It’s a classic story of girl meets boy… Monique, the youngest of six sisters goes to Canada for an undergrad in dietetics and meets boy, girl falls in love with boy, girl gets married, girl and boy return to Lebanon, girl has it in her mind to create a special dietetics program adapted for the country, girl opens a dietetics clinic in Furn el Chebbak, things work out, girl pays off her College debts, girl hires and trains young colleagues, opens another clinic, then another, and another… girl has kids (Jacques, Marc and Maria), but goes on doing her thing, writes a book, has her own radio and TV shows, and still finds time to run away with boy in regular outings.
I might have exaggerated a bit… about the classic bit, there’s nothing classic about Monique’s life, and yet it all seems so natural. Monique’s program for healthy living and healthy eating is in fact one of a kind. It’s a way of life, simple and so obvious: eat healthy, and take the stairs any time you get the chance. Obviously when Monique heard that there was a Beirut Marathon happening soon, she naturally made all her staff take part. They ran for child obesity. Yes, I almost forgot: Monique manages to find the time to visit schools and offer free evaluations for the children, and what she found was scary. Monique is now up against the whole pharmaceutical industry on top of the food industry who both deemed it vital to put sugar practically everywhere. No matter, Monique and her colleagues helped countless people lose weight and live ‘Quick n’ still keep Healthy’.
Last year, Monique came in second in a local Banks’ Women Entrepreneurs competition. She lost to a restaurant owner of all people, and not by much, mind you: 0.08 points. Now there’s this one women starting from scratch, and building a one of a kind method, a chain of clinics, and getting ready for franchising, all the while taking care of three kids, and still finding the time to exercise and enjoy the great outdoors with her husband Walid. Sure, Monique was kind of disappointed, but this never stopped her moving forward.
Monique is happy with how things are going. Her work, her way of life, is kind of like a marathon. Monique ran the Beirut Marathon’s women’s 10K challenge as she did in all the 10K runs, since the very beginning of the Beirut Marathon. At one point Maxime Chaaya dared her to do the ‘real’ thing, said 10K just don’t cut it. She said she’ll get there at her own rythm, and ticked that box last year 2014 when she ran the 42.195KM at the age of 42. She’ll run the 42K again this November just for the fun of it, but Sunday June 7, she was as happy as a clam rising, and ran the Women’s Race. Monique, and all the women who ran on that day, know very well that their race, their fight, well that’s something that’s going a take a lot of strength and determination to see it through to the end in this world we live in, and running the Beirut Marathon is only the beginning.