In this exclusive interview with Noni Boon, Deb Hutton reveals her passion for food, wine, and wellness in her everyday life and her thriving business, Balance.
I was very excited when Pamela asked me to interview Deborah Hutton for this edition of Nature and Health Magazine. Not only do I like Deb a great deal both personally and professionally, I am also intimately connected with her brainchild ‘BalanceByDeborahHutton.com.au’, which she launched in October 2012 with business partner Sonya Keenan. As Wellbeing Coach on the site, I am fortunate to be taking the journey and witnessing Balance become the raging success it deserves to be. Full of wonderful advice, thought-provoking articles, and life-changing on-line video courses, Balance is a big part of Deb’s life and she absolutely ‘walks the talk’, following the lead from the wonderful stable of professionals she interviews and endorses on the site.
Why did you decide to launch Balance? There were two things that instigated the idea of Balance. One, I hit a stage in my life where I could see my career beginning to take a downturn. The reality was that I was getting older, and yet still feeling strong, healthy, and bright. I wanted an exciting project, something that I could get my teeth into. I also wanted to be sensible about my future, and I needed something that could financially sustain my life moving forward. I was at a place where I was wondering what to do next. I wanted to pull all of my skills together and come up with something brilliant that I could deliver as a worthwhile product and venture.
Secondly, I was fortunate enough to be connected with incredibly interesting people. I have a long-standing friendship with Lyndall Mitchell, for example, who is Life and Wellness Coach on Balance, and founder of the global award-winning Aurora Spas. As another example, Gaia is an award-winning retreat and spa located in the hinterland region of Byron Bay. Discovered by Olivia Newton-John and close friend Gregg Cave, the retreat reflects Olivia’s personal connection with health, wellbeing, and the environment. Together we created THRIVE, a menopause program covering everything you need to know to survive the onset of menopause.
I am lucky to be connected with a multitude of people who have an extraordinary level of wisdom and knowledge. I am in a rare and privileged position where I meet amazing people. I wanted to create a community, a platform, which would ultimately help other people in and around my age group to access guidance and important life information. The idea of Balance was born out of the resources I had at my fingertips. I was going through a period of great change and I knew that there were other women out there who were wanting to change, too: women wanting to get out of the corporate world; women with marriages falling apart and/or kids leaving home, women hitting menopause. During these times of change, people start to wonder about their lives and question what is in it for them now. I wanted to provide some answers, some insight, and most of all, some much needed help.
What was your goal behind Balance? I wanted to bring together a community of like-minded people and help others to become the best possible version of themselves by reaching their full potential. Our initial ideas grew and morphed. When you start a new business, you have to be flexible and allow it develop and evolve. We looked at what people were engaging with and we wanted to ultimately educate and entertain at the same time. We wanted to help empower women, and also men. We have a good following of men as well. My goal was to reach as many people as possible and deliver up to date information that is relevant and carries the ability to help people change for the better.
What are some of your future plans for Balance? I’d like to offer more travel, more live events - more of everything! We had an incredibly exciting cruise this year which I hosted along with the help of Lyndall Mitchell and renowned wine connoisseur Nick Stock. Last year I had the privilege of being a Godmother and christening Avalon’s Illumination river ship in Vienna. When I returned home, I had the idea of ‘captaining’ a very special river cruise and bringing together a small group of loyal Balance followers who love what we do. I wanted to host a unique experience that included all of my favourite things – food, wine, and wellness. This to me signified the perfect balance. The 11-day trip commenced in Paris, followed by river cruising along the Rhone with stops at the picturesque village of Tournus; the birthplace of cinema and silk capital of the world, Lyon; Palace of the Popes, Avignon; and finishing in the French Riviera at Cote d’Azur. We also had some outrageous surprises organised, such as a drag queen coming on board to impersonate Edith Piaf, and Nick took us to some exquisite wineries where we sampled magnificent French wines and of course champagnes!
What are your tips for staying in balance? I need my ‘me-time’, particularly in the morning. I make a point of going to the gym or doing a Pilates class every weekday. After that, I walk my dog Billie and enjoy a well-deserved coffee. On Sundays I hit the golf course and immerse myself in the greenery and fresh air. I always turn the phone off and totally disconnect from the stress and pressure of work and commitments. When I’m playing golf, I’m in the moment, in the ‘now’, and that’s good for my spirit.
I have regular acupuncture to maintain my physical health and I try my hardest to not get stressed - which for me is rather impossible! I have set some boundaries around work and the demands that others place on me. For my life balance, I try to make the mornings not negotiable. Unless I really have to, I refuse to start work at 7 a.m. I like to start the working day after I’ve done some things for myself. I get up early so that I can fit in my ‘me-time’, and this has been an essential part of preserving my personal balance.
I eat well, however I am not sitting here eating lettuce leaves. I drink wine but it has to be good quality wine. I enjoy life. Life is too short to not enjoy it and sample the delicacies that life has to offer. I like to stay healthy rather than aim for a certain dress size. I prefer to strive for a healthy mind and body. I really believe that if you balance it out and enjoy the fine things in moderation, you’ll be the best possible version of yourself as a result of this way of life.
What tips you out of balance? I try to be very organised. I have a great PA who keeps me true. I am, however, my own worst enemy. I am very deadline-driven. I do have the bad habit of leaving things until the very last minute and then I’m under the pump. If I take on too much, I hate myself for it. I look at my load and think “Holy shit! – you’ve got quite the pile to get through.” One or two things are OK but when it all piles up I think, “Deborah, you’re a naughty girl. You should have done this sooner.” I need to find more balance in stretching things out. If I have a month to do something, I shouldn’t leave it till the last hour of the last day of that month. This type of situation definitely tips me out of balance.
