It’s OK to be the only one with your message. Right now, there are a lot of really popular trends in wellness that my method doesn’t jive with. It was scary to be the first voice with my message and there were so many times I felt like running to hide. The truth is, innovators are always going to be the first voice on the scene and will always be speaking counter to what’s currently out there. Don’t rely on anyone else to validate your work. Have the confidence that what you do is right and it matters.
As part of my series about young people who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lauren Chante.
Lauren Chante, of LaurenChante.com, is a health strategist with her master’s degree in Exercise Science. She helps people stop jumping from diet to diet and find what works for their unique body and life, through her signature wellness coaching program called Cracking The Wellness Code. She created her method after struggling to diet, herself, and having a close call with developing an eating disorder.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit how you grew up?
I grew up in West Suffield, CT, on a beautiful 9-acre pond surrounded by trees. I spent lots of time outside and lots of time reading. Entrepreneurship runs in my family — my mom was a single mom and started her own businesses, both so she could earn income and be present with me. As a kid, I would sit on her bedroom floor and help her sort receipts for business taxes. At the age of 12, I made the decision to apply for college instead of going to high school. After a rigorous interview process, I was accepted to Bay Path University at 13 years old. I ultimately graduated from the University of Hartford at 16, with a degree in biology. Along with school, I was a competitive dancer and spent most of my free hours in the dance studio. Ultimately, I auditioned for Broadway and lived in New York City.
Is there a particular book or organization that made a significant impact on you growing up? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
As a young teen, I participated in the Miss America Scholarship Program. As a dancer, I loved the opportunity to get on stage. As part of the program, we had to choose a social platform to support. It was the first time I was exposed to all the problems that exist in the world and was directly challenged to do something about them. It made a big impact on me and started me on the path to serving others.
How do you define “Making A Difference”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
To me, making a difference is about solving a problem. Some problems are big ones, like preventing eating disorders and solving our health crises. Some problems are harder to see, like a neighbor who is lonely or a small business that’s barely staying afloat. Whether you tackle a big problem or small problem, you’re making a difference.
Ok super. Let’s now jump to the main part of our interview. You are currently leading an organization that aims to make a social impact. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change in our world today?
I help women stop jumping diet to diet and find what works for their unique bodies and life. This mission is about more than getting physical results — when people experience repeated “diet fails,” they start to internalize their failures and think that they’re the problem. They feel shame and frustration. Sometimes the frustration is so bad that it leads people to make extreme choices that endanger their physical and mental health, like crash dieting, and can even lead to eating disorders. The sad part is, it’s not their fault. The way we teach and talk about weight loss is broken.
As an exercise scientist and certified nutrition coach, I’ve seen the gaps in the traditional methods. I try to fill those gaps through my work. Over and over, my clients tell me that this new approach takes a huge weight off their shoulders and finally allows them to pursue their wellness goals in a way that doesn’t jeopardize their happiness.
The #1 Mindset shift I ask people to make is: There’s no such thing as the perfect diet. Dieting is a modern issue. Thousands of years ago, humans gained or lost weight based on how much food was in our environment. With good problem solving, we always try to get to the root of a problem instead of treating the symptom. For example, if you have chronic headaches then you should try to understand why you’re having headaches instead of just taking ibuprofen all the time. With dieting, we can’t do that — fixing the root of the problem would mean making a choice to live where there’s not enough food, which we’re not going to do!! As a result, scientists, dietitians, fitness companies and nutrition companies are all just trying to find the next best thing to fixing the root of the problem. So, nothing is going to be the perfect fix. It can’t be! Letting go of the search for the perfect diet allows you to look inward and focus on what’s working for YOUR body. I teach people my exact system for learning what works (and doesn’t work) for YOU.
Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?
