Monday, June 15, 2015

Body Love Conference 2015 - A day of inspiration

We all need a day just focused on body love and body positivity in our lives!  I was lucky enough to have one of those in June of 2015.

I first learned about the Body Love Conference last year from the social media page of Jes Baker aka The Militant Baker.  She's an advocate for body acceptance and active in many different ways to try to help us embrace the idea that truly all bodies are beautiful and an important figure in the HAES® and size acceptance movement.

I found out they were accepting submissions and I figured I'd submit an idea that I had for a presentation.  Luckily my submission was accepted!  We'll get to that in a few, but first let me tell you more about the conference and the time leading up to it.  As the conference got closer and closer, I was obviously nervous about being in front of a group of people but, in all honesty, there were other issues going on.  Recently I've been filled with self-doubt for many different reasons but let's just say the past six months have been a struggle.  The self-doubt that I was experiencing (like with all things negative) permeated into other parts of my life.  With the conference approaching, I was looking forward to be in an accepting environment of all different types of people, not just as a presenter but as a participant also.

The other thing that I was looking forward to was connecting with some other professionals that I've followed via social media for a while, the co-founders of Be Nourished, Dana Sturtevant, MS, RD and Hilary Kinavey, MS, LPC.  These two women are inspirations for me because they embody the type of body positive practice that helps people across the country heal their relationship with their body and with food.  In addition to Dana and Hilary, I also met another HAES® professional, Carmen Cool, MA, LPC and a teen dynamo Maya Greenberg.  Together, their work at the Boulder Body Alliance is something every community needs: adults and teens working together to advocate for body positivity to local school boards and local and federal government.  These colleagues (and now friends) were a large reason why my weekend was so memorable.  Coming to a conference where you really don't know anyone can be daunting but when you're struggling with self doubt and depression, it is overwhelming to say the least.  Their sessions inspired me and their kindness towards me will always be appreciated because it made me feel accepted and a part of the community.

Being accepted was a theme that really resonated with me over my whole weekend in Tucson.  Part of what I was going to talk about in my presentation was my own personal experience with weight stigma.  As a fat dietitian, I get it almost weekly and I wanted to share my experience at the conference.  So as I got to the conference, I was excited to be in a community that was so open to all different shapes, sizes and genders.  I was not disappointed one little bit.  Over the course of the entire weekend, I felt so comfortable around everyone and it was a feeling that I continue to hold on to.  When it came to my presentation, I was standing in front of a group of people and never once did I feel judged by my size....not once! Usually when I present, I notice about 25-50% of the people there stealing peeks at my stomach, not looking at my eyes.  Well, that never happened--not once--during my entire weekend.

This leads to what my presentation was about.  It was called, "Judge me by size do you? Lessons learned from a fat dietitian."  Like I mentioned above, it was about my experience of being judged by my size, but I also talked about Intuitive Eating, HAES®, and Star Wars.  Yes, Star Wars.  I used quotes from the Jedi Master, Yoda, to bring home how making peace with food and accepting our bodies is like using The Force.  It was full of movie clips and quotes and I was thrilled with the response I got.  I was especially thankful that Jes Baker found time to attend the session!

Truly, it was an overwhelmingly positive experience.  It was amazing to be surrounded by so many "body positive" activists.  It felt so amazing to meet Jes herself.  When I did, it seemed as if she was just as excited to meet me as I was to meet her.  I'll always be thankful for her warm reception and accepting hug!  I'd also like to thank the team of volunteers who organized this weekend.  It was truly a labor of love and the fact is this: their work in organizing this weekend made a positive impact on hundreds of lives.

Now that I'm home with some perspective on what this weekend meant to me, the answer is clear.  It was just what the doctor ordered.  I came home energized and ready to spread the message of body positivity, Intuitive Eating and HAES® to all the future Jedis out there.  I came home smiling but also ready to tell the world, "Your body does not need to be changed!"  Embrace the body you have now! For remember, what Yoda said, "Luminous beings we are!" and I've never been more convinced of that statement than I am today.

Monday, June 8, 2015

What Are You Prepared To Do?

It's been a while since I wrote on this blog. Why? Many reasons, really, but let's just boil it down to this: nothing really inspired me.  And with no inspiration, there was no writing.