What are the three best pieces of advice you have received from your Balance Coaches? One - you need to put yourself first. You have to come before everybody else, your partner, your children, your dog, everyone. Without that, you have nothing to give. I really take on board the analogy of the aeroplane oxygen mask, where the hostess insists that you put your own oxygen mask on before attempting to help others. The same is true of life. If you take care of yourself first, you’ll be better equipped to help others.
Two - be consistent. I apply this to exercise. I have a group of people that I meet at the gym and if I don’t go, I feel like I’m letting them down. I do Pilates twice a week and I also have some buddies there. If you surround yourself with people who share the same mindset, you set yourself up for success. You need some healthy buddies who keep you on track. Your exercise partners need to have the same attitude as you toward the commitment and consistency of exercise. You need people who motivate you, not people who say, “Don’t worry about it, you can skip today.” You need people who hold you accountable and keep you focused on your end goal.
Three - get a dog. I’m not joking! If it is at all possible, get a dog. Think about it, you have to walk a dog. I walk Billie every day. I leave the phone behind and enjoy some time out while I walk her and at the same time give myself a little bit of extra exercise. On the odd day when I get out of bed in a bad mood, I look into her face and think that everything is really OK with the world. How could I not smile when I look into her eyes and give her a cuddle, all she wants to do is love me unconditionally.
At the end of last year, I felt totally wrecked. I had a huge year. I launched two cookbooks, bought and sold a house, did back-to-back shoots for Foxtel and continued along with my endless input on Balance. I felt like I was at breaking point, so the only solution was to run away for a little while. I went to Kamalaya Koh Samui in Thailand, which is an exquisite health spa. Again Lyndall Mitchell came up with the wonderful suggestion that I partake in an inner journey while unwinding and detoxing. Lyndall suggested I journal and she set me up with some deep questions to contemplate. Journaling puts you in touch with your intuition and allows the answers and guidance you need to surface and flow.
Some of the questions were difficult for me. My ego wanted me to write down some “good looking” answers. but I knew that the exercise would be pointless unless I became really honest with myself. I learnt fast that the truth is often a little hard to digest. One question was “What drains you?” This question made me look at Balance. On reflection, I realised that Balance is very much a labour of love and can at times be a rather heavy load. I put a lot of time and energy into it and although some of the rewards are immediate, like any new business, it takes time, patience, and remaining focused on the long-term goal. Another question was, “What or whom would you give your life up for?” This question was hard. I don’t have children, so the first thing that came to mind was Billie. I’m not sure I would give up my life for my dog. Perhaps I would, but I would have to experience a situation that put me in the position to make that choice to actually know. I’m really hoping that life will not put me to the test on this one!
I had many ups and downs in 2015. I was losing my sense of humour and I really needed some time out. After the journaling exercise and giving myself the time to unwind and clear my head in Thailand, I felt ready to choose a different path. I felt more aware of my stress triggers and unclouded around identifying what gets me into trouble. I came back home, moved house, and found myself in a much better space with a more positive energy flowing in and through me.
What feedback have you had from the courses on Balance? Edwina Griffin’s ‘Slim Down and Tone Up’ course was said to change one woman’s whole perspective, including how she felt about her life and what she thought about herself both mentally and physically. The feedback we get from our followers is that they really embrace our interviews with highly successful people, gaining insights, and learning that they endure the same ups and downs in life. It makes them feel less alone. Importantly they really connect with the articles from our inspiring contributors. When I first started Balance, I didn’t realise how strong an impact it would have on its followers. It has really changed people’s lives and I find that incredibly humbling and rewarding. I didn’t estimate the reach we would have to make a difference and empower people. I feel so blessed that we have achieved that in such a short space of time and I am more than ready to see how the future shapes up for all of us at Balance and our much loved followers and subscribers.
Meet the experts
Shannan Kennedy is an Advanced Certified Coach and NLP practitioner. Shannan has worked with over 100 of Australia’s elite athletes and coaches to master the art of finding clarity and balance.
Dr Dain Heer has a completely different approach to healing and change. Originally trained as a chiropractor, today he is acknowledged worldwide for his unique perspectives on consciousness and personal transformation.
Edwina Griffin is an energy expert specialising in training the body and mind for health and happiness. She is the Managing Director of Real Body Management, which includes brands Fitexecutives, Fitwomen and Fitmum.
Natalie Cook is a formidable athlete, amazing businesswoman, and globally successful motivational speaker. Natalie won Olympic gold for beach volleyball at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and is the first female athlete in Australia to compete in five consecutive Olympics.
Justine Black works with her clients to create a clear vision of their financial goals and then helps them turn those goals into reality. She advises clients on how to simplify their financial affairs so that they can spend more time enjoying life.
Michelle Hamer runs three IT businesses, consults to international law firms, and recently published a book, ‘Technology Made Simple for Start-up Businesses’. Michelle specialises in Microsoft Office training and has a Masters in Education.
Sarah Maxwell is a former professional athlete who discovered she had a special talent and passion for coaching and counselling. Sarah represented Canada in the sport of beach volleyball and says that being a professional athlete for 14 years has allowed her to explore and experiment with her studies in Science.
Katrina Cavanough is a woman who has the ability to connect to the past, present, and future. She offers insights, healing, and inspiration to thousands of people as a grief and trauma therapist, life strategist and spirituality coach.
Lyndall Mitchell is an internationally accredited Life Coach with more than 20 years experience in the health and wellbeing industry. She is also the founder of Aurora Spas, one of the most renowned and successful luxury spa brands in Australia, and Aurora Spa Rituals, a spa brand stocked in Myer
Noni Boon, Wellbeing Coach, who has a background in the fitness industry as a personal trainer, holds a diploma in Art, and went through the personal journey of becoming a Holistic Counsellor in order to help others transform themselves and their lives.