Written by Cherie Rivas & Kevin Kapusi Starow

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself, like what do you do?

Hi, I’m Cherie…. and I’m a ‘corporate escapee’, now following my calling, loving my life, and running my successful Women’s Health & Wellness Coaching business.

I work with amazing women every day, both face to face and via online, helping them to refocus their minds, recreate their menus and reconnect with their bodies, through physical fitness, (with the aim of reforming and redirecting the future of their health).

I’m also Mum to Mr 7…. a pretty cool little kid who makes me feel completely blessed every single day. We love going on adventures & making our Friday Night Pizza together.

2. Why do you do what you do, and do you enjoy it? (Women’s Health)

I absolutely love what I do…. essentially because it’s a 100% authentic extension of WHO I am. Creating my business from scratch, has meant that I’ve been able to align every element of my service delivery with my own heart centred values and beliefs. 

I feel that I can really support and add value to the lives of other women, who are considering, or who are still in the early stages of making significant lifestyle changes for the sake of better heath. My value comes not only from mix of qualifications (that are quite unique within my Industry), but also from my experience in breaking through a range of barriers in order to end an extensive history of yo-yo dieting and self-esteem and body weight issues.  

3. Where were you Born?

I was born in Brisbane, but we moved to the Blue Mountains of NSW when I was about 3 or 4. I’ve lived between various cities, regional centres and rural/remote area of both NSW and Qld since then.

I always feel a little conflicted at State of Origin time…. but I tend to always back the underdog!

4. What did you what to be when you were a child? (Women’s Health)

All through primary and high school, I wanted to be a vet. I did all my work experience in veterinary clinics & even did a week at Sydney’s Taronga Park Zoo in the primates section. Getting up close & personal with baby orangutans was one of the most incredible, spirit warming experiences I’ve ever had!

5. Are you passionate about food?


Yes, I definitely get excited and inspired by food, but not only from a culinary or nutritional/medicinal perspective, but also in the fact that for me, food is my creative outlet.

I love to get experimental in the kitchen…. testing out new ingredients or different ideas. Food also has the capacity to invoke a range of memories and emotions…. it’s so sensory…. smell, taste, texture, how it looks (and how it can make us feel and look, both inside and out).

My relationship with food is really positive and respectful now. In the past I considered it my ‘enemy’ and blamed it for being my ‘undoing’…. but learning about it and getting creative and experimental with it, empowered me to break the negative cycles I’d established.

Having my little boy really pushed the shift for me. When I was transitioning him onto solids, I was so conscious that he was born ‘physically perfect’, and I wanted to make sure that the foods I made for him supported his immediate and future health needs. I made everything from scratch and that sparked the beginning of a beautiful new relationship with food and also my own body.

6. What do you like to eat, is there a favourite? (Women’s Health)

My eating pattern mainly centres on plant based wholefoods, although I do eat some animal based proteins such as eggs, milk and cheese. I eat a few servings of chicken and pork each week, but I’d eat twice as much oily fish (or other seafood) as both of those combined.

I eat very little ‘red meat’ (other than one or two servings of pork per week, if that), and I also have a ‘Meat-Free Monday’, just to give my body a ‘digestive day off’.

On the rare occasion that I might dine out, that’s the opportunity I’ll take to indulge in a juicy piece of scotch fillet or well rendered portion of pork belly. Mmmm….. so good!!!   

I don’t really have a ‘sweet-tooth’, but I do enjoy a nice dessert if I go out too. If there was cheesecake, banoffee pie or pecan pie on the menu, I’d really struggle to make my mind up!!

7. There is a growing problem centred on unhealthy eating, poor food choices, and the lack of exercise. Why do you think we have such a problem, in particular with children?

When we have a nation of unhealthy adults/parents, of course the result is going to be a nation of unhealthy children. It’s such a sad and unfortunate situation and it breaks my heart when I see morbidly obese children…. their lives literally being cut short, through no fault of their own.

In my view the problem is that as a western nation, our lives have become so ‘busy’ (although not necessarily efficient or productive). We’ve become distracted by so many things in our external environment that are constantly demanding our attention, that we can no longer hear the messages that our bodies are trying to send us. Technology and longer working hours have made us more sedentary and convenience foods (which are typically dense in sugar, fat and calories/energy), have become our ‘go-to’ food selections. It’s like we’ve become completely disconnected from our bodies and forgotten the ‘action-consequence relationship’.  