To what do I owe the pleasure of inspiration?  Its none other than JJ Virgin.  She's  a nutrition and fitness expert with nearly 30+ years of experience in the field (per her website). She is an avid writer and her latest book "Sugar Impact Diet" was a New York Times bestseller.

So there I am, wasting time on Huffington Post (as I'm prone to do) and I came across this article, 9 Science-based Strategies for Long-Term Weight Loss.  Obviously with a title like that, I'm bound to be intrigued, right?  That's what a good headline is supposed to do, after all.  Well, it worked and I found myself reading the article. That might have been a mistake or one of the greatest things ever....we'll know after I finish this blog.

Just reading the headline, I was wondering, "Has someone finally cracked the code to successful weight loss?"  If so, then let's get the Nobel Prize for Science ready!  But before we book flights to Stockholm, let's see what the article said.

It starts by citing a study done in 2007 that found (no surprise if you've read any of my other blogs) that over the long-term, most people (around 95%) will eventually regain weight after their initial success in losing weight.  You would think that after reading the article she references, the author would say, "So, why not give up dieting?"  No way no how! She goes on to say that despite these insurmountable odds, these 9 science-based strategies will disprove the previous article she just mentioned.

Anyone--and I mean anyone--can find numerous studies that show short-term weight loss. Great, then let's get to the real crux of it then: where's the long-term data? I don't care about short-term data, show me the numbers after 5 years.  Why don't they report these?  Because they show the truth, that most people gain the weight back!

But let's get back to the article, shall we?  Her 9 strategies say that people who maintain "fat loss" do the following:
1) They measure to improve by using mobile apps to track calories, daily weights and wearing a pedometer.
2) They journal their intake and their health goals
3) They eat mindfully and I have to quote here, "They know even a few moments of mindless eating -- such as a perilous 11 p.m. cookie dough fridge raid -- will derail their best efforts." 
4) They downsize by using smaller plate and glasses to eat smaller portions 
5) They simplify breakfast by having a meal replacement shake. 
6) They add before they take away meaning they "fill up" on fiber so that they don't end up eating other unwanted foods 
7) They keep their enemy away by not ever letting offending foods into the house.  (JJ's personal example is almond butter!) 
8) They surround themselves with like-minded people and again I quote, "To maintain fat loss, studies show a person's chances of becoming obese increased by 57% if they had a friend who became obese in a given interval." 
9) They engage in community by being around other like minded people.  

As I read these, I realized that these all seemed so incredibly sad.  Why sad? Well, let me interpret these 9 strategies for you.  To me, what I read is that if you want to lose weight and keep it off for the long-term here's what you better be prepared to do:  

  • Forever be slave to...
    • calorie counting  
    • keeping a food journal
    • drinking your morning meal replacement shake and
    • the scale. 
  • You better be sure to be hyper vigilant and never ever ever slip up because if you do, you're doomed. 
  • Make sure you never eat too much and be sure and surround yourself with other people who are experiencing the same thing you are so you all can complain about how miserable you all are.  
  • Oh, and be sure to not have any fat friends because if you do, they'll sabotage your efforts. 
If these sound as unappealing to you as they do to me then I have an alternative for you. You have a choice and here are the ones I've made:  

I choose to enjoy my food by savoring each bite, no matter what it is.  
I choose to listen to my body, my cravings and my fullness.  
I choose to live with peace with my body and my food.  
I choose to surround myself with people of all shapes and sizes because their size does not determine what kind of person they are going to be. 
I choose to honor my body with movement that makes me feel alive.

This is Health at Every Size® an Intuitive Eating and it works.  Interested in joining me, there's plenty of room on this train! 

Thanks JJ Virgin for helping me get back in the blog world!  It's nice to be back.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Embracing Our Imperfections

This week I came across two very interesting videos on YouTube.  I thought I would share them with you.  They are not really related (except that they have kids in them) but they both made me think about food and how we view our bodies.

The first video is from the Jimmy Kimmel Show.  In this bit,  he's asked viewers to film their children's reactions when they tell them that they ate all of their Halloween candy. You can see their reactions for yourself.

Let's not argue the comedic value of the bit or whether parents should be pranking their kids like this and instead let's look at the reactions the kids have.  Some reactions are sweet with the kids consoling their parents and others are full blown tantrums.  The tantrums are what make us laugh but if we examine the behavior a little more, what struck me was the fact that these intense reactions highlight our kids obsession with sweets.  I'm wondering how the food environments differ in the households. I'd argue that we saw calm and understanding reactions from households where the parents don't over-restrict sweets and the tantrums are seen more in homes where candy is restricted on a regular basis.  We'll never know and there's no way to judge that but it's just my guess.  What would your child's reaction be if you pulled this prank on them?  Would it reflect your food environment?

