But I learned about behavior change and motivation. I healed myself and now help my clients achieve their transformation in a new, profound way that is life changing.”
The poet Maya Angelou once said, “If you know better, you do better.” A mental health counselor helped me finally see that instead of grieving my loss, I had used food as a distraction and as a comforter.
I remember leaving her office and thanking God that I FINALLY knew that I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t even undisciplined. With my newfound knowledge I believed it would now be easy to back away from the donuts.
Quickly, I was disappointed to find out that just understanding my behavior was not enough to miraculously change it overnight.
It’s so tough when you can’t make yourself do what you want to do.
In my 20’s I was on a roller coaster. I would make progress, lose weight only to hit a rough patch and gain ten pounds before I knew what happened.
I wondered if I would spend my entire life struggling with food and hating my thighs.
I spent a year teaching and coaching high school just after I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill. I was meeting with my then counselor and I told him, “I’ve been accepted to graduate school at Winthrop. I’ll be moving and going to school for my master’s in nutrition.”
He told me that he was not surprised as my pursuit of a nutrition degree was an attempt to heal myself and my relationship with food. I thought he was nuts. Turns out he was not.
In grad school I studied the effect of food on the body. It can be fuel for the body or it can bring on inflammation, disease and even death.
I learned about metabolism and how the body uses the food we eat for its purposes. I learned what happens if you starve a body or overfeed a body.
One thing I did not learn in school was how to facilitate behavior change in my future clients (or myself.)
There was an unspoken assumption that if I, as a dietitian, educate my client about what they should eat, how much they should eat and when they should eat as well as the consequences of non-compliance that my job was done.
It is the client’s job to decide if they want to follow my recommendations or not. I mean I cannot go home with them and be their personal chef, right?
As I worked as a dietitian I could see that educating my client on nutrition was only half the equation. Many of them knew what to eat. Their problem was sticking to the meal plan. I would hear things like:
I know I shouldn’t have eaten it but I felt like I deserved it after the terrible day I had. (rewarding with food)
I was only going to eat a few but after my husband made that comment I ate the whole bag. (rebellious eating)
After our fight I didn’t even think about what I ate. (food as a coping mechanism for anger)
I had a really good week so I figured I could cheat a little on Saturday (internal bargaining)
When I lose weight my spouse gets jealous (leads to self-sabotage)
It doesn’t matter anymore. I’ll never lose weight. (negative and limiting core belief)
Before I knew it, I ate the whole pizza. (mindless eating)
I felt like there was nothing else that would make me feel better except that ice cream (inability to cope with an emotion)
This is just a brief sample. I discovered that just telling people “don’t do that” and offering alternatives like “instead go for a walk or call your sister” was not enough. I had lived that life.
Just having an awareness of what you should do was not enough.
I sought extra training through seminars, workshops, books, videos, etc. and in learning about how the brain works, how habits are formed and maintained, how food is intertwined with our feelings.
I learned about motivation and behavior change. In doing so, I healed myself and started helping my clients in a new, profound way that was life changing.
I’m a dietitian that cares more about WHY you eat than I care about teaching you the difference in the micronutrient content of kale vs iceberg lettuce.
When you work with me you can expect to:
Stop obsessing over food and see it for what it was meant to be – fuel for the body.
Start making consistent choices that you are proud of.
Stop getting your self-esteem from a number on a scale.
Stop self-sabotaging your efforts to exercise and eat healthy.
Achieve a healthy lifestyle that you can maintain for a lifetime.
In 2013, I opened Lifexcel Carolina in Charlotte and began working with clients not just on nutrition but also on exercise and behavior change. Over the years I developed a program for people that struggle to feel good about their eating and exercise habits. Today that program has grown and evolved several times and it is currently available as an online course called Willpower and Weight Loss.
I use the word passion to talk about working with my clients.
Let’s say it’s Tuesday and I am feeling tired from getting little sleep last night. I have a million things to do and I need to start cooking dinner. But I know I have a 4 pm zoom call with a Willpower and Weight Loss client. I secretly wish they would text to reschedule or forget their appointment. I’m just not in the mood. But the client keeps the appointment and at 4 pm we begin our session. I get so energized by the conversation by 5 pm I am sad that the call is over.
This doesn’t happen once or twice. It happens every single time!
- I absolutely love working with clients and hearing their struggles and wins.
- I love encouraging them and providing support.
- I love educating them and teaching them how to finally change their behavior and choices so that they can be proud of themselves.
- I love seeing their cholesterol go down.
- I love seeing a photo of them at the beach in a bathing suit for the first time in ten years. It feeds my soul.
Life is a wild journey. I’m making the best of mine by using my wounds of the past to help others who are now wounded.
I’d be honored to hear your story and help you find your food freedom!
I believe you cannot measure your health based on a number on a bathroom scale or a size of pants.
Instead, you have to look at how healthy you are both physically and mentally.
How many medications are you taking?
How’s your mobility and endurance?
Does your labwork indicate any issues?
How long is your list of chronic disease?
Are you full of negative self-talk about your body?
Do you often feel guilt, shame or regret around what you have eaten?
Does your weight and body image affect your love life? Social life?
Are you emotionally intelligent?
Your answers to these questions are more indicative of your health than how much you weigh.
I believe a healthy lifestyle must address 3 areas:
- Movement and Exercise
- Mindset and Behavior
My programs address all three in pursuit of making lifestyle changes, not going on crash diets or making changes you cannot sustain forever.
Progress not perfection – this is a theme in all my programs. I urge you to find a balance between expecting yourself to be perfect and giving in because you can’t be perfect all the time. As you learn and grow in my programs the goal is to make tangible progress. It’s not to be perfect.
My recommendations are based on science. Nutrition is a science.
It’s not opinion. Many people will be happy to give you their opinion on what you should and shouldn’t eat to lose weight. Heck, many of them will even take your money for that advice.
As a registered dietitian, I believe in only recommending what is scientifically proven to be safe, effective and sustainable. Nutrition is a field of medicine that is quickly growing and ever-changing due to the research that is published.
You can depend on me to be up to date on the latest findings.