I remember when I was making my career change from finance to dietetics, I would daydream of being a freelance nutritionist with a private practice someday. Being tied to a desk as an equity trader, watching multiple computer screens for a myriad of market fluctuations, felt like a prison. I didn’t want be tied to a desk all damn day. I wanted to make my own schedule; be my own boss. I wanted to help people with their nutrition goals. I wanted to do something that I never thought I could do – break free of the 9 to 5.
Summer 2015 was my breaking point. I had been a dietitian for 7 years at that point, and felt extremely unfulfilled in my main role and had exhausted all possible avenues for growth there. I wasn’t happy and I felt like crap. I realized that I had been working for 21 years (!!) as an employee in some capacity. At 39, I was too young to have that level of ennui. So I took stock of my options: I had a resume filled with solid experience, both work and volunteer; my networks were active and lucrative; I had already been freelancing per diem with a corporate wellness company while employed full time. I thought, if I didn’t leap now, I was going to get even more stuck. Who the fuck wants to be even MORE stuck? Not me.
So I jumped.
Here are some of the things I learned during my first year as a freelancer:
What do you hear when someone says, “She/he is making excuses”.
Do you hear a positive or negative connotation in that statement? How would you define the term “excuse”?
Do you think an excuse is:
• an explanation of why an action was or was not done
• when someone is trying to justify not follow through on an action, that you feel they should have completed or started by now?
Here’s the textbook definition of the noun “excuse” (thank you, Google):
- a reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense.
"there can be no possible excuse for any further delay"
synonyms: justification, defense, reason, explanation, mitigating circumstances, mitigation, vindication
"that's no excuse for stealing"
- (informal) a poor or inadequate example of.
"that pathetic excuse for a man!"
synonyms: travesty of, poor specimen of;
"that pathetic excuse for a man!"
So, as defined, to make an excuse means you are scuttling from taking the blame for an action done or not done.
Now that we clarified the formal definition, the use of the term as a judgment towards the character of the person making the excuse is a whole other story.
That’s where I take issue.
It’s especially disheartening when I see someone in the fitness industry scold their clients or the general public for making excuses for not exercising and eating the way they “told” them to or “should” be in order to meet their goals.
Why do you take it that personally, for a client “failing”, that you feel the need to insult them?
I would like to ask these particular practitioners/coaches the following:
- Did you merely give your client a generic action plan, one that did not align with their readiness to change or individualized goals?
- If you answered yes above, then why didn’t you create a plan with your client, authentically, in lieu of convincing them to follow your generic plan, one that does not take into account individualized needs?
- Or, why didn’t you think to refer this client to a practitioner who was a better match?
- Ultimately, why didn’t you focus on creating strategy instead of creating shame?
These are the signs of an unskilled practitioner/coach. So instead of taking accountability and becoming better, they will pass the blame onto their client/lay person.
Are we all like this? No.
Many of us want to see our clients succeed in an empowered environment via positive reinforcement. Beating yourself up is not the kind of motivation a good practitioner would support.
I want to see kindness prevail in health and wellness.
Originally published on The Angry Dieter Facebook page.
True or False? Nutrition strategy coaching only focuses on how to eat and has little to no relevance with other aspects of your life.
I've yet to have a client not be able to describe to me the components of a healthy lifestyle. Their issue was finding a way to create this sustainable healthy lifestyle individualized to their needs. So, that's when I came in and saved the day with strategic and achievable goal setting.
*dons Super Nutritionist cape*
During this process, I learned more about what was hindering my clients.
The most common reasons were:
- not feeling they could make this a priority since they had to put the needs of family/career first
- not having the energy to put the work in and feeling overwhelmed by the process
and the most heartbreaking:
- not feeling they were worth it
Food wasn't the core issue. If anything, food was a symptom of everything else going on.
So I asked this question after I was done gathering data and finding out their blocks:
If you felt better about your health/body image/relationship with food, do you think it would be easier to handle all the other stressful areas of your life?
It was like a lightbulb went off in their head. It all made sense to them now. It became real and tangible. It answered their "why".