The second video is from the Jubilee Project.  The video asked one question to 50 different people.  The question is, "If you could change one thing about your body, what would it be?"  See the reactions and answers to that question below.

Two very different types of answers, all dependent on the age of the person they asked.  Isn't it amazing how different the answers are?  Without years of body shame, the first thing that came to mind was how these kids could change their bodies to become superheros.  They didn't want smaller waists, different noses or more muscles...they wanted wings, mermaid tails and teleportation. They wanted to be larger-than life. The adult's answers were obviously much different.  Their comments reflected how most of us feel about our body and the desire to change how we look to fit some ideal. The video closes with hearing an older woman say, "A lot of people obsess about getting older and about the wrinkles.  I love my white hair.. I loved it when it started turning white.  It's one of those things, because I chose to stay this way because it just wouldn't be me if I changed the way I looked."  Beautifully put.

As you think about both of these videos, I'll leave you with this thought.  Let's support one another in our imperfections.  We don't eat a perfect diet, we might make mistakes with feeding our children and we don't have a perfect body.  But those imperfections are what make us who we are.  I for one, like many of you perhaps, could do a better job of remembering that.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Time for a Change Susie Cakes

I've had a song in my head a lot recently, Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come." The words in the chorus keep going on over and over in my head, 
It's been a long, a long time coming. But I know a change gon' come, oh yes it will
What sort of change is coming?  The change I'm thinking about is one where we stop using food as a reward for our kids.  And if I believe that change can come, then I feel a responsibility to point out positives and negatives in our community.  By speaking up, I'm hoping that we can realize where we need to improve and to acknowledge those who are helping us change our food environment. With that being said, I have to share an issue that I became aware of this week.

My kids started 1st grade this month.  It's the first time that they are being exposed to a more structured learning environment which includes weekly tests.  When they came home this week, they shared some "exciting" news with me: their teacher told them if they get 100% on their test, they'll get a free dessert from Susie Cakes, a local cake/cupcake store here in Los Angeles.

Would you like to guess my reaction? Come on, go ahead and guess? Well, I'm happy to say my head didn't quite pop-off, but I was a little shocked to hear this news. I had a lot of thoughts going on: were the teachers buying cupcakes for kids? Was the store supplying these? Were other classes receiving the same offer?  So I took some deep breaths to calm down and I did some research instead of jumping to conclusions.  I headed on down to the local Susie Cakes in Calabasas, CA to see what I could learn.  As I walked up to the store I saw the following sign:

With that, I confirmed it was a offer from Susie Cakes that our teacher just informed our class about before the test.   I walked in and asked the employee, "I see you have this offer going on.  Is it popular?"  She answered, "Very, we give out a lot of cookies.  And the student can get as many cookies as they want, just as long as they bring in a different test each time."  Oh, fabulous!  Thank goodness they can get as many as they want.  I was worried they'd only get one.  After all, if we really want to cement a "food=reward" mentality, we need to give out more than just one, right?

I know there are some of you who are thinking, 'Come on Aaron lighten up, it's just a cupcake.'  No I will not lighten up and no, I have nothing against cupcakes. Cupcakes are great and Susie Cakes makes some of the best in LA.  My problem is with the promotion, not with cupcakes.  By rewarding our kids with food (especially sweets), we set up an association where our kids grow up thinking, 'If I work hard, do well and succeed, the best way to reward myself is with food.'  That creates an unhealthy relationship with food which does not help our kids trust their internal hunger/fullness cues.  It just teaches them to seek out food when they've accomplished something or maybe even learn that food is comforting when things are difficult.

My other issue is why does our teacher need to bring this up to our class?  If she had not said anything, it wouldn't even have been on my kids' radar.  Luckily, as soon as my kids told me about this, I said, "Sorry guys, we are not doing that.  I don't use food as a reward," and there was not one more word about it.  No fight, no argument and no struggle.  I'm lucky, it could have gone very differently.  Why? Maybe because my kids understand that food is not reward or maybe it was because they know that it's not like they'll never get another cupcake.  Either way, I'm fortunate that we didn't have a food fight because of this.

