It was a moment of truth. Starting with a lot of fear, but quickly followed by a moment of lightness. A moment of freedom.
I could feel the stress radiating off of me. My body was so tense that I was gripping my coffee cup in the Santa Barbara café to the point my hand started to hurt a little. I was sitting across someone I care about very much. He handed me a pen and piece of paper, and asked me to go down the rabbit hole of all the potential consequences of deciding to keep fighting or to let go of my license. “Write down all your worst fears for both possibilities. Draw it out. Create a flowchart with branches of possible ripple effects until you can’t go any further.”
So I did.
He asked me to tap into my body, my intuition, my highest self. “Notice how you feel as you imagined one scenario playing out. What about if the other happened? Now, how do you feel? Is there tightness in your chest? Or a sense of lightness in your soul? Something else?”
Total disclosure: This feelings-stuff seemed a tad woo-woo for a logic-based person like myself. But ultimately I believe that’s what made it even more incredibly powerful…because I felt it in my body. I knew.
As I stepped out of my head and toward my heart, I received the answer... It was right here the whole time!
As I turned down the volume of my brain and went inward, I experienced a newfound sense of peace and lightness at the thought of letting go. It felt more right than anything….
All along I thought freedom only came from winning this fight. I knew I was in the right. I knew I *should* win. I knew in my heart of hearts that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. And I had two really good attorneys on the case, so I knew I *could* win. But there had been a cost. I was literally in a battle for over 5 years. That’s half a decade’s worth of tension layering and building within my body. I think I had forgotten what it was like to live without that defense system on high alert all the time. That is, until I was in that coffee shop.
When I thought about letting go of my license (for more about why, when and how I surrendered my dietitian license, read here), I suddenly felt a sense of lightness. A strong sense of peace. Like I could exhale, and smile and laugh... and maybe even fly! I felt alive and free in a way I hadn’t for so long…
That was it!!!
Freedom didn’t need to come from winning this fight and keeping my license. In fact, that version of a “victory” would mean I’d still be under the thumb of the “man/big brother” (the board in this case), which is the opposite of freedom!
Freedom is a state of mind, a choice, and in this case—and perhaps many—an act of surrender.
Instead of chasing freedom, instead of fighting for it, I could choose to have it right now by letting go of the very thing I was clinging so tight to. That’s the victory I really wanted.
The moment I recognized that this is available to me without having to “do” anything else, is the moment that everything shifted.
Freedom is letting go of what feels heavy and embracing everything that feels light and makes you feel alive.
Freedom is sharing my truth instead of repressing it with both fists up, fighting. Why fight and fight and fight, when we can have it right now?
Surrendering isn’t easy. Maybe because in many ways it feels like giving up. Maybe it is. But maybe that isn’t a negative thing if it’s giving up the things (or people) that are no longer serving us. If, in return, it gives us what we’ve been after all along…
We are not our past. We are our present and our future and we get to decide what that looks like. In order to make it different and better and everything we dreamed of, we must let go and embrace something new, or we’ll keep getting what we’ve always gotten.
This is the truth that I had to discover. I am not my credentials (or lackthereof), and neither are you. We are not our pasts. We are not our accomplishments. We are not boxed in, no matter who tries to put us into a box. We are actually creating our future selves in every single moment. Every small moment we are redefining.
So often we define our identity by our past, and our mind creates stories about who we are and who we will be based on our past. I’ve seen coaching clients sabotage their amazing potential and exciting opportunities by allowing their past to define them. Their belief of “who they are” is like bubble-wrap – thinking that it’s protecting them, but it’s really keeping them from breaking out towards a breakthrough.
Often times, we hold onto things simply because they are familiar. And all of a sudden, these familiar things (and people) transform into limitations. Limiting beliefs. “Oh, I can’t do that because I’ve never done it before.” “I can’t make that decision because it would change everything.”We just stay where we know because it’s familiar, even if it doesn’t feel right.
What if you didn’t do that anymore? What if you let that all go to be in line with who you really are and who you want to become?
It can be terrifying to move beyond the story your mind has created for you. And there is so much freedom and power on the other side, and I so badly want for you to experience that.
Like weight loss for example...
To lose weight, you must do some things different. Change is necessary. When you let go of your old ways – even though they are familiar and perhaps comfortable– you then become open to your fullest potential and greatest opportunities.
We all want is freedom. Freedom from excess weight. Freedom from anxiety. Freedom from the sugar dragon. Freedom from judgment. Freedom from expectations. Freedom from being stuck. Freedom from doing things we don't want to do.
Freedom isn’t a destination, but a process. Our coaching clients tell us they feel free in the process BEFORE they reach the destination. BEFORE they lose every last pound and have everything they thought would make them free.
What if you gave it a shot and shed the things, the mindsets, the beliefs, the licenses and titles that have been holding you back, keeping you small? What if you were brave enough to step into the highest version of yourself?
What could that look like?
Who would you be?
