This week’s member spotlight shines on Robyn Nohling, a women’s health specialist who inspires us all as she balances two vital treatment professional roles in her position as a family nurse practitioner as well as owner of a private practice as an RD. Follow along below to learn about how she juggles wearing two hats, what drives her to help heal people and who has been most influential to her as she has grown her practice.
If you didn’t do what you do professionally, what other job or field would you have pursued, and why?
I entered college thinking I would become a teacher like my mom, I really do love to teach so perhaps I would have been a teacher or maybe even a professor? I don’t do well working a traditional desk job so I can’t think of anything else I would do. That’s a hard question – I can’t imagine doing anything else than what I do right now!
Just for fun, tell us something most people don’t know about you!
Most people don’t know that I have four brothers and was raised by a single mom. She is a total rockstar and I have no idea how she did it! She provided for us in so many ways and given the financial limitations growing up, I feel really grateful that I had the educational opportunities that I did.
Where do you work?
Since becoming a nurse practitioner, I split my time between working for myself in private practice and also working as a nurse practitioner. My current NP position is at an eating disorder hospital in Boston. I am passionate about providing high quality medical care to eating disorder patients. As a healthcare system we really lack health care providers with adequate knowledge of the medical complications that accompany eating disorders since we get about 1 hr of teaching in our formal training. As for my private practice, I wear primarily my RD hat there, but still utilize my nurse practitioner knowledge when caring for clients and in collaborating with my client’s physician to get labs, adjust medications etc. I have an RD and therapist who also work alongside me and we specialize in eating disorders, disordered eating and women’s health.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Seeing women heal from food and body image issues and live a meaningful life in line with their values is incredibly rewarding. I work with many women who struggle with infertility and other reproductive issues due to disordered eating and exercise habits and seeing these women heal their bodies and go on to conceive babies is such a joy and privilege!
Why eating disorders treatment? What drives you?
I didn’t intentionally purse a career in eating disorders, but as I started writing on my blog back in 2011 about the effect of stress, dieting and over exercise on metabolism and hormones over time my private practice client load became primarily women struggling with food, exercise and body image issues. I was drawn to the challenge and complexity of this work and have never looked back. Working in the field of eating disorders both as an RD and NP continually challenges me both personally and professionally and I find that really rewarding and fulfilling. There is always something new to learn and areas to grow in. My patients and clients keep me driven and dedicated because I see how much we need professionals doing this work if we want to see change in our culture and health care system. I hope one day I’m out of a job!
In addition, my own story with disordered eating and exercise and 10 years of hypothalamic amenorrhea has been a catalyst to my career path. I was told for years and years that my body was “fine” even though I never menstruated. That’s not okay. Diet culture is sneaky is that is cloaks disordered eating and exercise habits in “wellness” when in reality women are facing more hormonal issues because of these “healthy habits” that often far from healthy.
Who are your favorite social media influencers in the non-diet, recovery, body liberation space?
Marci Evans has been a fantastic mentor to me as I grow in my eating disorder knowledge and I continue to learn so much from her! I love Isabel Foxen Duke and the messages she puts out there – her assertiveness and personality are infectious!
Kylie Mitchell is a friend and colleague that I have so much respect and admiration for and I think the way she talks about body image, especially as a new mom, is incredibly compassionate and impactful.
Christy Harrison continues to do phenomenal work in the body liberation and social justice space. I could name so many people doing amazing work! I think this field attracts the most amazing people and I feel grateful to be a part of it.
What is/are your favorite book/s or resource that have made a difference in the way you work?
Linda Bacon’s research was foundational in opening my eyes to how our psychological health affects our physical health. Marci’s supervision and mentorship has allowed me to grow exponentially as a clinician both in my clinical judgement and in my counseling skills. Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani’s work has been a huge part of my growth as a nurse practitioner working in the eating disorders field. And I can’t end this list without mentioning Brene Brown – her work on shame, love and acceptance has been imperative to my development as both an RD and NP. When we can really understand the human condition and why we make the decisions we do, we become far more effective clinicians and caregivers of ourselves.
What is one non-diet, Intuitive Eating, or Health at Every Size® pearl of wisdom you’d like to share?
We never arrive. Whether it’s professionally or personally, there is no end point. There will always be more to learn and areas to grow in – if we can embrace the journey as ongoing, we give ourselves the space to be right where we are and perhaps even enjoy the process.