We talk to nutritionist and author Charlotte Debeugny about her passion for good food and promoting health and well being. She’s building a solid reputation as a nutritionist after a career in finance.
An interview with nutritionist and author Charlotte Debeugny
What made you decide to do what you do?
The perfect storm! The birth of my third child, the realisation that I did not want to continue with a career in finance (though my employer was fantastic) my move to France and the realisation that it was time for me to take control, plant my feet and….drum roll….grow up and start making a stand for what I really wanted to do!
Why did you wait until you did to do it?
I’d always loved cooking and been interested in healthy eating. Once we moved to France, we could live on my husband’s salary and it was the right moment to start studying again.
What are you hoping to accomplish?
World domination, or at least Franco-English domination! A solid reputation as a nutrition expert and health professional.
How did you make the change? What or who helped you?
My passion for nutrition helped to push me into making the change. My husband was very supportive, as were my friends.
How did your family and friends react?
It’s changed so much. I never imagined that I would be working for myself in a profession I love. I could not even speak France when we first moved out here and now I am working and writing in French as well as establishing a reputation in a country where the Brits are not known for their ‘healthy’ eating!
What advice do you have for women considering a similar life change?
‘Do it’ with a caveat as I think financial security is important, for women and men. Worrying every night about how to pay the mortgage is draining and stressful. It took me 3 years to build up a regular income and if we had’nt had my husband’s salary, I might not have had this luxury. Ideally to pursue your ‘passion’ you need to have some savings or a second income and be realistic about the initial income you will be bringing in.
What are you proud of and what keeps you inspired?
I’m proud of my family and the life we’ve built together in France. As for what keeps me inspired? Reading, getting out and networking, great friends who are also quick to suggest new ideas, foods and recipes.
What do you love most about being the age you are?
The confidence and self-belief! Yes, I care about what people think about me but I’m no longer devastated by negative comments. I have developed ‘resilience’….!
What do you hate most about being the age you are?
Nothing! Still bouncing with energy, still buzzing with ideas and with 20+ years of ‘life experience’. It’s an incredible combination.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known in your twenties?
Do the job well and do it properly. I think in my twenties I often ‘rushed’ work or projects without going into enough depth (or maybe I just was not interested enough!). Doing a job well gives you the X-factor – it makes you stand out from the competition.
What are the most important business and/or personal lessons you’ve learnt along the way?
Don’t rush a decision – doing nothing is always an option! The temptation when you work for yourself is to say yes to everything and then find yourself in difficult situations.
I’d also add that you should stay true to your principles (and you will indeed build a reputation for this) but don’t judge or be disappointed when people don’t stick to their principles (I call them them ‘the flaky– wakies’ and they also will start to have a reputation for this!)
Final lesson – be kind, never forgot the power of words and actions to completely lift someone else’s mood.
Do you have a mantra that has guided you more than any other?
That’s an easy one! Dory from Finding Nemo: ‘Just keep swimming, just keep swimming….’
Which woman do you most admire and why?
Angela Merkel. Strong, feisty, hardworking, intelligent, passionate and driven……
Is there anything people consistently misunderstand about you?
My sense of humour – it’s dark and I also have a passion for zombies! A night in front of the TV with wine and ‘The Walking Dead’ is my idea of bliss.