Maybe you’d be who you are now. Maybe you’d be someone you’re even MORE excited about. Maybe it gets you excited, or anxious, or questioning everything. I get it. I did that, too.
And now, I am redefining me, as I stay true to what I believe and what I stand for, and as I’m able to put my focus and energy into all of the things that serve me, and not the things that don’t.
My journey had to do with my license, and maybe yours is your weight, or your self-image, but ultimately it’s the same core issue: our identity.
What limiting beliefs have you been living under? Which ones are you ready to shed, to be more of your true self? What if you just let go...exhaled...released the things that were no longer serving you?
If this is inspiring to you. If you’re ready to let go of that 15 or 5 pounds, if you’re ready to surrender your past dieting mindset and open yourself up to a new way of thinking about weight loss, if you’re ready to turn down the volume of the voices that tell you you should be able to figure this out on your own, and transcend above those to a new level…
Then I invite you to join me in my crazy successful, step-by-step, 12-month online group coaching program called Rule Breakers. We break all of the dieting rules while discovering who we really are, and tapping into our hearts!
I’ve created this sacred space and curated this journey for you so that you can experience true transformation and shed pounds that come off and STAY off, where it feels free and light and easy and accepting and you can tap into the real YOU.
There’s so much on my heart from my recent month in Bali. Every trip I take and adventure I go on is unique, but this one was extra special, because it was the complete opposite of what I’d expected, and incredibly challenging for me.
I expected this trip to be relaxing — even healing for me. When I think of Bali I think of natural beauty, temples, yoga, relaxation...basically an Instagram paradise (hehe)!
Within the first few days, I was attacked and bitten by a monkey twice (and now I’m going through a series of painful shots to avoid rabies and other potential diseases), my bedrooms were filled with loud, mating lizards, giant, speedy spiders, and even a large black rat, and the main cities in Bali (Ubud, Changguu) are noisy, busy, chaotic. It simply was not what I’d expected at all.
It was challenging to say the least. BUT, I’m happy to say that at the end of the trip—MUCH to my surprise—I didn't want to leave! (Seriously!)
In this post, I want to share with you how I was able to turn it all around, and some eye-opening lessons from the experience.
1. Create your own adventure
A big theme that came up for me over and over was taking notice of whether your environment is serving you or not. And, if its not, change it when and if you can! Not to get all woo-woo, but the power of taking life by the reigns and creating the experience you desire is everything. After about a week of struggling and not having a good time in Bali, I considered calling it quits and flying home. And I almost did. This was a turning point for me. As tempted as I was to leave, something in my soul was telling me that my time there was not up, and the lessons I had to learn weren’t complete yet. I could feel it in my bones. So, I made an intentional decision to continue this path... monkeys, lizards, spiders and all.
With this new intentional decision making approach, the first thing I realized was that I needed to get out of the hustle and bustle of the busy city and to the nearest body of water for some R & R, in order to hit the reset button (oceans/lakes are my happy place). So I left Bali for the Gili Islands, where cars and motorbikes are not allowed, and surfing, paddleboarding and yoga are plentiful (so I did all three). The water was the bluest I’ve ever witnessed. The sound of waves crashing filled my heart and soul. I spent time connecting, processing, regrounding.
2. Learn to Flow
This may at first glance seem a little opposite of my first point, which is more about taking control and creating the experience you desire, as you are able, as much as you can. And as there’s always a yin with a yang, there are obviously certain things we cannot control, and that’s where “flowing” comes into play. It’s a balance. A beautiful dance of ebb and flow.
I had to both shift what I could and surrender what I couldn’t. I had to accept what was, and flow with it, while remaining focused on the positive, and trying to recognize and accept the lessons in it all. I didn’t like the creatures in my bedroom, but at least they aren’t snakes. I’m not a fan of coffee grounds in my coffee, but at least I have coffee. I yearned for hot water for my shower, but recognized that the people here take cold showers every day. I am blessed.
3. Listen to your soul
Something I’ve been working on lately is increasing my intuition. That little “voice” that comes from a deep knowing that knows exactly what to do. Mine can get crowded out with all of my thoughts (maybe you can relate?), but I’ve been trying to clear out the clutter so I can hear it more often, and more clearly.