A short time after my first child was born, I was struggling to lose weight. Even though I was in the fitness industry and had my master’s degree, I felt out of control and I just couldn’t get the results I wanted. I got so frustrated that I made myself throw up for the first time. At that moment, I knew I wasn’t acting like myself and that *I* wasn’t the problem. From that moment, I’ve made it my mission to understand every facet of the issues of wellness, weight, dieting, body image and diet culture. I knew that if I needed help then other people did, too. That’s how my personal approach to wellness was born and what I teach, now, in my signature wellness coaching program called Cracking The Wellness Code.
Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?
As a coach with nearly 14 years in my field, I had often used other organizations and programs to work with my clients. Every time I used someone else’s program, I found gaps that were preventing my clients from being successful. Eventually, I developed a vision for something completely different than what was currently on the market. The idea was like an infection that I couldn’t get rid of. Every nerve in my brain was on fire and I thought about it obsessively. I literally HAD to create my programs if I wanted to get my brain back and sleep at night. I had no choice!
Many young people don’t know the steps to take to start a new organization. But you did. What are some of the things or steps you took to get your project started?
The first thing I did was start. I know that sounds simple, but it’s the hardest part for most people. I embraced the idea of progress, not perfection, and just started building anything I felt capable of building immediately. You learn SO much from simply taking action. You start to get a feel for what’s going to work and what’s not going to work. You can never get back the time you spent waiting for the perfect time to start.
After that, I made sure to find a mentor. I’m so blessed to work with Nicole Walters of Inherit Learning Company and star of She’s the Boss on USA Network. It’s so much easier to build on the experience of others instead of trying to figure it all out on your own. Working with a mentor saved me years of frustration and helped me get my business started on a strong foundation, so I could immediately serve my clients well and change the world faster!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
People recognize me, which is crazy! I’ve had people say they recognize me from podcasts I’ve been on or seeing me on social media. I’m not a superstar, so it floors me every time.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or take away you learned from that?
Live video was really big when I first got on social media. At the time, I was a stay at home mom and my kids were really little. It was really tricky to figure out how to fit live videos in with my kids at home. One time, I thought I had a moment “alone” to do a video, but turns out I was wrong — one of my kids ended up streaking across the live video, completely naked!
None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?
Nicole Walters, CEO of Inherit Learning Company and star of She’s The Boss on USA network, is my “official” mentor and I literally would not be here if it wasn’t for her. Through Nicole, I’ve seen firsthand what it means to have a business that’s built on serving others and is rooted in integrity. I learned that there’s so much white noise online that makes you feel like you should be an overnight success. She’s taught me to slow down and to recognize there’s no substitute for doing the work. She also taught me how to apply my incredible work ethic in the right direction.
Even though Nicole is “big time,” she doesn’t outsource her relationship with her students. She has “talked me down” so many times when I was getting frustrated with my work and, on top of that, she has the best advice in the industry. She always knows exactly what to say, exactly when I need it most, and she’s never been wrong. In a world that’s super saturated with business coaches, I’m so grateful to have someone I can truly trust with my legacy and my purpose.
I’m also grateful for my cheerleader Allie Casazza, the creator of the course Uncluttered Home, CEO of the Purpose Group and Harper Collins Author of the upcoming book Declutter Like a Mother. Allie and I met through Instagram (basically through divine intervention) and she invited me to be a guest on her podcast. I was floored by Allie’s commitment to helping other female “baby entrepreneurs” get a leg-up. Over time, we’ve become “real life” friends. Her story is amazing — she went from a stay at home mom of 4, so broke they didn’t always know where their next meal was coming from, to the powerhouse behind a multi-seven figure company that changes women’s lives in massive ways. Seeing her success has helped me to know that it’s possible to have a beautiful, purpose-driven business that serves the world in more than one way.
Allie has a quote I love (which I am sure I am butchering), that goes something like “Change the world twice — once with your message and the second time with the money you make from it.” Both Nicole and Allie have helped me work on my money mindset and see that money isn’t evil, it’s crucial. Business profits help you do important things like create jobs, give to organizations you care about and continue spreading your message in an even bigger way.
