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From Weight Loss to Nutrition for Running: My Journey as a Sports Dietitian

Updated: May 31, 2023

Allow me to reintroduce myself.

Some of you may know me as the owner of LN Fit, where I worked with hundreds of individuals looking to lose weight. So now you may be wondering how I came to using the hashtag #dietculturesucks and posting about intuitive eating and fueling your body for running.

I'd like to share my story with you.

I went to school originally for Art and French (lol!) but somewhere in there I discovered a Nutrition 101 course and fell deeply in love with the topic.

Now, it's important to mention that I was NOT an athlete or particularly fit growing up. You could find me having fun on the B team in most sports and dabbling in other hobbies like drawing and music.

But something about that class in college was fascinating to me. It's hard to explain, but I must have REALLY loved it because I switched majors and had to start completely over. Needless to say, there's not much crossover in terms of classes for Art/French and Nutrition and Dietetics. So when I say I must have really loved it - seriously - it took me 5.5 years to finish my degree.

Around this time, I started running and found myself getting really into fitness as well. I ran my first half marathon in 2012 and had no idea how to fuel properly. I finished it, but I felt AWFUL afterwards and vowed to never do it again (spoiler alert: of course I did it again, and again, and again) but I did continue running casually and also began lifting weights more seriously.

After finishing undergrad, I started working with clients virtually and I quickly found that just about everyone wanted to lose weight. So I found myself helping individuals diet and lose weight through my online business, Living Nutritiously (LN) Fit (creative, I know) while I earned my Master's at Boston University in 2013 to 2014.

At this point, I was 100% set on working with athletes once I became a dietitian. My focus throughout grad school and eventually my dietetic internship was SPORTS nutrition, not weight loss. The biggest project of my Master's degree was centered around interventions for disordered thoughts and eating in female college track athletes. I also volunteered with the Boston University Sports Dietitian, working with various athletes - runners, rowers, soccer players, and more. Still, the demand for weight loss was and is so high, so I continued my coaching.

I think somewhere along the way, I must have really lost my vision for myself and in a sense forgot what it was I really wanted to do. I realize it sounds crazy!

Fast forward years ahead to 2020, I made the decision to close LN Fit and focus on my growing family. I found that I wasn't missing coaching weight loss clients, but what I was missing was helping clients achieve something. As a runner myself, I also found that I spent so much time researching, writing, and talking about nutrition for running.

Having that time away from the diet culture and weight loss world, I've rediscovered my "purpose", if you will. Over the last few years, I have been teaching a college-level nutrition course with a local university and authoring evidence-based nutrition and fitness articles for websites like Healthline.

It feels like finally, after 8 years of being a dietitian, and 10 of being a personal trainer, I've found my sweet spot: researching, writing, educating, and coaching. They all go hand in hand, don't they? At least they should. A successful coach should be on top of current research, able to communicate the science, AND provide guidance towards an individual's goals.

I'm so inspired and excited to re-launch my coaching business with a shift in perspective.

The Runner's Dietitian is all about FUELING our bodies. Forget shrinking them. Forget the crazy strict food rules and ridiculous diet trends. I'm here to work with individuals who are ready to feel strong and confident, and maybe snag a PR or two.

That being said, I am not "anti-diet" as many dietitians label themselves. I don't believe there is anything wrong with the desire to lose weight, and I believe tracking food can be a very useful tool for some people, depending on their goals and circumstances. I also believe tracking food can be useful for goals other than weight loss. For example, keeping tracking of what you're eating before, during, and after your run might help you pinpoint foods that are causing some GI upset on the run or it might help you see you simply aren't fueling enough and that's why you've been feeling crummy after your runs.

On the other hand, I know from firsthand experience, as well as from a clinician's standpoint, that tracking food can also be incredibly harmful.

I do take an anti-diet CULTURE stance. As someone who has been in the fitness and nutrition field for over 10 years now, I've seen the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. Now that I'm outside looking in, I can see the many, many flaws. Diet culture teaches us to lose touch with our bodies and our intuition. It teaches us that we need to be smaller in order to be worthy, that eating less is superior to eating enough.

The goal of The Runner's Dietitian is to help runners let go of what diet culture has taught them and learn to fuel their bodies for not only performance, but for health and longevity.

So that's it. The Runner's Dietitian is a pivot, maybe a 180, from LN Fit, and I couldn't be more excited. Thanks for being here.

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