Let’s talk about the time I got attacked and robbed… by a monkey. Monkeys roam the streets in Bali, and the monkey forest is the the area where most of the wild monkeys reside. I entered the forest with a friend, and after hanging out with the monkeys (letting them hop onto our shoulders and snapping a few pictures). After a little bit, I mentioned that I felt complete and was ready to leave whenever. But, we just kept walking and exploring. Then, a monkey jumped onto my back, unzipped my backpack, and wrapped his little fingers around the phone that was inside! It was a close call, but I escaped— and with the phone. I said, “I’m ready to go, where’s the nearest exit!?” But… we continued to walk, hoping to shake off that moment. Just before we walked onto this little bridge where my friend did a yoga pose and I snapped a picture, I said, “You know, maybe we should go. I’d hate to not leave and have something happen and later regret not leaving sooner.” I LITERALLY SAID THOSE WORDS! That was the THIRD time I voiced the inkling that we should leave. I should have listened. What happened next is a bit of a blur. I was holding her bag while she posed for the picture, when a little monkey started tugging on it, trying to steal it from me. I pulled back. Then a much larger monkey (his mama?) came from the side and grabbed my ankle and sunk its teeth into my skin. I was still determined to keep the bag, so I kept tugging while flinging this monkey off of me. The second monkey attacked another time and latched onto my ankle, biting me and drawing blood again. My friend told me to let go of the bag and let the monkey have it. I was very shaken up, to say the least. Next time I will listen to that little voice, that certainty in my soul, that tells me the next thing to do, the next step to take. I find it interesting that I had voiced three times that I was ready to leave. No one is to blame for not leaving but how interesting is it that I had that little nudge —so much so that I even said it aloud, not once or twice but three times. This was a good lesson for me… even if it ended up being more painful that I would have wanted. Something in my body or spirit knew. Next time I listen.
4. Gratitude through it all
Living in a third world country has brought me to my knees and back to the basics in more ways that I can count. Throughout all of the trials, I established a new sense of gratitude. In Bali it was two weeks before I was able to take a hot shower. That shower practically brought me to tears, I was so happy. I make a gratitude list every morning of 3-5 things/people/blessings I'm grateful for. Normally that list consists of opportunities, a person, sunshine, or coffee. Lately, that list has been much simpler: hot showers, clean water, sidewalks, hair dryers, air conditioning, English, heavy cream, mirrors, not having lizards or spiders or rats in my room.
Newfound appreciation for what you have is something that never gets old. In this very moment, I’m sitting in my clean apartment thinking about how I’m living and breathing, and so are you. I’m so thankful for this day. I’m so grateful to be here. Please God, grant me the ability to not take a single day, a single moment, for granted.
5. People and community are what matter most
Meeting people to do life with—whether in your neighborhood or while you’re traveling is KEY. Connection is something every soul desires. Sharing life with others makes the hard times easier and the great times greater. Near the end of my trip I connected with a few really awesome people in Bali, and the whole experience changed. I personally experienced how being around the right people can make any outside circumstances tolerable, manageable, and even enjoyable! It really solidified for me exactly why we’ve built such an incredible community within our virtual weight loss program. The one thing that was missing from our private VIP one-on-one coaching was the community. Our clients saw results, but they were doing it on their own. Yes, they had their amazing coach, but they weren’t going through it with someone who was also experiencing the same things at the same time. What makes losing weight and getting healthy easier? Having a community of people who know exactly what you're going through to help support you and cheer you on every step of the way. When you have a community, you can hear each other’s stories and help teach other. Community changes everything.
All in all, this recent escapade wasn’t all fun and games. And it was worth it. THIS is exactly why I travel. Even when it’s hard and uncomfortable and lonely. Even when I’m scared. Even when monkeys sink their teeth into my flesh and massive spiders haunt my bedroom. Even when I miss the comfort and routine of home and my first world problems. Every challenge, every tear, every monkey bite is worth it because with the traveling trials comes opportunities, new connections, growth, and refinement.
I’m different than when I left for Bali. I’m different at the end of every adventure. This parallels my own weight loss journey so much, and the journey that our clients take when they go through our step-by-step 12- month weight loss program. There are difficulties along the way, but when they stick it out, push forward, and don’t quit, they experience radical shifts all the way to their core.
Maybe your biggest challenge right now is your weight. And it frustrates and exhausts you to no end. It doesn’t seem fair. You’re at your wit’s end. You’re ready for change.
Maybe it’s the same 15 pounds that you lose and regain, over and over again Maybe it’s 5 pounds. While some of our clients have a lot of weight to lose, many of the people we work with have anywhere from 5 to 15 extra pounds—there’s no amount that’s too much or too little for us to tackle. The reason why is because any extra weight is a symptom, a sign of an imbalance that deserves to be addressed. Whether you have a lot of weight to lose, or you just want to fit into your favorite jeans again, there is nothing superficial about it. The real question here is: How are those few pounds affecting your life? You don’t need to have 50 pounds to lose. If you don’t feel like your best self, then it’s worth addressing, period.
You’re not a lost cause, a mystery, or a problem. You’re a puzzle—and we can solve it.
I want you to know, this is about more than just food. Just like I said in #1 above, the power of taking life by the reigns and creating the experience you desire is everything. It’s a mindset shift. The people we’ve worked with lose weight, yes—but more importantly, their confidence levels soar, and they step into areas of their life, opportunities and experiences that they never thought were possible! Prepare for a major mindset shift about how you view your body and your life after you reach your goals, not just for weight loss, but in every area of your life. You don’t need to travel to Bali to create your own adventure. You have the power to change your everyday from right where you are.
