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Women to Watch: The Health Advocate, Melanie Edwards

The breaking point, we all have it.  That moment when we simply decide that enough is enough and we must do a better job of investing in our own physical, mental and emotional health and wellness.  Today’s Woman to Watch has turned trials into triumph on numerous occasions.  Eating disorders and lay-offs have been transformed into passion and purpose.  Now she is changing lives for the better and helping people to make choices that will improve and possibly save their lives.  Melanie

Please introduce yourself…

I am a certified Holistic Health Coach and founder of Healthy By Choice DC. I attended Hampton University, where I achieved my MBA. After spending 9 years in corporate America, working for a major governmental contractor, I was laid-off in June 2013. To some, this would’ve been devastating, but I looked at it as a blessing to finally pursue my passion in Health & Wellness full time. Since then I haven’t looked back and I have found more fulfillment than I could ever imagine. I truly enjoy waking up everyday knowing that my days will be filled with love and impact, potentially changing the course of life and health for another person.

Tell us about your work…

Melanie: I love working with individuals from all walks of life showing those who struggle with fatigue and weight gain, how to avoid the diet roller coaster while igniting their lives and helping them to live abundantly healthy. Since June 2013, I’ve been blessed to work with over 60 amazing clients helping them look and feel their absolute best, creating a new awareness with food while enjoying life. I help clients see beyond the food on their plates, create a lifestyle that works for them which they never saw possible. My clients lose the weight and keep it off by adapting a new lifestyle. They look and feel more alive and energized, while discovering more about themselves.

I customize individual programs to work 1-on-1 with my clients and run a variety of group programs. My wellness programs include; 90 days to Wellness “Slim, Sexy, Radiant You” private 1-on-1 coaching and Platinum 180 “Eat and Drink Yourself to Fabulous Health” which is a 6 month Private VIP coaching program. I also offer exciting fun group programs which include 21 day seasonal detoxes. For more information on this program, visit www.detoxwithmelanie.com. Due to popular demand, I’ve converted my energizing 90 day Slim, Sexy, Radiant You program to a group program.

Why did you decide to Healthy By Choice DC and why do you think it is important?

Melanie: I believe Healthy By Choice DC has been waiting for me to blossom into the woman I am today. I needed to go through certain experiences in my life’s journey to become whole and complete so that I can effectively do this with passion and compassion. In some way, my whole life has centered on some level of health and wellness, and at times I became overly obsessed. It all began my freshman year in high school; I struggled with eating disorders for almost 6 years. First, with anorexia and it later transitioned into bulimia. Literally on the last day of my freshman year in college while sitting in my dorm room I realized I lacked self love, and that’s when it all came to an end. I remember so vividly, that I fell to my knees in tears on my last and final binge. I prayed to God for deliverance and promised that if he showed me how to love ME, that I would love myself no matter what obstacles I faced. Honestly, that was the last time I ever thought or considered doing anything damaging or self inflicted to my body. I was determined to discover a healthier way to be happy while loving myself. You can read my story here.

The choices you make today will impact your tomorrow, turning something bad into good, and vice versa. We have the power to choose our mood and outlook on life. We choose what to wear and we choose what brand to use. Most importantly we choose what we put on and into our bodies. Consciously and unconsciously we choose our overall health.

When you make the choice to be healthy, you’ve also chosen to live a healthier happier lifestyle. In addition to choosing better quality foods, a healthier lifestyle includes your relationships, career, spirituality and fitness. Every choice we make will impact our overall wellbeing and how we feel about ourselves. When you are made aware, you gain full power over your choices which lead to your overall health. Which led me to the name of my company – Healthy By Choice, DC

What impact, if any, does Healthy By Choice DC have on women?

Melanie: Healthy By Choice, DC is centered around self love, creating a space for women to take more control over their health and their lives. As women, we give so much to our family, church, community and others that we leave very little for ourselves. Over time we lose sight and fail to recognize who we truly are deep down inside. Although we focus on healthy eating, at Healthy By Choice DC, women are able to discover themselves once again and see what’s been holding them back from living a life they’ve always wanted to live in a fully self expressed and authentic way. Here at Healthy By Choice DC, we not only help women focus on their physical being, but spiritually and emotionally as well.

What has been the most rewarding part of your work and what are you most proud of?  

Melanie: The most rewarding part is when I see or hear the big smile on my clients face and with so much gratitude they thank me for helping them follow their passion which allows them to purge those unhealthy foods from their diets so they can live with purpose. It always brings tears because I know I’ve helped them change their life. I’m most proud when my clients get the results they want, whether it’s weight loss, reduced pain, more energy, more life balance, or wanting to eat healthier.  I’m proud when they’ve discovered happiness, freedom and peace from life’s challenges. I’m proud when they discover that the person in the mirror truly loves the person looking back at them.

Who are your greatest influences? 

Melanie: From adolescence until now my paternal and maternal grandparents have been my greatest influences. They both either had farms or grew their own vegetables.  While visiting with them during the summer, I was exposed to farming and gardening.  This was my first introduction to fresh vegetables and feeding a family on fresh produce. My paternal grandparents owned a farm with many acreages of land and I can remember spending my summers helping out in the garden, and many evenings shelling butter (lima) beans and snapping green peas. Both of my grandmothers canned their own vegetables, and fruits, and made their own jellies. I’ve run through the corn fields, seen the pigs and big tractors. I’ve witnessed making fresh rolls and pickled watermelon rind. I have a great appreciation for what my grandparents created for their family and their health. It amazes me that I’m able to now visit with my maternal grandparents and pick dinner from the garden which includes cabbage, kale, collard greens and sweet potatoes. The health of my grandparents is living proof that whole vegetables and unprocessed foods equal longevity. They are my greatest influences and encourage me to carry on the legacy.

What has been most challenging about your work?

Melanie: What I have found to be the most challenging about my work, is being ok with people who choose not  to be healthy.  Most recently, I have come to accept that some people just want a sounding board about their unhealthy situations but really have no desire to make the appropriate changes.  It’s a choice that we all have, and when people have reached their limits and are ready for a change, I will be available to help them through their journey.

What is your favorite quote and why?

I love the quote:

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates

Melanie: We all must eat in order to nourish our bodies, I’m a firm believer that the quality of food you consume will determine the overall quality of your health.  As you may have read in my full story online, after being diagnosed with MS, I didn’t change my eating habits initially.  However, as my symptoms worsened and I started experiencing complications from the medication, I decided I need to change my lifestyle and began consuming nutrient dense foods.  As a result,  showed major improvements and my neurologist has been comfortable enough to keep me off medications and follow-up with regular checkups.

What would you like for your legacy to be?

Melanie: I want to be known for creating a shift in the world. To be remembered for the lives I’ve changed and that I’ve helped others live a more fulfilling and abundant life. I want people to remember me for my heart which was filled with love and compassion to help others see that there is more to life.  To give others the space to live outside of what we are told or are afraid to do. It starts with what we eat and ends with love.

What’s next for you and Healthy By Choice DC?

Melanie: My vision includes expanding my services to corporate and organizational wellness initiatives.

Is there someplace online where readers can connect with you and follow your work? 

Melanie: Yes, please visit my website www.healthbychoicedc.com where you can join my mailing list to receive free e-books as well as healthy tips and delicious recipes.  Click here to access my calendar to book a free consultation.

Thank you for allowing me to discuss my life’s passion.


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