Overweight and obesity is an obvious sign that our bodies are in ‘crisis mode’, but because were so busy, we’ve failed to recognise all signs and all the little habits that have contributed to getting us to that point. By the time we recognise that our body is in crisis, the problem seems so big and too hard to fix.

There’s also so much misinformation available on the internet and through social media, that it’s overwhelming and hard to even know where or how to begin getting yourself back on track. Where ever you turn there’s a new ‘miracle cure’, ‘diet fad’ or myth to contend with.

As a Women’s Health & Wellness Coach, I like to break things down into small manageable chunks for my clients to learn and implement. It’s the best way to create new positive habits and ultimately create sustainable and long-term changes to health.

Not only do I give the skills and knowledge to change their own lives, but also to change the lives of their families.

8. If you can pass on any advice to parents, regarding having children eat healthy options, what would that advice be? (Women’s Health)

My advice is simple…. give your kid’s food in its most simple and natural state as possible! Nature has already designed and manufactured it into the perfect recipe to fulfil the physiological needs of your kids. Food processing companies can’t replicate the ‘perfection’ that nature already provides for us!

Think of it like this…. fresh, clean and ‘real’ wholefoods, are brimming with life! Highly refined or processed foods on the other hand, have had their ‘natural’ life ‘squeezed’ right out of them, and replaced with additives, preservatives, colourings and other chemical that nature didn’t intend for.

Would you rather support the lives of your kids with the ‘living’ or the ‘un-living’?

If you can get the ‘mindset’ right, the shift towards really changing or reinforcing the healthy behaviours, becomes so much more simple!

9. What are the 5 things you could not live without, other than body parts?

1) My Morning Coffee: I don’t think that requires further explanation?

2) My Shower: It wakes me up & invigorates my in the morning & relaxes & helps me unwind after a long day!

3) My Deep Freeze: I’m a huge advocate of bulk food prepping. It makes portion control simple, helps with weight management, is more cost effective and saves so much time (and mess) in the long run!

4) My Personal Trainer: I believe in order to be the best version of yourself, you need to invest in yourself. Even though I’m a qualified Personal Trainer myself, being trained and held accountable to another exercise professional, challenges me and pushes me outside my comfort zone. Being able to have professional conversations and experience other training ‘styles’ also makes me a better Trainer myself.

5) My Mr 7: He’s my life changer, my reason & my ultimate ‘why’.

10. How do you relax, with such a hectic lifestyle? (Women’s Health)

I’m a trained Yoga Instructor & I enjoy doing my own mindful, meditative stretching and breathing sessions several times a week. I find that reconnecting my mind with my breathing and my body, really helps me to clear the ‘clutter’ out of my head.

We all have so much coming at us from the external environment, especially social media that it’s easy to become distracted by unimportant ‘stuff’ or other people’s priorities, that we forget to create our own healthy boundaries or prioritise our own needs. After a session I feel totally blissed out and able to focus on whatever it is, that needs my attention.

I also love getting my hands dirty, out in the garden. This mind sound crazy, but I find weeding quite ‘therapeutic’! It’s great ‘processing time’…. a chance to reflect, plan and refocus. (The garden always looks so much better too, so that brings a great sense of achievement & joy).    

11. You have experience a lot of success thus far, so what is next for you? (Women’s Health)

I have a beautiful and diverse group of women that I work with face to face and online. Getting to know each one of them and being part of their ‘empress revolution’ is such a privilege.

I want to continue connecting with women here in Australia but also internationally, so growing my online business is a priority.

I’m such a strong believer in the power of human potential, and the capacity of all women to create positive changes on both the micro and macro level. We really can influence the health of our children especially, but we need to firstly prioritise our own, and lead by example to show our children how to care and respect for their own bodies and general health.

By modelling positive, healthy behaviours, not only can we begin to turn the tide on the national obesity crisis, but when we teach our kids the true value of their own precious bodies, they will also appreciate and respect the value of others. I think in this current climate of gender-based violence, harassment and abuse, the younger our sons and daughters learn confidence, respect for ‘self’, and respect for others, the sooner we will also begin to see real social chance in that arena.

My aim is to spread this message to as many women as possible so would love to invite #10millionmothers (or mother ‘figures’) to join me in my mission!  

Oh…. and I’d love to reach a point in my business, where I have the financial freedom to volunteer for several weeks every year (with my Mr 7), in the orangutan orphanages of Borneo!!

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