This class teaches you the exact weight-loss strategies we have used with our clients for the past 10 years. You can learn the steps that have helped thousands of women finally shed unwanted extra pounds – and KEEP it all off for good.
A good detox gives your body exactly what it needs to heal from sugary, processed and carbohydrate-laden foods. The right detox helps you reach your health, energy and weight loss goals. After a long winter, or any rough stretch in your life, a detox can support you in getting back to your full potential (and best weight).
But every year, I see ten thousand ads, blogs, promotions and shows promoting detoxes that are not only useless — they’re actually damaging to your body!
These detoxes follow all sorts of extreme, nonsensical rules. Don’t eat anything. Just drink juice. Don’t eat fat. Only eat blueberries. Only take these huge purple pills.
These are crazy rules! A detox isn’t like trying on a wild dress and pretending to be Rihanna for a day. A detox shouldn’t be a trend. You should view a detox as a way to “reset” and support your body, specifically your metabolism, to help you heal from inflammation that compounds over time as a result of our modern lifestyles--from the food we eat to the products we use to the air we breathe. Supporting your body in this way gives you a leg up on making healthy, lasting habits. (So you can be Rihanna forever!)
You should break any rule that doesn’t serve your body, mind and waistline. You need the right kind of detox to bring your body back to tip-top shape by giving your metabolism what it needs to run efficiently.
Here are five ways do exactly that right now — and for a lifetime.
1. Don’t stress out your gut.
⇒ DO: Give it what it needs to heal and work its best ALL the time.
When we’re talking about metabolism, we have to start with the gut. The gut is the hub for digestion, nutrient absorption, and elimination. Typical diets have you eating so much sugar, carbohydrates, and trans fats that the gut is under constant stress, which shows up as inflammation. If a detox puts more stress on the gut by contributing to the already existing inflammation, then you’re just doing more damage. This defeats the whole point of a detox!
Instead, I recommend a specific combination of healing supplements to address inflammation and heal the gut during a detox (which I talk about here). It’s also a good idea to ramp up your intake of fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha, all of which have gut-healing properties.
2. Don’t limit yourself to a single food.
⇒ DO: Eat all three macronutrients (PFC!) at every meal.
If a detox program tells you to eat only celery and broth for a week, RUN. Don’t limit or cut out any of the macronutrients (protein, fat or carbs). Instead, focus on including all three to nourish your body every time you eat. Do your best to choose “real food” P’s, F’s and C’s: including fruits and vegetables for carbohydrates, quality protein in each meal, like meat, seafood, and eggs. And, yes, eat fat! Healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado and butter are what your body needs to heal and thrive.
Do your best to stay away from processed foods. Stick with whole foods that don’t have labels. If it has a label, a good rule of thumb is to make sure you can pronounce all of the ingredients.
3. Don’t guzzle fruit juices.
⇒ DO: add antioxidants to your day.
A detox program that swears by drinking only sugar-laden juices isn’t a detox program to trust. Don’t go there!
But do make an effort to eat more antioxidants. They act as a shield from free radicals that cause antioxidative stress (cellular damage which is strongly associated with many types of disease). We can get antioxidants from fruits and vegetables, but in a detox period, when you’re making an extra effort to clean up your gut and support your metabolism, I recommend supporting your body with Fruits & Greens, my favorite concentrated vegetable and fruit formula. Try two to three scoops per day during a detox, and one to two scoops per day at other times. You can mix it into straight up water, or blend it into a smoothie for a big boost of antioxidants.
4. Don’t starve yourself.
⇒ DO: eat every three to four hours.
Fasting is a hot trend right now, and it may have its place in certain situations depending on what your goal is. But, a detox period is NOT a fast. It’s meant to nurture and nourish, not strain.
After breakfast, set an alarm to ring in a few hours. When it goes off, eat a protein-fat-carb snack. This might be a hard-boiled egg, a tablespoon or two of almond or peanut butter, and a half cup of berries or a cup of raw carrots. When you’re done, set the alarm again. This process of eating protein, fat and carbs every few hours stabilizes your blood sugar levels and in turn, keeps your metabolism revved up.
If you’re in a pinch, you can whip up a detox shake by using two scoops of DetoxVive Powder mixed in with your favorite healthy fat, such as half an avocado or a quarter cup of coconut milk, plus ice and water. I formulated DetoxVive Powder to provide your body with the specific nutrients it needs to detox and in the perfect amounts. And make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. You need water to support your liver and kidneys, the organs that are responsible for detoxifying your body.
Remember, no detox or weight program should ever punish or deprive you. You want strategies that care for your body so it can function at its best — and that’s how you’ll reach your goals for weight loss and sky-high energy levels.
5. Don’t wait until noon to eat.
⇒ DO: have breakfast within an hour of waking.
Breakfast literally “breaks” your overnight “fast” and jumpstarts your metabolism! Your goal during a detox is to support your body — not stress it out — so you’ll want to do yourself a favor and eat within an hour of waking.
