I’ve been on a unique journey as a registered dietitian (RD) for almost a decade, exploring nutrition and wellness in various settings. However, it always felt like something was missing, like the puzzle wasn’t quite complete.
It all began back in college with a genuine belief in the transformative power of healthy lifestyles. I wanted to inspire people to lead healthier lives, leading me to a career as an RD.
Despite creating tailored nutrition plans and offering “evidence-based” guidance, there were frequent moments when my patients and clients struggled to follow through, and sometimes, the expected improvements just didn’t happen. It left me frustrated, trying to figure out what I was missing.
So, I went back to school. Fueled by my curiosity about comprehensive health and behavior change, I got a master’s degree in Health and Wellness Coaching. This program opened my eyes to the concept of holistic well-being. I realized that health isn’t just about what we eat and how we exercise; it’s about the whole person and their environment.
As my perspective grew, I was increasingly disappointed with certain aspects of my field. I became disheartened by the influence of diet culture, the lack of attention to social determinants of health, and the prevalence of Western-centric nutrition education.
I started my own business to take matters into my own hands and create Knowledge Nutritionist and The Nourished Teacher Academy. These projects aimed to empower educators with practical knowledge, unwavering support, and structured accountability to prioritize their personal health and happiness.
I loved this work because it was so exciting to see the far-reaching benefits that educators experienced when they took better care of their physical health—having more energy, being more confident, and feeling better overall made enormous differences for them both in and out of the classroom.
This journey eventually led me to create another project, Nourished Flow. I wanted to extend the holistic wellness practices that had proven effective for teachers to a broader audience and incorporate elements beyond physical health. This felt more aligned with the work I wanted to do, but it still felt like there was more to explore.
I spent some time reflecting on my values, career, and health journey. Two things started to stick out to me that I couldn’t quite get out of my mind.
- I was drawn towards working with students rather than adults. I always wonder how much of an impact it could have to learn about and develop self-care habits from a young age.
- I couldn’t ignore the strong connection between establishing healthy habits and nurturing a positive relationship with food and the body. Poor eating habits can often stem from a complex interplay of factors, especially a bad relationship with food and body image issues, which often appear during adolescence.
This shift led me to explore school counseling. I saw the potential for a more comprehensive approach to wellness within school settings. The more I thought about it, the more it resonated.
Students today face immense pressures and challenges and need self-care strategies to manage stress, build resilience, and prioritize their mental well-being. There’s also so much potential for positive nutrition education and counseling, particularly in preventing eating disorders. It’s essential to develop a healthy relationship with food and body image from an early age.
Parents and schools need practical tools to support their students’ holistic health and wellness. It’s not just about individual components but the synergy of physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
Plus, the evidence makes it clear that healthier students do better academically, emotionally, socially, and beyond.
So, here I am, returning to grad school, this time focusing on school counseling. I started taking courses this past summer and couldn’t be more excited to see where this path takes me. As I learn about working with and within school environments, you’ll notice a shift around here.
Watch this space for tips, research, and tools for parents and counselors to help kids with everyday challenges like:
- Unhealthy eating habits (restrictive eating, binge eating, dieting, picky eating, etc.)
- Body image and media literacy
- Poor physical health habits (physical activity and sleep)
- Unhealthy coping mechanisms (stress eating, emotional eating)
- Stress and overwhelm (difficulty managing responsibilities, burnout, low motivation)
By taking a holistic approach, I want to show you how to guide students toward balanced, sustainable, and fulfilling lives.