If you didn’t do what you do professionally, what other job or field would you have pursued, and why?
My original major was Animal Science, and as a child, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I’ve always LOVED animals and felt so connected to them.
Just for fun, tell us something most people don’t know about you!
In addition to my dog, Lucy, I have three pet rats. Occasionally, I share a video of them on my Instagram stories, but many people are freaked out by them. They are incredibly smart, friendly, affectionate and clean, and make great pets!
Where do you work?
In April of 2017, I opened my private practice, Food Freedom, LLC, in my small hometown of Burlington, Iowa. I work independently, and 95% of my clients have eating disorders or are seeking to improve their relationship with food and body image.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
The most rewarding parts about what I do are connecting with clients, seeing them feel safe, then soften and be vulnerable as they dig into the work. Ultimately, I feel privileged to see them recover without food and body image struggles holding them back from participating in the life they were meant to live!
Why eating disorders treatment? What drives you?
I experienced an eating disorder as a teen/young adult, and recovering made me passionate about supporting others to also heal. When I graduated from college, I returned home and started working (as a supermarket dietitian for 6 years). I was appalled that there were still ZERO resources for eating disorders within an hour of my small town. After a few years of feeling solid in my own recovery and spending all my continuing education hours on eating disorders training, I opened my practice to try to fill the gap.
Who are your favorite social media influencers in the non-diet, recovery, body liberation space?
My absolute favorite is Maria Paredes (@with_this_body). She is vulnerable, real, eloquently spoken, and isn’t afraid of having tough conversations and bringing attention to topics that many steer clear of. I learn so much from her.
I also value following Ashlee Bennett (@bodyimage_therapist), Virgie Tovar (@virgietovar), Aaron Flores (@aaronfloresrdn), Hannah Turnbull (@hannahrdn), Anna Sweeney (@dietitiananna), Ijeoma Oluo (@ijeomaoluo), Jessica Wilson (@jessicawilson.msrd)… many more.
What are your favorite books that have made a difference in the way you work?
Going way back, Intuitive Eating from my first nutrition class in 2007, which really challenged the obsession I had with weight and nutrition at the time. It planted seeds that took years to start growing. There are so many resources that have helped me grow from the ‘traditional’ dietetics practice into a social justice-oriented, fat-positive place. The more I read, listen to podcasts, and follow social media influencers, the more I realize how much more I have to learn. Health at Every Size, Body Respect, Secrets to Feeding a Healthy Family, Motivational Interviewing in Nutrition and Fitness, and You Have the Right to Remain Fat are some books that come to mind. I also love podcasts including Food Psych, She’s All Fat, and Love, Food. Of course, EDRDpro is excellent at bringing all of these resources together and is truly my favorite professional resource.
What is one non-diet, Intuitive Eating, or Health at Every Size® pearl of wisdom you’d like to share?
This approach is a practice of continuous learning. It’s like when our clients feel “it’s about the food” when really, it’s so much deeper. As dietitians, we may emphasize the food in our work, but we must go deeper. We must continue to acknowledge how fatphobia, misogyny, and white supremacy are at the root of so many dysfunctional relationships with food and bodies.