Food Challenges Lead to Food Confidence

IMG_2820Growing up, I was one of those people who ate whatever they wanted and worked it off by playing three varsity sports. However, when I entered college, I gained the seemingly inevitable “freshman 15,” which unbeknownst to me set the trajectory for the course of my future.

That summer through the process of trial and error I lost weight but did not yet have the tools to figure out a healthy lifestyle and balance that would be sustainable.

I decided to see a registered dietitian to help not only with my weight but also because it was a career I was interested in pursuing.  I did not realize that appointment would change both my relationship with food and my life.

I learned through the course of time that food and nutrition are more than just eating healthy; food encompasses appreciating the smells and tastes of each bite, partaking in holiday traditions, sharing a meal with family and friends, and marking our cultural identity.

Meeting with the RD surprised me – I was going for education but did not think food was that much of a concern.  I thought food issues meant having an eating disorder, but having an unhealthy relationship with food can apply to anyone.

From social media, to talk at the gym we think we know what we should or shouldn’t be eating, but it’s just not that simple.  Sometimes we need someone who can help evoke what works for our individual lifestyle.  The RD who worked with me used Motivational Interviewing, a language to help resolve ambivalence with behavior change.

This approach helped resolve my confusion with eating and put food in its proper place – as one important area of my life but not the complete focus.

Before if I ate a cookie I would feel guilty and eat the entire box.  Now, I can sit down and enjoy a cookie with a glass of milk guilt-free.

I now have peace with food, which led to peace in my life. I have new eyes for how I see the world, which gives me the confidence I needed to move forward with my life decisions.

Today I am a Boston transplant living in Los Angeles pursing my dream to become a registered dietitian.

If someone had asked me freshman year if I would live that far from home, I would have 100% said “not a chance.”  I believe having confidence with what you eat and how you treat your body translates into confidence in life, which is something I am forever grateful for. The power of an RD is truly magic.

This blog was co-written by Susan Dopart and RD intern Elizabeth Wluka