Even if you’ve never been a breakfast eater, are limited on time, or you’re not hungry in the morning, eat breakfast anyway—especially during your detox period. My favorite breakfast is eggs cooked in coconut oil with half of a sweet potato, sauteed. If you don’t have time, whip up a quick balanced smoothie and drink it on the road. You can also do dinner leftovers or a slice of egg bake. Spending five to ten minutes eating breakfast is a worthy investment.
My new clients share a lot of the same concerns. They want to lose weight. They want to have more energy and more body confidence. They want to feel really good about their lives again (or for the first time!).
And what’s so interesting is that these clients will often say the exact same words as they share their worries and hopes:
“Good luck trying to figure me out!”
I get what they’re telling me. They feel like they are somehow an unsolvable problem. They’ve tried so many things to lose weight and nothing’s worked, and so they feel they have no luck.
But the truth is, I don’t need St. Patrick or a 4 leaf clover or a wishing well. I don’t need luck. And neither do you.
When people believe that they’re out of luck, or that they can’t change, there are usually a few assumptions holding them hostage in their pessimism.
Below are three of them— and how my team and I work with clients to show them that luck doesn’t have anything to do with anyone’s weight loss. Especially theirs!
Good luck with me because... I’ve tried it all and nothing’s worked, so nothing will ever work.
Yes, it’s discouraging when you’ve worked hard to lose weight and it either stays on or keeps coming back. But this doesn’t mean your body is a problem. Instead, you are a puzzle.
What you need is someone to help you look at all the pieces that make you you. You need someone to help you see what’s missing or not fitting, from your insulin to your estrogen to the bacteria in your gut to your sleep—these are the kinds of determining factors that stay hidden unless someone looks for them and shows you how they fit together.
Otherwise, you’re just taking stabs in the dark, and that is just relying on pure luck! That doesn’t work, and it’s not what my team and I do. Together, we hunt down those missing pieces to solve your puzzle and get you to the best version of yourself.
Good luck with me because... I don’t have enough willpower to stop eating foods that are bad for me, like sugar.
Controlling your sugar cravings have nothing to do with luck, and nothing to do with willpower. Why? Sugar cravings are only about balancing brain chemistry. Sounds fancy, but it’s true. Sugar cravings happen for two reasons:
Your blood sugar levels are low. You crave sugar when they crash.
You don’t have enough neurotransmitters—brain chemicals like histamine, glutamate, dopamine, serotonin and GABA. These chemicals prevent sugar cravings from overwhelming you.
Both of those reasons mean that luck is totally irrelevant when it comes to mastering your cravings for sugar. What you eat, and when, is the key to maintaining blood sugar and supporting brain chemistry. That is the beginning step to getting free from sugar. Not magic. Not extra willpower. Not luck.
Good luck with me because… my mom was fat, my aunt was fat, my sisters are fat, and I just have to get used to being fat.
For many people, they think that they’re just unlucky in the game of genetic roulette. They feel as though since everyone else is heavier in their family, then they are doomed to live life in a body they don’t love. That’s not the case.
Yes, of course, genes determine a lot about us. But they aren’t a guarantee of this or that kind of body. Not everyone will be able to look like a Victoria’s Secret model. Or JLo. Or an Olympic athlete. And that’s okay! Comparing yourself to anyone else (a superstar or a regular person) doesn’t help you one bit. You’re here to be the best version of YOU, the most healthy expression of your genes. More often than not, people’s false beliefs about their genetics hold them back much more than the genetics themselves. And you are following the rules of those beliefs.
For too long, I believed in the rules on what “healthy eating” looked like. It wasn’t until I challenged those beliefs that I actually started eating to support my health and improve my waistline, and, well, make my whole life better. I had to break the rules of deeply held beliefs and seek the truth. That’s not a matter of luck. That’s courage — and that’s something you have in spades.
You are more than cravings, more than beliefs and more powerful than luck! We don’t need luck to help you lose weight. All we need is to get together, and get started.
In order to lose weight and keep it off, you don’t need luck; you need a program that fits YOU and a community that supports your efforts—plus expert advice, accountability, personal coaching, education, and continued support.
The day I earned my certification as a Licensed Dietitian was one of the most important days of my career. I was SO proud: I’d studied hard, followed the rules, and earned the esteemed “L.D.” Becoming a dietitian took a lot of work. In my class, only 50% of the students passed their exams and got an internship to become a dietitian. I was one of them.
Which is why today is so important: I’ve made the decision to kiss that license goodbye.
Why? I’ll tell you.
In a recent post, I shared how I learned the hard way that the old rules about food and weight loss—the very ones I was trained on as a dietitian—don’t work. They’re the rules that caused me to gain 20+ pounds in dietitian school. Those rules also did nothing to protect my father, who I thought was the picture of health, from emergency heart surgery. They’ve led our country to become the sickest and most overweight we’ve ever been. And those rules have been the source of so much pain for my clients, who come to me after being frustrated beyond measure that they can’t lose weight, despite following every food and weight loss rule to a T.