Without saying specific names, can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
One of my clients felt she had tried absolutely everything to lose weight — every diet, supplement and workout program you can think of. She had begun to get really, really down on herself and felt like her body was broken. She was starting to feel resentful of it and was so frustrated. It was making her miserable. Through working together on her mindset and her approach to caring for her body, we broke through her sticking point. She lost 35 pounds and kept it off. Most importantly, she was happier and calmer — not just because she lost weight and felt better in her skin, but because she had a completely different mindset.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
- Become someone with a growth mindset and believe that your problem can be solved. So many people believe life is just hard and problems just exist, so they never look for solutions. The truth is, there are so many incredible people doing amazing work to change the world and solve problems. Do yourself a favor — find them
- The next best thing is to get comfortable being counterculture. Changing the way you approach your wellness or weight loss isn’t easy when you’re surrounded by people who aren’t doing what you’re doing. You have to get comfortable seeing yourself as a thought leader in your circle and get used to being the odd one out.
- Take my courses! I believe wellness is generational: Like we pass down money from parents to children, we pass down our habits. That means we can change the way whole generations care for their bodies, just by starting with us.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of the interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each).
- It’s OK to be the only one with your message. Right now, there are a lot of really popular trends in wellness that my method doesn’t jive with. It was scary to be the first voice with my message and there were so many times I felt like running to hide. The truth is, innovators are always going to be the first voice on the scene and will always be speaking counter to what’s currently out there. Don’t rely on anyone else to validate your work. Have the confidence that what you do is right and it matters.
- Let your dreams grow with time. After a decade of looking at inspirational quotes on pinterest (“Reach for the stars, land on the moon?” anyone?), I had trouble seeing the big possibilities for my work immediately — and I felt like I was a lame entrepreneur. I needed time, and exposure to other female entrepreneurs who are doing epic things, before I could visualize the magnitude of the potential for my work. I wish someone had told me that it’s OK to start small — with one client, one neighborhood, one part of the bubble of the world. You don’t have to “go big or go home.” Just start and let your dreams grow organically.
- Success is an invisible scale that hasn’t tipped yet. Every time you put effort toward your goals, an invisible stone gets added to one side of the scale. You may feel like nothing is happening in your organization, but stones are piling up behind the scenes. You have no idea how close to your tipping point you are, but you have to keep piling on the stones and know that the scale is going to tip one day.
- Serving others requires money. If you want to keep doing your life changing work, it requires a strong financial foundation. You can’t be a life changer for others if you can’t keep your lights on and food on your own table; You can’t take your mission and scale it so it’s large enough to change the world. Whether you’re a business or a nonprofit, mind your dollars and work on your money mindset. No one wins if your organization goes under from poor financial management.
- Ask for the opportunities you want. We live in a generation where people are sitting on social media just hoping they’ll be discovered, or sinking tons of money into social media ads to gain an audience. Instead of waiting for opportunities to come to you, identify the opportunities you want and ask for them.
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
There’s nothing more wonderful than waking up everyday to a job that has meaning. When you love what you do, it’s not even work. However, don’t force it if you’re not sure what you’re passionate about doing. Your “aha” moment will come! It took me 12 years in my field before I even started having a vision for my personal contribution.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I’d love to have lunch with Jessica Alba. I’ve followed her since she was an actress and I’m so impressed with how she made a transition from Hollywood to running the Honest Company (we used her diapers for years, and their conditioning detangler is the only one that works for my girls!) I feel like we’d have so much to talk about and we’d be friends in real life.
How can our readers follow you online?
The best way to keep in touch is to go to LaurenChante.com and join my Lifechangers club, so you’ll get e-mails from me directly to your inbox. You can also follow me on instagram, facebook and clubhouse as @laurenchanteofficial (http://www.instagram.com/LaurenChanteOfficial and http://www.facebook.com/LaurenChanteOfficial)
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!