So, no wonder I've been hearing, "It's been a long, a long time coming. But I know a change gon' come, oh yes it will" over and over in my head.  Change is coming and I'm done being silent about it.  I'm going to speak out about it, because we need to change how we think about food.  If my kids do well in school, if they get an "A", then I want them to develop a sense of self-satisfaction, that with hard work and effort, they are able to accomplish difficult tasks.  That accomplishment leads to self-confidence. 

Susie Cakes, I hope you will reconsider this promotion.  I know your business is to sell cupcakes (damn good ones), but please think about how these types of promotions set our kids up for unhealthy relationships with food.  Of course, it's the parents responsibility to set rules about what our kids eat but when you do this you are marketing food to kids which sets up this "fight" for some families when it comes to food.  Make our jobs as parents a little easier by reconsidering this promotion.  

It seems like an odd request to change such a popular promotion, but remember, change is gonna come, I'm going to try to make sure it will.

UPDATE 9/18/14
Because of social media, Susie, the founder of Susie Cakes was able to read my blog and was kind enough to respond via email.  I am posting the note she wrote (with her permission) for you to read.  Although we might disagree on the issue, I'm very happy that she took the time to respond to me.  

Dear Aaron,

I came across your blog post about our bakery’s back-to-school promotion and wanted to reach out personally. I greatly appreciate your honest feedback and hope I may share my story behind the idea.

The inspiration for SusieCakes came from my childhood memories of spending time after school with my grandmothers in Chicago, talking about my day over their freshly made baked goods. For me, that was a very special time we shared together, and I like to think it was for them as well. My hope is that parents and their children may stop in to the bakery, get a cookie and use it as a special time to talk about what’s going on in school as the year starts. Our effort is not specifically to reward a good grade, but rather to be a part of life’s little everyday celebrations and help parents celebrate the excitement of going back to school with their kids.

That said, I completely understand your surprise with the situation you were placed in as a parent when your child learned of the promotion. I realize that not every parent will wish to participate and while we do not engage in direct marketing to teachers,  I do apologize for any problems that it may have caused.

I sincerely appreciate your compliments about our bakery and you taking the time to share your concerns. I hope I may have helped to shed some understanding on our intent, and that we may be able to share in your family’s celebrations sometime soon.

Many kind regards,


Monday, August 18, 2014

What France Taught Me About Balance Variety and Moderation

I just returned from a 10-day vacation in Paris.  My wife and I went for a family wedding but we also used it as an excuse to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary and our 40th birthdays.  It was a memorable trip for many reasons and as I thought more about it, I realized that there is a lot that the French can teach us, if we are ready to listen.  So here are some things that I observed while I was there, in no particular order.

1) There is a very nice sense of balance in France.  Of course that is a word that would resonate with me, right?  There is a sense of balance when it comes to juggling work, family, friends and making time to relax.  I first noticed this just after we arrived in Paris.  We found that many places were closed during the end of July and August.  They were closed because the business owners take an extended vacation during the summer. What a way to really balance work and personal life than with planned long vacation each summer.  Secondly, walking through the city, we found multiple places to just sit and enjoy a picnic or just watch people go by.   You can see by the pictures below that we made sure to use as many of these open spaces as often as possible.

Resting along the Seine at Paris Plages

Jardin des Plantes

2) Obviously the French are known for their food and, being a dietitian, I knew that I was going to experience as much different foodie experiences as possible.  But for all the "heavy" foods that might come to mind when you think about French food, there is a very strong respect (for lack of a better word) for food and eating.  That is to say, meals are events.  Eating is a time to focus on food, friends and family and not something to rush through.  If you want to experience mindful eating, eat a meal in France.  The best example of this was at a cooking class my wife and I took.  The class started in an open-air market going through the stalls, smelling, looking and talking to vendors about what's fresh and what looks good.  After buying all of the ingredients we needed, we went back to the kitchen to cook our meal.  The spontaneous menu ended up being squid stuffed with risotto, greens and pine nuts in a fennel cream sauce.  Of course there was dessert and we made a Creme d'Almond.  All made from scratch and of course, all delicious.  Since we were in France, we just had to have a cheese and wine course right?!  The entire meal (which was really lunch) was over 2 hours (not including cooking).  A slow cooked meal that was savored the way any meal should be.  Despite the cream, cheese and dessert, there was no feeling of guilt or overeating. It was truly an intuitive eating experience.  