Since hanging my shingle as a dietitian, my team and I have helped thousands of people lose weight and keep it off. The results speak for themselves, and each year my business grows by at least 30%.
Here’s the thing though…
The approaches that have worked for all of these people fly in the face of traditional dietitian training. Yup—it’s only when we bucked those outdated rules that their weight fell off, and their lives changed.
But, the Minnesota Board of Dietetics and Nutrition didn’t like this. At all.
The board said that they don’t agree with the principles and approach that I use. They don’t think I should be talking about thyroid, hormones, supplements… or really anything other than food. Problem is, you can’t get results unless you look at the whole picture of health. That’s why we do it—and how we get the results we have.
So here’s what happened:
The results I got for clients, in the end, didn’t matter. They wanted me to stick to “the rules.” And so I had a choice: I could change how and what I teach, or I could relinquish my license.
Now, this didn’t happen overnight. I fought this battle with the board for a while—five long years, to be exact. We’re talking lawyers (and lawyer fees), court dates, mediation, negotiation, interrogation… for five years! I fought because I’ve built my brand on the authority that I believed my dietitian license gave me. I worked hard for those credentials, and for a while I wanted to keep them.
But in this process, I did some soul searching. I asked myself if I was going to keep fighting, or simply let it go. The choice became clear. I’ve chosen the latter. Because in those still, quiet moments, when I thought of surrendering this license, I experienced a newfound sense of peace and lightness that warmed my heart and made me feel faithful, connected and authentic. This is where I want to live and everything I do, and every decision that I make, I want to flow from this space. The choice suddenly didn’t even feel like a choice, but more of a welcomed step toward transcendence, and opening up to newer, greater opportunities.
Even though this was not an easy decision (I call myself “Dietitian Cassie” for crying out loud!), in the end, I had to ask myself, if that license stands for all of the things I don’t agree with, why would I hang onto it? It’s not aligned with what I believe or how I run my business. It’s not aligned with what I know works.
When I told the board what I decided, they were shocked. They couldn’t believe I would give up the credentials. They expected a longer battle. Nope.
I’ve always held myself to the highest standards of service and care, and I wouldn’t want you to settle for anything less.
So here are the main reasons I’ve relinquished my license, and what I’ve learned in the process, since there are things you can take away from my experience as you search for answers in your own journey, too:
Reason #1: I’d rather get results than follow rules.
You know me—I hate rules for their own sake. Makes no sense to me. I believe more in results than in what someone is paid to believe, and while I certainly wouldn’t be the professional I am without my education (since it essentially taught me what not to do), what this license represents doesn’t jive with what I believe and have seen to be true.
Sure, it’s impressive to have letters after your name, I get it—but if losing those little letters means that I’m able to provide the support, insight, and advice I know works—without being at war with an organization and dragged into court by my peers—so be it.
Reason #2: I want to be free from any advice or education that’s brought to you by Big Food influence.
Imagine your doctor’s license to practice medicine was paid for by McDonald’s. Would you be surprised if you got a prescription for a Big Mac? And yet that is exactly what is happening in the world of nutrition. When I attended my first dietitian conference, I was shocked to see an entire tent set up by Pepsi, who was sponsoring a calorie-counting campaign.
I’m sorry, what?
It’s true. As I’ve said many times before, the food industry does not have our best interests at heart. We know this. They’re profit, not people, centered.
One thing that doesn’t work in weight loss? Calorie counting. But have you ever wondered why this myth persists? Because if we treat all calories as created equal, then it doesn’t actually matter what you eat—and that means you can pretend you’re giving good, sound advice...while taking sponsorship dollars from companies whose products you can “safely” consume as long as it comes under your caloric limit (looking at you, Diet Pepsi).
If we all recognize that the type of calorie, and not the sheer number, mattered, then no one could possibly say that this snack or that soda “fits” into a healthy diet. And there goes that stream of income. Calorie blindness happens for a reason: Because it keeps some organizations in business.
Likewise, much of the education for nutritionists and dietitians is similarly flawed.
To this day, the very board that certifies dietitians is sponsored by Splenda, the Dairy Council, sugar producers, a milk company and more. Dietitians need to complete 75 hours of continuing education units (CEUs) every five years in order to maintain their credentials, and companies like Coca-Cola, General Mills, and McDonald’s offer continuing education courses that are approved by the board! Nonsense.
Reason #3: I believe a certification is only worth keeping if it’s aligned with your values.
Quite frankly, I’m relieved to finally get this weight off my shoulders. And the truth is I won't miss that license because I never really felt aligned with it to begin with. The rules behind it attempted to put me in the very box I’ve been telling you to break free from. I couldn’t do it anymore.
And, just sharing this with you, letting this go, and beginning a new chapter is incredibly freeing. I feel more connected to myself, my heart and my calling than I ever have. The weight that’s been lifted now allows me to put 100% of my time, focus, and energy into the practice that has proven results, rather than fighting the system that does not. It feels so good and SO right.
