I’ll tell you—it’s been a long time coming, as in my whole life. I’ve been reflecting lately on what has led me here, what God is asking me to do in this space, and how I can better connect with all of you. This reflection has shown me there are many reasons that have led me to devoting my energy and work to helping moms improve their relationship with food and their bodies. Each equally important to bringing me to you.
I’ll spare you every lengthy detail of my childhood (I had a great one by the way!). But there was one aspect of my childhood that played a large role in me not only becoming a dietitian, but also a promoter of intuitive eating: my sister. My sister is a few years older than me, and when she was just 5 doctors discovered a brain tumor. Fast forward through lengthy treatment and worry, she is still here today. But it hasn’t been easy. That tumor (and radiation) affected how her brain interprets hunger, fullness, and regulates her metabolism. This led to quick weight gain as a child, recommendations by medical providers to “watch” what she ate and exercise, and eventually dieting. Guess what? Dieting never worked for her. The restriction catapulted a poor relationship with food and her body. It’s not her or my parents’ fault. It’s diet culture’s fault. I never knew how much it negatively affected her until after I became a dietitian. It’s my goal to call out diet culture, and to open the eyes of others who fall victim to it every day.
Let’s just start by saying, my family is not made up for tiny people. I’d said we are “big-boned”, muscular build. My grandma lived in a bigger body for much of her adult life…and she didn’t like it. She had tried losing weight many times, and it never worked long-term. I remember her being unhappy with her body. She often commented on the beauty of others who were thin. From this I learned that beauty = skinny. She was, yet another, victim of diet culture. Pressure to be thin and beautiful was very real. Yet, I always thought she was beautiful. She had the best style and was well-loved by us all. I didn’t understand how much this impacted me until I began to truly reflect.
I could have chosen to follow the same path of lifetime dieting and being unhappy with my body. But I WON’T. I CAN’T. I don’t want my family to feel poorly about their bodies. I want them to live freely in the body they were given with JOY! My grandma deserved to feel differently, and I want to live that out for her by helping other women.
Three years ago I became a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, after six years of education and internship. I’ve been working in employee wellness ever since, and working mostly with women. I’ve seen so many different women, but many of them have something in common: a poor relationship with food and poor body image. It’s emotional and raw… and lit a fire under me to change this!
During this time I became a mom to a sweet little boy. My body has changed so much and my clothes fit a bit differently. I felt pressured to “bounce back” to my previous weight and figure. It didn’t happen. I was anxious, tired, overwhelmed, and had postpartum complications. Some of those things have resolved, but I still feel the pressure. I’m sure many moms can relate!
Motherhood goes by so quickly. I truly believe we should be spending it snuggling babies and soaking up moments, not worrying about getting out pre-baby body back.
Eventually I came to the realization that I had to work on my personal body image. I made the decision to reject the societal pressures to look differently than I am and take care of my body just as it was. I’ve come a long way since then.
How did I do this?
I’d read about intuitive eating years ago (the book was a graduation gift from a professor, Dr. Bird). And although I knew the principles, I decided to practice it. I began trusting my body to tell me what it needs and wants and acting on it. I began to reject diet culture and food rules. I added these things to the nutrition knowledge I already had and am continually finding a way of eating that fits my body and lifestyle as a working mom. I feel confident in feeding myself and my family, with tools I’ve created for stress-free planning and cooking.
Diet culture has affected my life in many ways, but I will continue to battle it because we all deserve better. God didn’t intend for our lives to be consumed with worrying so much about how we look and spending our time counting everything we eat.
There is a better way to care for your body. I can help YOU do this, too!
You deserve and need to feel confident in your body and in the kitchen, so you can spend time on more important things like snuggling babies, baking cookies with kiddos, and sipping wine by campfires (or insert your own favorite things).
Learn more here about how can help you ditch dieting, improve your body confidence, and relationship with food, so you can live a joy-filled life!