Table set for lunch

Squid stuffed with risotto, collard greens and pine nuts in a fennel cream sauce

Creme d'Almond

3) I don't speak French but I had my Google Translate with me all the time so I was able to interpret different words that my wife and I encountered.  Not once did I come across the words "gluten-free." In LA, it seems like I can't take 10 steps without hearing or reading the words "gluten-free."  I'm sure there are as many who suffer from celiac disease and gluten intolerances in France as there are in the USA, but it's clear that we've hit epic fad status here in LA so it was refreshing to not hear those words for 10 days and to not be judged like we were carrying the devil in our bag every morning as we left the boulangerie with a fresh baguette!  

4) France is the land of balance, variety and moderation.  Those words, which seem to be co-opted by big food companies in America, still retain their meaning in France.  Sure, not everyone eats cheese, bread and wine at every meal, and we saw our fair share of "big food" marketing and products while we were there but it's a very different mindset. Balance in all things.  Variety in food choices but also activities.  Moderation with foods by enjoying each bite.  My best example of all of those was going for ice cream at the world famous, Berthillion. My wife and I chose different flavors and the first thing we noticed was how small the scoop was--no more than a melon-ball size of ice cream but the flavor in that one scoop was beyond any I had before.  It was the most intense and delicious scoop of chocolate ice cream that I've ever had.  The French are known for their cheese and wine but I'd submit to you all that their ice cream should receive just as much praise and recognition.  

Enjoying some of the best ice cream ever

Like I said above, it was a trip that has had a lasting effect on me.  I feel inspired about food once again and confident in my convictions that ALL foods fit in moderation.  We should respect not only food, but where it came from, and the act of eating it.  

My one piece of advice is this: if you ever go to Paris, the best thing you can do is to buy Robyn Webb's book The Paris Apartment Vacation Guide.  Her advice was better than any other we got on our trip.  She guided us to markets, foodie locations, great hidden spots off the beaten path and places to enjoy ice cream!  Because of her expertise, our trip was a success!  Thank you Robyn!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Childhood Obesity PSA - The Completely Wrong Message

The childhood obesity PSA posted below has me so upset that I just had to share some of my thoughts with everyone.

Just like many other ads, the sensational tone shames both parents and kids.  It says nothing of the fact that health comes in different shapes and sizes.  It makes it seem as if a parent makes one mistake feeding their child at early age, they've doomed their child to an early death.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It's this black and white thinking that leads us to think of foods as "good" or "bad" and lead to a life of dieting and binging.

As parents we need to learn how to help our children feel comfortable with all different kinds of foods. We need to learn how to nurture our child's self confidence with food and their body.  Shame should have no place in your home.   The last thing we need is create environment that leads our children to hate their bodies, seek diets and promote unhealthy relationships with food.

This is the kind of ad that is a perfect example of what we need to change.  We need to change how we think about weight, health and food.  We need to learn to accept our bodies, tune in to hunger and fullness and we need to be comfortable enough to make peace with food.  We need more compassion and less shame.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Taking Stock

Every now and then it seems that I go through a bit of a renaissance when it comes to the world of nutrition.  Just like the science of food, my knowledge is ever-changing and new information leads to new beliefs. I never abandon my old beliefs but a new layer is added to them.  Consider my own evolution:  As a student I thought weight loss would be my main focus, helping others shed pounds would be my contribution to the nutrition world.  As a dietetic intern, I thought maybe I'd be better served by working as a dietitian for those admitted in hospitals, working with doctors and other healthcare providers to help the acutely ill to recover and play a role in helping them get better.  But then as I became a working RD, I read Intuitive Eating (IE) and that added a profound new understanding about eating which made me realize that my place is better served in the outpatient world helping individuals learn to change and improve their relationship with food.  Layer that with the belief in Health at Every Size® (HAES®) and that focusing on health rather than weight is an important factor in helping people change their behaviors.  And layers continue to be added like what I've learned about Blue Zones and weight stigma.

So here I am, like an onion, with all these layers, some new and some old.  So today's post is sort of a "taking stock" of where I am.

Here are some of the current beliefs.

