Hi there, and thanks for checking in to learn more about me, and how my path led me to switch careers and be where I am today.
Most of you know, or have gathered from my blog so far, that I am a recent grad with my MPH in Nutritional Sciences, pursuing a career as a Registered Dietitian (RD). You can read more about what step I’m in and more about the Dietetic Internship here. The road to where I am today, is filled with ups and downs, and lots of detours along the way. This was not always my plan. I actually did not know what a dietitian was a few short years ago.
So how did I get here?
Growing up I was involved in sports and was always active. I started playing soccer when I was 4, and also dabbled in gymnastics and dance at a young age too. Not to mention, the evenings and weekends playing with my neighbors until it got dark out and we had to go home. Soccer was the one sport that stayed consistent in my life. I played on several teams, and loved the excitement of games and making lasting friendships. In middle school, while I continued to play soccer, I also started running and playing volleyball. In high school I played soccer, volleyball, cross country, and track.
I believed the misconception that if you exercised it did not matter what you ate and that health and weight were synonymous. In other words, you were ‘healthy’ if you weighed a certain amount, regardless of how you felt or what you ate. I remember thinking that it did not really matter what I ate, or indulged in, because I would ‘run it off’ at practice that afternoon. I did not view food as fuel, and did not see myself or my body in a positive light.
In 2010, I left home for college. I did not participate in sports at the collegiate level, which led to a more sedentary lifestyle. I still looked at food the same way, and continued poor eating habits. I remember comparing myself to my new college friends, and justifying the way I ate because ‘this is how everyone is eating.’ This was the first time I was responsible for myself and my decisions. Afterall, your mom is not there in the dining hall to remind you to eat your veggies! Throughout college I experienced fluctuations in my weight, and I did not feel comfortable in my own skin. In times, going to extreme measures in order to lose weight.
Fast forward to graduation in 2014, and taking a job with a non-profit in Toledo, OH. Whatever minimal activity from exercising here and there, and walking around campus was totally removed. I sat in a cubical from 9 to 5, and went home, and repeated the next day. All the while continuing some poor eating habits. This resulted in rapid weight gain. I was extremely unhappy and unhealthy.
I started to make significant lifestyle changes, including daily exercise, but was quickly discouraged by a lack of any progress in healthy weight loss. As someone who grew up playing team sports, I was never someone who went to the gym, and honestly had no idea what to do. I’d try to go to the gym everyday, and would work really hard to exercise, but could not seem to notice any progress. I experienced hopelessness, and recalled how unhappy I was with my body growing up, and that if I felt that way running 7 miles a day, there was no way I’d ever feel happy with myself again.
It was not until I took a look at what I was eating, and improved my nutrition, that I started to feel better, and see a change (along with exercising of course). This was when I first started to understand the power nutrition has on physical and mental health.
As a biologist, I became increasingly interested in the science of nutrition and the role it plays in health. I would come home from work everyday and be excited to try new recipes, and learn about nutrition. As my job was coming to an end, and I began looking for my next step, I realized that I was truly interested in nutrition. After researching my options, it eventually prompted me to make a career change to pursue a career as a Registered Dietitian (RD). I chose to pursue my nutrition degree at the University of Michigan School of Public Health because my experiences have led me to be passionate about prevention and to impact health at the population level. A public health lens lends itself to a more comprehensive outlook on nutrition, as we are battling major public health concerns regarding nutrition in society.
I have continued to work on improving my mindset and relationship with food, and what health truly means. I’m eager to start my career as a dietitian to help others become the best versions of themselves. I’m passionate about empowering people to achieve health. True health, not a number on a scale, or comparison to unrealistic societal norms portrayed in media, but how to make choices that fuel our bodies and minds, while maintaining balance and taking care of ourselves. I hope this blog can be helpful, even in the tiniest bit. Whether it provides nutritious recipe ideas for you, answers a question you have about nutrition, connects you to resources, or illuminates misinformation on the internet and provides you tools to be a more critical reader!