Self-care now took precedence in their lives and they were ready to get started.
And in case you were wondering, I've yet to get a "no" to that question ;)
Originally shared on The Angry Dieter on Facebook
I've struggled with liking my body since I was a child. The disgust started around the age of 9. I remember rarely feeling comfortable in my skin growing up. I was always the biggest and I took up more space than others my age. I didn't feel cute or pretty. I wasn't the girl the boys had crushes on. I eventually began to attribute being big with feeling bad about myself. If I was thin, I would feel more comfortable. If I was thin, the boys would like me. If I was thin, I would feel pretty. If I was thin, I would have less anxiety. If I was thin, I would finally like myself.
Well, I did get thinner. It was during my 20s, and I maintained it for 10 years.
Guess what? I still didn't like myself.
I mean, I thought I did, but I was essentially lying to myself. Losing weight didn't solve the internal voices spewing self-hate messages. It didn't stop me from dating losers. I was still a doormat to some and a viper to others. I wasn't balanced. It didn't correct the voice in my head that said, "You're still not thin enough, dear", when I was fine at the size I was at. I just didn't have the capacity to believe it.
Took me some time to figure out what went wrong.
I've slowly regained most of the weight I had lost. I could go into why it happened, but it really doesn't matter. Regaining that weight forced me to work on myself, to heal the past and create a greater understanding of who I am. I was done with being miserable. I wanted to finally thrive.
Regaining the weight woke me the fuck up.
So what happened? What did I do wrong?
I lost the weight without doing the critically-in-need-of-healing internal work. Hell, I didn't know that they were separate job duties! I worked on the external, thinking the internal would just follow suit.
Nope nope nope.
So as I work on losing the weight I have regained, I am coming from a place where I like who I am and who I have become overall. My health is more important to me than how I look. I don't cringe as much when I catch a glimpse of myself naked in the mirror. I can take a compliment. I don't downplay my talents nor feel the need to tell everyone how talented I am. The right people see it. I see it.
That's really all that matters.
Originally posted on The Angry Dieter on Facebook
There wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t diminish myself in some way. As a child, I didn’t want to feel, so I ate to diminish the feelings. I would walk with head down at times, well into adulthood, to make myself appear smaller. Don’t look at me, because you can’t be looking at me in a good way, right?
I would downplay my intelligence with guys, so that they would “like” me better and to avoid them getting nasty when I “showed them up”. I chose those shitty guys, though, because I didn’t feel I was worth one of the good ones. Who wants a diminished woman, right?
I used my weight and scenarios that didn’t even exist (I can’t go to medical school! I’ll be single & childless forever then!) as excuses to not achieve more in my career, knowing full well that I would need to be resilient regardless of my size. So I further diminished myself, getting stuck further and further in a position that was a dead end. It was a paycheck though, right?
I have often diminished my voice, fearing backlash and an inability to defend myself. I would either stay quiet or placate someone I disagreed with. Gotta be the jolly fat girl, right?
My light was going out. I was feeling dead inside. But deep down there was a warrior, ready to take up arms – if I let her. So, I decided to let her out, undiminished.
In the few months of reaching this point, I have achieved a tremendous amount in a very short time.
I feel resilient, fierce, capable and undeterred.
I have my light again, my glow. I am healthier, calmer.
But most of all, I am no longer diminished.
Originally published on The Angry Dieter page on Facebook.
A very common question my clients ask me is,
"What made you go into nutrition?"
My answer - I wanted to help people.
That's why I left finance and made a sharp right turn towards healthcare. Even though it's a giving profession, since you are constantly giving of yourself, there's a bit of selfishness in it as well.
There is nothing like the rush you get when you observe your client grasp a concept that had been forever eluding them.
You beam like a proud parent when you see your client achieving his or her goals.Sometimes you have to grab a tissue when they tell you that you have changed their lives and would not be where they are without your help.
So yeah, that's why I do what I do.
Originally posted on The Angry Dieter page on Facebook
The Angry Dieter