So, how does this affect you?
Honestly, it doesn’t.
Apart from adjusting to the fact that I’ll be changing the name (to my actual name!) and updating my social media handles, this will not affect you.
I still hold my credentials with the national Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR). However, I have made the decision to let go of my state license with the Minnesota Board of Dietetics and Nutrition.
And, frankly, this is really more a matter of branding for me; nothing will change in the way I provide insight and support to you. None of our programs will change. Everything stays the same. My proven methodology remains what it is—rooted in science that has been proven time and again to be transformational and super effective at helping thousands of people lose weight and keep it off.
The reason I even felt compelled to tell you is because it was a big decision and one you should know about. I’m always telling you to question the old rules and to break any of them that don’t serve you. Rules for rules’ sake are a waste of time. I’ve asked you to take risks and a leap of faith and abandon old rules, old habits, old ways of doing, even when they were more comfy than effective (read: not effective at all!).
The way I see it, if I’m going to ask you to take that leap of faith, then I need to take one, too. I need to break with the rules that no longer serve me—along with the ruling bodies that never served me or you to begin with.
So, today marks the beginning of a new, exciting era! Here’s to starting 2018 fresh and free. And thanks, as always, for being so receptive, open, and brave.
Let’s go break some more rules while we’re at it!
**This post was definitely not sponsored by Pepsi.
Anyone who’s ever tried to lose weight, and struggled to do it, has asked themselves one question: “What am I doing wrong?”
You might assume, as I have, that there’s some set of rules you either don’t know about or aren’t complying with—and THAT must be the reason. So what do you do? Double down on the rules you know (even if they don’t work!). Maybe you work out twice as hard or eat half as much. And when it doesn’t work, it’s incredibly frustrating.
Because the rules should work, right?
Look, I know this frustration. I grew up an obedient follower of rules. I was raised Catholic for crying out loud! And for a long time, those rules never steered me wrong. Do this, get that. Work hard, get A’s. Do your chores, get an hour of TV. Eat your dinner, get dessert.
Fact is, I liked rules. They made life clear and straightforward, and I always knew where I stood. I went to school to study nutrition and become a registered dietitian. I wanted to learn the rules of food and how it worked so that I could help other people follow them, too.
But when I found myself gaining weight in school, I became puzzled—and obsessed. I, too, doubled down on the rules: I severely restricted my caloric intake and lived on sensible meals and 100-calorie snack packs. I worked out like a fiend, pounding out miles on the treadmill and taking every Bootcamp and Cardiokick class at the gym. My body would follow the rules and it would obey.
Except, it didn’t. I got hungrier and moodier and my waistline expanded, despite following every rule I’d ever known. Either my body wasn’t following the rules—or those were the wrong rules to begin with.
Then things hit a new low: I got a call from my mother; my father had to be rushed into immediate, major heart surgery after collapsing while running a race in my hometown. My father was the picture of health—physically active, ate a low-fat diet, all of the things you imagine you should do to stay healthy. And his heart failed him.
When a dietitian came to his hospital room to consult with him, she told him to do the same things he had been doing: avoid fat, stay active. I was beyond frustrated. “But he’s already doing those things!” Good, she said. Keep doing them.
Now, does that make any sense to you? Because if the very things we think of as “healthy” do nothing to keep you out of the hospital, why do them in the first place?
Of course, since then, I’ve learned (the hard way) that most of the “rules” we’ve been told about food and dieting are flat-out wrong. They’re outdated, for one, AND heavily influenced by, well, large companies and industries who stand to gain from putting out misinformation (ahem, looking at you sugar industry!).
Last I checked, the food industry had nothing to do with how the human body functions—but it has played a big role in its dysfunction. But that’s not something you’ll see in the commercials during prime time shows.
What this means is that in order to lose weight and be healthy—actually healthy—you have to break the rules that never served you in the first place. And get to the truth about food.
When you realize the rules (avoid fat, don’t even look at butter, work out till you drop) are not only untrue, but actually bad for us, then you start breaking them. And once you break those rules, you start breaking others too.
I’ve become a bit of rule breaker myself. I eat things that would leave other people aghast (hello, muffins with butter!).
But here’s the big thing: once I started breaking the rules that didn’t serve my body, I started to break with the rules that didn’t serve my LIFE. Once I was free from worrying about “what I could eat,” I could travel more. And go out more. And yeah, maybe dye a chunk of my hair blue, which I absolutely did.
When you realize the rules you’re following are flat-out wrong, it makes you question what other “rules” you have believed for too long, such as “I can’t do that,” or “I’m not the type of person who does x,” or “I could never wear that.” Really? You sure about that?
I have worked with thousands of people to help them not just lose weight, but create lives they love by freeing themselves from old ideas based on false information.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: That delightful season full of gift giving, family, friends—and all of their opinions about your eating habits.
