First, I want to debunk any preconceived notions you might have of me. For example, you might be thinking, That skinny B nutritionist has never had to worry about fitting into her jeans a day in her life nor does she know what it’s like to agonize over food and failed dieting attempts.
Oh how I wish that was true!
The truth is, I haven’t always been fit and toned nor have I always had a healthy relationship with food. Technically, while I have never been overweight, I have carried excess and unwanted pounds. I’ve also been underweight, skinny fat, and been tempted by quick fixes and trendy diets that never worked (shocking).
I used to eat mint chocolate chip ice cream for breakfast on the regular. I once lived off little more than orange juice and gummy bears (if I could write my 16-year-old self a letter, I’d have more than a few things to say).
My journey has been complicated—full of messiness, emotional rollercoasters, imperfection, and challenges.
It’s also been incredibly enlightening, exhilarating, joyful, invigorating and completely life altering. I honestly wouldn’t change any of it and I hope you feel the same way about your own journey or that you will in time.
My goal is to dispel myths and share the truth with you when it comes to nutrition facts and wellness tips. I wholeheartedly endorse transparency and authenticity, especially with regard to the foods we eat. I also want to be brutally honest about my own journey to healthy eating because while I’m proud of who and where I am today, I wasn’t always an expert in nutrition.
Growing up, the majority of my nutrition information came from girlfriends or magazines. My weight fluctuated throughout high school depending on my participation in sports and eating habits, which were consistent with those of any typical American teenager at best (pizza, fries, ice cream, candy, cereal three times a day, salads occasionally, way too much Diet Coke, etc.). I wasn’t thin or overweight nor was I fit. I had bad skin.
In college, like a lot of young women, I struggled with the best way to maintain a healthy body weight. While the “Freshman 15”was (and still is) portrayed as an inevitable part of life—a rite of passage even—I left for college determined to be the exception to that rule. Thankyouverymuch. And though I did succeed at that goal, I don’t know that I would describe myself as successful.
During my freshman year of college, I did not gain 15 pounds, rather I lost roughly that amount and then some, most of which I arguably did not need to lose. Whoops. It was truly a well-intentioned goal gone wildly astray because I really had no idea how to healthfully maintain my weight. The media’s portrayal of foods as “good”or “bad”fueled my misunderstanding of what it meant to live a healthy lifestyle. I didn’t know what or how much to eat or not eat to support my activity level, nor was I in tune with my hunger and satiety signals. I felt confused, overwhelmed, betrayed, helpless, and lost. I didn’t know who or what to trust or how to help myself. So the following summer, recognizing the error of my ways and the shallow depth of my nutrition knowledge, I sought expert guidance and began working with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).
I learned to appreciate food as fuel to nourish my body and let go of all my preconceived beliefs, which, I might add, were nearly all completely unproven. Working with that RDN not only led me to heal my own relationship with food, it ignited a curiosity for nutrition that went far beyond mastering the basics of general healthful eating habits. I became fascinated with functional and holistic wellness, intuitive and mindful eating, and adopted the “everything in moderation” mantra that I still abide by today.
I learned to appreciate food as fuel to nourish my body
and let go of all my preconceived, unproven beliefs.
During graduate school, I was a total sponge, soaking in all the nutrition knowledge I could find and loving every minute. But the fast-paced, demanding schedule made it hard to eat healthfully all the time (or it at least made making excuses easier). My diet wasn’t exactly unhealthy when compared to the Standard American Diet, but I have to admit that there was room for improvement. A LOT. After all, I knew better.
Processed foods, despite being organic or high quality, were still a prominent staple/crutch and that mantra of “everything in moderation?” Mostly preached, hardly practiced. My husband and I relied on take-out meals far too often and “cooking” was opening a frozen organic pizza (because if it’s organic it’s always good for you, right?!) and adding a salad. My masters thesis was unofficially sponsored by Starburst jellybeans, which were basically everything to me during those stressful months of research and writing. These habits were taking a toll on my mood, digestion, and energy.
I often felt bloated and sluggish throughout the day—hallmark symptoms of poor digestion and food intolerances. I suffered from blood sugar crashes frequently and always had to have snacks with me. Speaking of sugar, I was nothing short of an addict. I found out I was severely anemic and had to have intravenous iron infusions. I was also vitamin D deficient. On top of all that, my weight hovered 10 pounds above my usual body weight regardless of the miles I logged on the treadmill. And I ran a lot of miles.
Oh, the irony! I was an aspiring dietitian nutritionist who was so absorbed with learning how to help others use food as medicine that I overlooked my own health. Womp. Womp. In the middle of my dietetic internship, I was nearing my heaviest weight ever and realized I had two choices: buy bigger skinny jeans and accept feeling like crap as my new normal OR overhaul my diet, reevaluate my fitness routine, and start taking care of myself. I chose the latter.
The shift in my lifestyle began with the simple act of noticing. I took inventory of our kitchen and pantry and slowly purged all of the processed, so-called health foods, replacing them with more nourishing whole foods. By far the biggest change I made was breaking up with sugar—all sources—for good. For a major sugar monster and fruit addict (I was typically eating 8–10 servings of fruit a day), it was intense, but so, so, so worth it.
Small, simple changes to my diet gave me an abundance of energy and I no longer suffer from bloating, joint pain, and chronic fatigue. My skin is brighter and clearer; I no longer need prescription acne medication. Oh and about those jeans? I ultimately did have to buy new jeans— smaller skinny jeans—because the extra weight seemed to melt away once I started paying attention to the quality of my food and optimized my digestion.
I now consume only REAL foods and have begun to find joy in developing nourishing, unprocessed recipes to share. By no means do I consider myself a chef (or heck, even a cook!) but I have fun with it and truly believe living healthy can be effortless and exciting. I am constantly evolving and adapting my diet in ways to help me feel my best and support my active lifestyle; I try not to get too attached to one way of viewing “healthy.” I hope that by sharing my love for a whole foods diet through recipes and wellness tips, as well as meeting some of you through my nutrition coaching services, you will be inspired to embrace the honestly nourished lifestyle and experience its vast health benefits.