine Shaw talks work and wellness

Madeleine Shaw has an idyllic lifestyle, right? She eats really healthily, does loads of exercises and she looks amazing for it *glowing*. But if you’re sat at your desk right now you might think that this sort of lifestyle is unrealistic – and not one you could actually live. But you’ll be SO surprised!

I chatted to Madeleine about how she balances everything and you know what, her advice is all really do-able! Here is her incredible advice on all things work, stress and wellness. Enjoy!

1. What was your diet like growing up? Have you always been a healthy eater?

I haven’t always eaten the way I do now. When I was a child I probably had what people would consider a “normal” diet (which included sugar), but once I reached my teens, I lived on a diet of rice cakes, diet coke and low fat foods because that’s what my perception of a healthy diet was. I had dull skin, limp hair and had terrible digestive problems.

I moved to Australia when I was 18 and fell totally in love with their lifestyle. Exercising regularly and eating wholesome healthy foods is part of their lifestyle. I got a job at an organic cafe in Bondi, learnt how to prepare and cook food properly, and really educated myself on how food can nourish and heal the body. I instantly felt better from eating well – my digestive problems subsided, and my skin began to glow.

2. Why did you decide to get into the health industry and how did you go about it? 

I first took an online course at IIN (Integrative Institute Nutrition) which is an online course to become a holistic health coach. I was loving the healthy Australian lifestyle so much and one of my girlfriends over there had done the course so I enrolled pretty much as soon as she recommended it! I would always cook for my friends, who encouraged me to set up a blog to share healthy recipes. At first I was scared because I knew how many blogs were out there, but at my leaving party from Australia my friend gave me some of the best advice – “There’s only one you and you will bring something different that no one else can.”  So with that, I moved home and set up my blog.

I began sharing my recipes, and people really like them! I started getting lots of followers on Instagram and from there I went on to write my first book Get the Glow which was published in April 2015. After it was published I began working on my second book Ready Steady Glow which is released on 7th April this year!

I wanted to further my education after studying at IIN so I enrolled at CNM for a 3 year course in London so I could really understand nutrition and work with my health coaching clients on a deeper level. In between all of this I trained at a Yoga Teacher. For me, learning never stops and I want to learn as much as I can!

Image Credit: Rex Features

Image Credit: Rex Features

3. What are your top tips for beating stress?

  • Get your head below your heart.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed I get my head below my heart. It might be a downward dog or (when in public) lowering my head below my knees seated. This gives you a change of perspective, literally, turning your world upside down. It is very calming and centering. Come up slowly though!

  • Meditate! 

Meditation is a hard one. I openly admit how hard I find it to sit still, but I try to take a few minutes each day to belly breathe. Sometimes in the morning and always at night, I’ll just close my eyes and feel my belly rise and fall. I’ll feel my body rather than listening to my monkey mind. I like to listen to my body love meditation from Glow Guides, my 8 week transformational app.

  • Chew your food

Whenever I’m feeling stressed my stomach plays up. It can be awful. It happens when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I used to run for something sugary and comforting, however that always made it worse. Now I wait and try to avoid eating when my stomach is doing flips. When I do, I sit, relax and chew my food. Consuming lots of food when you are stressed is like pouring gasoline on a fire. Just wait a little and get yourself in a restful state.

  • Find an activity you can do which clears your mind

For some people this will be going to the gym, I like to do yoga as I find it really calming, but can include other activities like reading a book or even cooking!

4. Your lifestyle sounds amazing but for someone working crazy hours stuck in an office, what small and realistic changes can they make to their diet and fitness regime today?

  • Prepare

Prepare healthy and wholesome food at home and take it into work. I always suggest people prepare for the week on a Sunday and a Wednesday that way you’ll find it easier to be healthy at lunch.

  • Switch biscuits for raw veggies

Carrots, celery, cucumber, radishes and some mangetout in some tupperware make a very satisfying crunch and they’re easy to munch on at your desk.

  • Drink at least 2 litres of water a day

This should be easy at your desk! Keep a big bottle at your desk, and set reminders on your phone.

  • Put exercise in your diary like a meeting

You can’t miss a meeting – so why should you miss exercising!

  • Get up from your desk and walk around every 45 minutes

Sitting at a desk can be very straining on your back, so get up, stretch and get your blood flowing. You’ll feel energised every time you do!

Image Credit: Rex Features

Image Credit: Rex Features

5. What is you advice for people wanting to follow in your career footsteps?

Love what you do and be true to yourself. Find a way to talk to people in a respectful and authentic way. I think social media is incredibly important for promotion and speaking with your fans. Also being consistent and having a dialogue with readers is so important, replying to comments and being consistent with posts. Finally being kind to yourself and others helps!

6. Tell us about your new book. Where did the inspiration come from and what can we expect to read and learn? We’re super excited!

I really listened to what my followers were saying to me. I constantly ask them for feedback and what they want to see me create. The thing that crops up time and time again is that people find it most difficult to be healthy because they simply don’t have the time. The book is split up into fast weeks and slow weekends. During the week when people are low on time I’ve developed delicious recipes that take between 5-30 minutes. Generally people have more time to cook at the weekend, and so I’ve got lots of yummy recipes that help you slow down, relax and will help you fall back in love with healthy, wholesome food all over again!

Pre-order Madeleine’s new book Ready Steady Glow here.