You know, when your mom announces your new dietary restrictions to the family, your Uncle Steve makes jokes about how much weight you’ve lost (or gained) (or haven’t), and Aunt Jennifer declares a life without bread is a life not worth living.
And unfortunately, Aunt Jennifer’s colorful opinion of your new protocol does not come with a gift receipt, and Mom’s announcements and Uncle Steve’s jokes aren’t exactly delivered with a bow on top.
That pressure can leave you feeling like there are only 3 good options:
1. Just give in and eat, knowing you’ll feel terrible later. But when in Rome...
2. Filibuster dinner with a long, impassioned speech about the power of real food. (If you can’t eat in peace, no one will.)
3. Put vaseline on your teeth to force a permanent smile, stick to your guns, and add a heaping dash of irritation and isolation to your otherwise delicious plate.
Your family and friends most likely have the best of intentions. They haven’t seen your struggles, don’t know what it feels like to be inside your body, and don’t know how much better it feels to eat foods that fuel you.
...But we also don’t have to just grin and bear it. You deserve to stand confidently in your eating choices without having to flip a table or choke down food that makes you feel awful.
Here are the top five food bombs your family may lob at you this holiday season—and the easiest ways to diffuse them!
Comment #1: “Why don’t you just take a Lactaid?”
If only it were that simple. This one is frustrating because it reduces all reactions to one symptomatic response. Plenty of people can’t handle dairy, for example, but it’s not always the lactose that’s the problem. And even if it is, when it comes to serious food intolerances, that statement can feel an awful lot like asking someone to jump out of a plane and saying, “Just wear a helmet!”
Your response? Keep it light and redirect the convo.
TRY THIS: “Thanks, but the risk isn’t worth the reward. Since we’re eating, I’ll spare you the details.”
Shut down any talk of your body and how it responds firmly but politely—it will remind them what they’re actually asking. And if they have any sense, they’ll back off.
And for those particularly pushy relatives?
TRY THIS: “You may be comfortable discussing this, but I’m not. So let’s drop it and eat.”
Comment #2:“Hey, nobody touch the [insert special food]! That’s for her—you know, for her special diet!”
“Don’t touch the Brussels sprouts! I made them for Jeannie because she can’t eat anything else.” Ugh.
The thought and effort is much appreciated, but now there’s a giant spotlight on your intestines.
TRY THIS: “Please help yourselves—I came prepared!”
Your best bet is to come in armed with a dish or two you know are compliant with your plan. See it as an opportunity to demonstrate how delicious healthy eating can be.
Or? Eat a snack beforehand. Not only will you face off with these comments with your blood sugar intact, but you can eat what you feel like eating, and not worry about hoarding all the sprouts for fear you’ll starve. Remind everyone that while you’re sure their green bean casserole is a showstopper, their company is the main event.
Comment #3:“Have you gained/lost weight?”
Why anyone ever thinks it’s appropriate to comment on anyone else’s weight is beyond me. If you want to pay me a compliment, tell me how great I look.
Let’s leave the scale out of this—because anyone who has made a serious change to their nutrition knows the scale should ultimately have no place in how you feel. It’s just a number.
TRY THIS: “I don’t know. I just know I’m feeling a whole lot better!”
Shift the focus back to all the emotional, mental, and physical benefits of how you’re eating. Emphasize how much healthier and happier you feel, how much more energy you have, how comfortable you feel in your own skin.
And if you’re not there yet, let them know how good it feels to pursue a healthier, happier, more energetic version of yourself.
Comment #4:“I could NEVER do what you’re doing. I love food too much.”
What they’re really saying is, “This is the only way I know how to love myself, and change is scary.”
TRY THIS: “I’ve found that I love food on two levels—how it tastes and how it makes me feel. I’ve spent a lot of time loving how things taste without really exploring how they make me feel. Now I’m giving my body a chance to talk back for awhile.”
When you frame your choices as an exploration or journey—instead of a decree or judgment—you’ll find that people approach you with more wonder, curiosity and acceptance.
Comment #5: “I couldn’t live in world without bread.”
This makes my head spin. You couldn’t LIVE? Truly? If tomorrow, the globe announced that there was no more bread, you’d just say, “This is my exit”?
All snark aside, the things we crave most can often be signaling what is actually causing the most inflammation and discomfort.
Most people are only thinking about how good they think bread (or cheese or pasta) tastes. They’re not thinking about the symptoms you experience when you eat them—the brain fog, depression, bloat, pain, fatigue, etc.
TRY THIS: “Well, for me, a world with bread is a pretty painful experience. I’ve tried suffering through it, and now I’m seeing what it’s like to live pain-free.”
Bottom line: You don’t need to defend your choices or convert anyone to your way of living. The goal, especially for a family get together, is to keep the conversation light, positive, and moving along. You can make it through this meal with your dignity and your relationships in tact!
To make the holiday season even easier, grab some recipes for yourself by clicking the green button below!