1. At my core, I believe in IE as a model for eating.  It is a fundamental belief that is at the heart of my practice.  What I take most from IE is the notion that all foods are equal and that I will continue to try to not label foods as good or bad.  My neutrality towards food is not how most of the world of nutrition functions.  We labels things in black and white and with that we add a moral judgement to foods.  That judgement transfers onto us when we eat those foods we've labeled and that clouds our ability to pay attention to internal cues of hunger and fullness.

2. Next, I believe that we are doing a disservice to our country by continuing to fight this ongoing "War on Obesity." This way of addressing the issue of weight is incredibly stigmatizing and potentially damaging, especially when it's focused on our nation's children.  When there is a war, there are winners and losers.  Lose weight and win, stay heavy and lose. Black and white, no middle ground. What a horrible message to send to our children.  And how do we define winning anyway--losing weight? And at what cost?  With such an intense focus on weight, we perpetuate a diet mentality that sabotages our ability to trust our internal cues.  This focus on weight blinds what our real focus should be, healthy behaviors and not healthy weights.

3. Just like the name of this blog, I believe in moderation and balance.  I know there are many dietitians who disagree with me but for me and my practice, I find that moderation is possible.  And when I say moderation, I mean that all foods can be a part of your diet, without judgement, because again, that is how we really make peace with food and begin to tune into what our body tells us.  But this is an area where I begin to struggle, because the term "moderation" has been co-opted by big food companies. This leads me to my next belief:

4. There are things inherently wrong with our food system.  I believe that we rely heavily on overly-processed foods that have allowed big food companies to exert a strong control over our daily food choices.  I don't like the way foods are marketed to kids and I don't like how my professional organization is sponsored by big food companies. I struggle with the nuances of IE at times like this because even though I don't label a candy bar as good or bad, I still don't want it marketed towards my kids and I don't want it used as a reward for their good behavior.

5. Despite what seems to be popular belief, I refuse to demonize sugar.   Sugar is not the root of all our nutritional problems and to think that if we just go sugar-free we'll fix the problem is overly simplistic and setting us up for future problems. That's part of the reason that I won't go see the movie "Fed Up". The other reason I won't see the movie is because of how it addresses childhood obesity and my fear that we are stigmatizing our nation's children.

6. I am not a food elitist, (and to call someone that is rude) but I think that we should be eating more whole foods and spending more time in the kitchen.  Cooking more meals at home helps us connect with our food.  Connecting with food helps us appreciate where our food comes from.  With that respect we might learn to eat with a deeper understanding and eat slowly, paying attention to hunger/fullness/satisfaction.  That doesn't mean I never eat at In 'N Out, it just means that it's not somewhere I go every night, every week or every month.  It's a "play food" that my family will eat on occasion because we enjoy it.  That is moderation.

7. I'm sick of the constant flood of new diets and religious-like zealotry of nutrition beliefs about food.  If I really stay true to my IE roots, then my body dictates my food choices and I tune into that. So if I want to eat more organic, locally sourced food because that's what makes me feel better, then bully for me!  If your body says to eat gluten-free because you think that you feel better because of it, then good for you.  Either way, my diet is my business and I'll be happy to respect yours as well.  That being said, I do have one caveat: if you are going through each different diet plan--one after the next--with the goal of losing weight, then that's where I have an issue because when our diet mentality drives our food choices, we lose sight of the big picture and ignore really listening to what our bodies are telling us.

8. I believe that children are naturally intuitive eaters and that if we, as parents, just take a step back and help foster that skill, many of the food issues we deal with as adults might never be passed on to our kids.  I believe that using a division of responsibility with feeding kids is vital to helping children learn to trust their own bodies internal signs of hunger and fullness.  It's my responsibility to plan a balanced meal with "play" foods and "growing" foods and it's my kids' responsibility to eat, choosing whatever is on the plate and how much of it they choose.

9. Lastly, I believe that we are diverse in our body size and in our eating habits.  As a private practice dietitian it is my goal to provide an environment where my clients can learn to trust themselves around food, to accept their body, to become confident in their cravings, to help them learn what moderation means for them, to help them feel confident around food, to find the joy of movement and to learn to stop worrying about food and enjoy life.

I know that some of these beliefs might seem in conflict with each other but that is why I struggle.  I guess I'm not very black and white with my beliefs.  I sort of fall in the middle on many issues which can make it a challenge to find an identity as a dietitian.

So here I'll stay in the middle ground, enjoying the world around me and hopefully finding some friends along the way who agree with a little, some or most of what I believe.